Business specializes in maintenance
Murphy News Service
Josh Franz admittedly didn’t know much about swimming pools and spas when he was convinced to buy Royal Pool and Spa in White Bear Lake in 2008.
It must have worked out, because last April Franz opened a second location, in Forest Lake.
“We saw a need for a good pool company and then a good, decent location opened up, so it made sense,” he said.
The Forest Lake store, located at 708 S. Lake St., offers full-service pool and hot tub upkeep. Royal Pool and Spa services mostly residential customers but also has some commercial accounts, such as hotels, Franz said.
Royal Pool and Spa doesn’t design or install pools and spas. Instead, Franz said, they test water quality, treat the pool or spa with chemicals, clean pools and spas, repair or replace heaters and filters and replace covers and liners.
Franz said employees usually “open up” pools and spas in the spring and then come back out to “close” the pools in the fall. The business also offers to send employees out to a customer’s pool or spa on a weekly basis to clean and treat the pool with chemicals.
But sometimes customers prefer to handle the weekly maintenance themselves. In that case, Royal Pool and Spa carries all the chemicals a pool or hot tub owner need to service a pool, along with a selection of parts and accessories.
The weather and distinct seasons in Minnesota presents challenges for seasonal businesses like Royal Pool and Spa, Franz said.
“We’re not like California or Florida where it’s warm all the time and people can use their pools all the time,” he said.
While there isn’t as much work in the winter, the store doesn’t shut down. Instead, Franz said it is open fewer hours and the payroll is trimmed until the workload increases again in the spring.
He said he expects the pool and spa business model to thrive.
“People are bouncing back from the economy and now that it’s better people can afford to invest in their pool system,” he said.
Franz said his pool technicians’ expertise and willingness to pass their knowledge down to clients in a way the client can understand is what sets his business apart.
“Our technicians could probably tell you the exact dimensions and how many gallons of every one of our clients’ pools,” he said.
Franz also noted how running a business in Forest Lake has been a good experience because of the “small-town feel.”
Royal Pool and Spa mostly services within 15 miles of their stores, but will go anywhere within a reasonable distance.
For more information, call 651-464-9865.
Murphy News Service is part of the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.