In The News: July 15, 2010

Leslie's Poolmart For Sale

Leslie's Poolmart For SaleThe Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Leslie's Poolmart is up for sale for a cool $1 billion. According to sources, the Phoenix-based chain, owned by Leonard Green & Partners, is seeking another private-equity firm buyer.

Leslie's chain is home to 640 stores across the country, and according to the WSJ, at the end of the fiscal year (Oct. 3, 2009), the company had $510 million in sales and has about $250 million in debt.

The WSJ reports that Goldman Sachs is handling the sale. Leslie's could not be reached for comment.

Fiberglass Findings

Fiberglass FindingsThis month AQUA takes an in-depth look at the fiberglass industry and its participants. We e-mailed a survey to the builder segment of our readership and received interesting responses and comments from specialits in fiberglass sales and installation.

Read on for the survey results.

Congress Pressures For Stronger Safety Law

Congress Pressures For Stronger Safety LawTo date, nine members of Congress have signed letters protesting what they believe is a weakened safety law, responding to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's interpretation of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act that no longer requires back-up anti-entrapment systems in public pools and spas this past March.

According to ABC News, the letters read, "We are sorely disappointed to learn that the CPSC has chosen to interpret the law in the most egregious and narrow way possible, eliminating the requirement for pools and spas to be equipped with back-up systems. The swimming season is upon us. We are writing you to urge you in the strongest possible way to reverse these rulings."

In addition to members of Congress, other pool safety advocates, including Nancy Baker, Virginia Graeme's mother, continue their efforts in persuading the CPSC to change its ruling.

"They say the problem [of pool-drain suction] is small and rare," Baker tells ABC News. "It's always been rare to die this way. But the bigger point is that it's preventable and it's a violent and horrible way for a small child to die. How many kids have to die or be maimed in that way for the CPSC?"

The CPSC continues to stand by its decision, and no further plans have been set to make any changes to the Act.

All In A Day's Work

All In A Day's WorkDavid Tisherman, co-founder of Genesis 3 and owner of David Tisherman's Visuals, has gone back to school. Within minutes of being posted on UCLA's website, Tisherman's course - Understanding Water: Design and Construction of Residential Water Features - offered through the university's Department of Landscape Architecture - was overenrolled, a sure sign that eager and willing students, at many points in their careers, want to learn Tisherman's secrets.

Tisherman's students included the likes of landscape architects, landscapers and landscape designers "who realize that there is a great deal of money in the construction of water effects," he says.

Francesca Corra, one of Tisherman's students, found the class extremely beneficial for her landscape design firm.

"I'm fairly new in the business, this has been a career change for me. I love water. I went to the convention in Las Vegas last year and found out David was going to be teaching a class at UCLA and I literally couldn't wait to register.

"It was everything I expected and 100 times more. He wants to raise the bar in the industry, he wants people to learn and wants to help people. What I love about David is that he works at the very highest of standards. He's not interested in working at a lower level. I think that's one of the things that he imparted to us: 'Do it really well or don't bother doing it.'"

The 12-week course included classroom work, where students analyzed different forms of construction, as well as visits to job sites to "actually see the structure forming and the rebar so they could understand the plans," Tisherman says.

While Tisherman was disappointed at the absence of pool professionals in the class, he hopes more will turn out in the future.

"The majority of the pool industry does not feel education is as important, and they are doing the same thing they have been doing for 100 years," he says. "Unfortunately, everything from technology to building techniques has changed. You can't really learn everything from an hour-and-a-half seminar."

In an effort to reward the students for their hard work, Genesis 3 and Pebble Technology worked together to offer a scholarship to the class's top performers. The highest-scoring individual received a complimentary tuition to a Genesis school of their choice, and Pebble Technology provided a cash stipend to the second and third highest-scoring individuals.

Quick Quote: The Future Of Distribution?

"I think distributors are going to be fulfilling a new role to some retailers and builders who are no longer buying directly from manufacturers because of freight costs and cash flow issues. Some are now thinking more in terms of: 'I'll buy it when I need it from the distributor.'"

- Liga Zebauers, executive director, WINDO, a group of independent distributors based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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