Narellan Pools heads to US

By Sarah Stowe | 05 Jun 2019 View comments

Narellan Pools is taking its market-leading business and franchise model into the US. The Aussie firm is partnering with North America’s largest pool company, Latham Pool Products.

The Narellan Group encompasses the company’s Australian, New Zealand and Canadian franchise and manufacturing businesses.

Narellan Pools’ long-time managing director Chris Meyer will continue to lead these markets, as well as provide strategic leadership to the North American market. He will also become a shareholder in the new enlarged Latham family.

Meyer told Inside Franchise Business “The goal is to grow our collective businesses through the maximising of the current brands, and to grow the popularity of fibreglass in the pool market.”

There is huge potential, Meyer suggested, with just 10-20 per cent penetration into the market for fibreglass in the US.

An alignment with the largest fibreglass and vinyl pool manufacturer in the US will capitalise on the strengths of both businesses. Latham Pool Products will benefit from Narellan Pools’ expertise in the fibreglass pool market and leading franchise model.

Narellan Pools gains access to Latham’s manufacturing capabilities and investment in innovative technologies, such as robotics and automation.

“We have some great synergies,” said Meyer. “They want to give us capital to grow more aggressively if needed and give us some great resources we don’t have.

“We’re going to help them shift to more of a consumer focus.”

Latham Pool Products’ president and CEO Scott Rajeski said: “Narellan Pools is known for its continuous commitment to developing high quality products and innovative manufacturing technologies.

“Their best-in-class marketing capabilities, including effective social media strategies, have fuelled strong growth by tapping into today’s mobile media savvy customers.

“Adding Chris and his dedicated leadership team to Latham Pool Products was key to forming this strategic partnership. He brings an unbelievable passion for growth and success and we’re excited to take on the next challenge together.”

International developments

The combined business will consider how to better deploy Narellan Pools and release growth for Latham and its suppliers.

Narellan Pools currently operates two plants in Australia and recently opened one in New Zealand.

Meyer said the business is poised to open its first factory in Canada. However the newly combined business may be too big for the site and force an accelerated development of the site, or a new location.

It is not yet clear what shape the expansion of the Narellan Pools franchise will take in the US. The key to expanding the business internationally is to deploy the same model but choose the most legally accurate name in each region, Meyer said.

The Australian franchise replicated overseas is a dealership in New Zealand and a license in Canada.

Franchising best practice

Meyer told Inside Franchise Business it is business as usual in the domestic market with the plan to double the current manufacturing and sales.

“We will continue to accelerate growth in Australia.”

Meyer wants the growth of the Narellan Pools brand to showcase best practice franchising and shift the focus to positive performance.

“I’m so proud, this is truly a success for good franchising, and for manufacturing. Both are getting smashed at the moment. This is about expanding domestic manufacturing capabilities and growth. Hopefully it’s a good example for franchising.

“We’re incredibly proud to have built the biggest and best pool brand in Australia and New Zealand through our franchise model filled with dedicated and passionate people. We are excited to join forces with Latham to unlock potential on a global scale.”

Meyer described the partnership as “an incredible opportunity”.

“I am delighted with the opportunities this partnership gives our incredibly passionate people, both in manufacturing and our franchise network.

“It increases our franchisees’ business value and provides new resources. Our decision to take on a partner has not been made lightly; we are acting to not only capitalise on a huge global opportunity, but also protect the long-term interest of all our stakeholders.

“We’re delighted to have found a partner that has the same drive, passion and commitment to building the world’s biggest and best pool brands.

“I am proud of our humble beginnings in a chicken shed in the suburb of Narellan 47 years ago and it’s wonderful to be recognised on the global stage. Through our partnership with Latham, we can now transform the global swimming pool industry and I can realise the goal I’ve had for 20 years.”