By Tim Hunt
Pool service changes its business modelUploaded: Aug 28, 2018
A Pleasanton institution will close this week when the Pleasanton Pool Center shutters its retail store on Sunol Boulevard.
The building has housed a pool center for about 40 years so it was there when Tom Richert established Richert Redwood in an 8x8 shack. Over the years, Tom has built his business so it’s now a full-service ACE Hardware store coupled with his expansive lumber yard.
Pleasanton Pool Center owners Cassandra and Mike Briones have operated the retail store there for 22 years, but are shifting to a new business model to cut costs while maintaining customer service. The retail storefront is profitable only during swimming months so it’s an expense drag at least seven months a year. So, the business will operate from an office supported by a warehouse with the pool and spa supplies.
I have had a few conversations with Mike, who has worked on our pool when it has required servicing or repairs since his family bought the business. He reported that it has been a huge challenge to hire people to work in the retail store, which has been open six days a week during the season (five in the winter). He’s also wrestled with getting good employees to service pools—he’s spent more time than he would prefer doing a service route instead of repairing equipment because he cannot find reliable employees in this full-employment economy. The sky-high cost of housing locally also makes employees a major challenge.
Retail sales will shift online with free delivery to pool maintenance customers and a shipping fee for others. The online store, contains the full range of chemicals, filters, equipment and parts that were in the retail site at 5313 Sunol Boulevard.
The Briones will continue to operate their pool service and repair business. We’re sad to see a store that has been so convenient for us close, but understand the need to cut expenses and adjust the business model for today’s Amazon-dominated world.