VivoPools has sold most of its residential business, freeing it up to concentrate its resources on its commercial and waterpark/resort services. “We’re looking to become the largest commercial management company in the United States and beyond,” said Willan Johnson, CEO of the Monrovia, Calif.-based company.
In July, Vivo sold its retail and residential service and maintenance division to Australian retail/service firm Poolwerx.
“As we were growing so quickly in our commercial high-end aquatics business, it just made sense for us to really transition out of much of the residential [business] that we’re currently doing and allow Poolwerx to ... grow their base here in the States,” Johnson said.
In October 2014, Vivo branched out with the opening of VivoAquatics, which delivers chemical automation, technology and brand standards solutions for waterparks, resorts and other high-level commercial accounts. It has signed with more than 20 major resorts and waterparks so far, Johnson said.
VivoPools, on the other hand, focuses on the day-to-day maintenance and repair of commercial pools.
VivoAquatics is exploring accounts outside the U.S. so it can better support larger waterpark and resort chains.
“As they start to roll out their products globally, we want to be there to support them,” Johnson said. “And we’re also looking to continue to build strong relationships with each of the large branded hospitality chains as well.”
Because this division’s work doesn’t involve the day-to-day service and repair of the pools, it is more feasible to take that side of the business internationally, he said.
Vivo had made news in the pool industry the past few years when it took on a franchise model for the residential side of its business. As a byproduct of its new commercial focus, Johnson said, the company likely will not take on more franchisees. It currently still has six. “Ultimately, it’s hard to do everything, and we were growing our large aquatic business quickly,” he said.
The sale to Poolwerx involved three locations, each with its own brand: SC Pool & Spa Works in San Clemente, Calif.; Citrus Pool Services in Hernando, Fla.; and Crystal Tech Pools in Tucson, Ariz.
Vivo does continue to maintain residential accounts in Northern California, Las Vegas and the northern Los Angeles area.
This is the second U.S. acquisition for Brisbane, Queensland-based Poolwerx. It introduces the franchiser into two new states — California and Florida.
“Will Johnson is a very good manager and a lovely guy to deal with, and he runs a good business,” said John O’Brien, Poolwerx founder/CEO. “His managers in those three locations are very capable and very strong managers. So it was a good business and in good locations.”
While Johnson will no longer be affiliated with the locations, Poolwerx plans to retain the current staff of approximately 45, including the store managers.
“Each of the groups, particularly those in Florida and Tucson, had been with Vivo for four or more years. They were great people and business managers,” Johnson said. “It was important for me to find an acquirer that would give opportunities for those teams to grow and be successful in their careers.”