In its move to cover the Sunbelt, Australian retail/service franchiser Poolwerx has signed on a longtime Florida service firm, as well as a California family from outside the industry.

Kevin Baron of Orlando-based Probity Pools has signed on as a franchiser and was named Poolwerx’s business development manager for the Southeast. He had been working to incorporate a franchise model for Probity for a few years. This marks the third pre-existing pool and spa franchise that Poolwerx has absorbed — first, Phoenix-based Cactus Pools, where it planted its roots; then the residential division of Vivo Pools, with operations in California, Florida and Arizona. This new addition leaves Poolwerx with 16 service trucks operating in Florida — in Hernando, Ocala and Orlando. The franchiser expects to open one to two new stores in the area by Christmas. “We certainly have plans for more in Florida,” Poolwerx CEO John O’Brien said. “We’ve got a lot of interest there.”

The company currently is in talks with about 20 prospects in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Jacksonville and the Panhandle, he added. Poolwerx also has sold its first California franchise to Salvador Martinez Sr., along with his wife Maria and son Salvador Jr. The family will open up shop in Temecula to join the franchiser’s corporate-owned store in San Clemente, Calif. Poolwerx entered the U.S. in March 2015, with the stated goal of opening or franchising 300 stores in its first five years.

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