Franchiser Poolwerx has taken another step in its bid to eventually cover the entire Sunbelt.

The Australia-based retail/service franchise now has established a presence in southern Arizona by signing a franchise agreement with Tucson's Patio Pools & Spas. The 50-year-old firm adds its three retail locations and 25 service vehicles to the Poolwerx lineup, for a total of 16 stores and 56 service vans in the Grand Canyon State.

“We greatly respect Nicole and Gene Ragel and the business they have built together over the past 50 years,” said John O’Brien, CEO and founder of Poolwerx. “We know the Ragels will be a great contribution to our franchise partner family.”

The firm is also a well-known pool/spa builder. Owners Nicole and Gene Ragel will maintain the Patio Pools & Spas brand for the construction arm.

“With our 50 years of experience in Tucson and Poolwerx's 25 years of success as a global business, we look forward to this new partnership and are confident we will offer exceptional pool service and supplies to the Tucson community and southern Arizona,” said Gene Ragel, president of Patio Pools & Spas.

Arizona provided the portal for Brisbane-based Poolwerx to enter the U.S. market in 2015, when it purchased a Phoenix-area independent retailer. It has since established American headquarters in Dallas. It now has 43 stores and 195 service vehicles in Florida, California, Texas, Oklahoma, and South Carolina as well as Arizona. It is seeking to continue growing in the Grand Canyon State, particularly looking for franchise partners in the Phoenix area.

Patio Pools & Spas was founded in Tucson 1969 and established its Sierra Vista, Ariz. location in 1995.

Founded in 1992, Poolwerx claims more than 160 stores and 550 vehicles in Australia and the U.S. It plans to have 200 stores and 620 service vans in the U.S. by 2024.

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