Pool empire spreads wings
QUEENSLAND is home to many successful enterprises and among them is Poolworx, established in Brisbane by John O'Brien.
The group recently hit the milestone of opening their 100th store at Springfield Lakes.
The co-owners of the outlet, Ben Forrest and Peter Barr, have a long history with the company.
"Peter and I both have a long history with Poolwerx, Peter for over a decade as a Master Franchisee, Business to Business Manager and Chief Operations Officer and myself in sales and marketing and franchise development,” Mr Forrest said.
"It's pretty surreal to think that I was involved in the very first concept store at Middle Park and years later Peter and I ended up buying it and now we've opened the 100th store.
"Opening the 100th store is a little bit more special for Ben and I because we worked for the franchise for such a long-time.
"We feel we have been involved in a very real way in shaping the company and its growth. John is also a very good friend of ours so we have a real emotional connection to the brand and business.”
Mr Barr said Springfield's healthy population growth made it the ideal location.
Greater Springfield is expected to be home to 100,000 people by 2030.
"That equates to a lot of new pools that will require maintenance and equipment,” Mr Barr said.
These days it's not all about big pools on large residential blocks.
Mr Forrest said pools had adapted to smaller blocks.
"These pools usually have a spa seat at one end, they are heated and have a water feature included in the design,” he said.
"They are definitely part of the living area and with the coloured lights make a stunning feature at night.”
Mr Forrest worked as an electrical engineer and in computer systems but this was not a long-term space for him.
"I enjoy the people, it's great,” he said.
"We have lots of residential clients and also commercial work with hospitals and schools.
"This area is very solid right up to Collingwood Park, Augustine Heights, Brookwater and around the area generally.
"We have 800-900 pools in a 2km radius of our store.”
Mr Barr was a professional footballer but kicks more goals in the boardroom these days.
"I was part of the team who set up the Poolworx franchise system. I had done that with Crystal Soft Drinks years before.
"It is all about the customer, you have to build relationships,” he said.
Poolwerx CEO and Founder, John O'Brien said it was fitting that Ben and Peter opened the 100th store given their tenure and contribution to the brand.
"Peter and I actually worked together at Crystal Soft Drinks and met at Cadbury Schweppes 35 years ago and both he and Ben have been an integral part of the Poolwerx family, helping our business develop and grow across Australia,” Mr O'Brien said.
The duo has plans for a second store in the area over the next few years.