Nearing its second anniversary in the United States, the retail/service franchiser Poolwerx has made a grand entrance into the Dallas market with a nearly completed new headquarters facility and the purchase of the largest independent retailer in north Texas.
Sometime in April, the Australia-based company is expected to complete construction of a new 10,000-square-foot facility in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch, to house administration, franchise support and training of new franchisees. Key staff have already relocated from the company’s original U.S. headquarters in Phoenix.
“It was always our intention to head our operation in Dallas,” said Poolwerx CEO John O’Brien. “Our aspiration is to have a national business, and Dallas is perfectly located to support franchisees from coast to coast.”
The company has paired this development with the acquisition of Dolphin Pool Supply, a 50-year-old retail, service and renovation firm based in Dallas. Its three previous owners, Doug and Rose Carlson and Larry Collier, will remain with the operation – Doug Carlson as operations manager, Collier as hot tub installation manager, and Rose Carlson as marketing manager.
“They’re going to coach and mentor us to refine our system to suit the Texas market,” O’Brien said.
Poolwerx expects to retain Dolphin’s staff of 43, as well as its two stores, which will keep the Dolphin brand for the time being, Carlson said.
“We share a number of the same business philosophies,” said Doug Carlson, who purchased Dolphin with his wife and Collier in 1975. “I think that Dolphin has always put our customer first and foremost. I know that Poolwerx does that also. It takes an awesome staff to be able to run a company like Dolphin or Poolwerx.”
While most locations are franchised, Poolwerx approaches its headquarter and hub offices differently, by acquiring existing businesses and converting them to corporate offices. Such is the case with Dolphin, which will work somewhat in tandem with the new headquarter facility 10 minutes away. While the new property will house Poolwerx's "theory training," franchisees and staff will undergo hands-on training at the Dolphin store.
The company plans to cover the Dallas market aggressively and has taken deposits from prospects interested in five new territories, O’Brien said.
Dolphin Pool Supply generates more than $8 million in annual revenue, O’Brien said, and has four divisions -- retail, service, remodeling and hot tubs. “It’s a complete aftermarket business -- one of the few complete aftermarket businesses in North America,” he said. “So it’s a good practical training center for us.”
With this latest purchase, Poolwerx has established 24 stores and 115 service/repair vehicles in six states. Upon entering the U.S., Poolwerx stated a goal of opening 300 locations by 2021 – five years after gaining a license to sell franchises.
Dolphin Pool Supply is one of the largest hot-tub retailers in the Lone Star State and has a substantial remodeling business, which should help Poolwerx penetrate further into those segments, O’Brien said.
The company now counts among its franchisees four builders in South Carolina and Georgia, all of which have remodeling businesses as well. “Remodel and renovation has been a slowly growing part of our business,” O’Brien said.
However, these contractors run their new-construction operations separately from their Poolwerx franchises.