Friday, April 29, 2011

ASP featured in Chattanooga Times Free Press

ASP was recently featured in an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, titled “Retail Hops with Spring.” The article highlights the spring customer influx ASP receives. Chattanooga franchisee, John Baldschun, was interviewed for the article and talked about the springtime rush to get pools open that increases sales. Click here to view the full article

Retail hops with spring
by Ellis Smith

The pollen flies fast and heavy, shorts come out of the closet and businesses brace for an onslaught of new customers. It must be springtime.

Spring brings a new set of challenges for consumers and new batches of customers for some area businesses.

(Read More)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

ASP featured in Macon Telegraph

ASP was recently featured in a column in the Macon Telegraph entitled, “Faces and Places: ASP Named Among Top Franchises.” The article was built from a press release and announces that ASP of Macon was one of the top franchises in the nation. Click here to view the full article!

Faces and places: ASP named among top franchises

ASP, a swimming pool company with franchises in Macon, was ranked No. 459 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 500 Franchise Opportunities list in 2011.

Stewart Vernon, of Macon, established ASP in 2005 and it has grown to 56 territories in the Southeast, covering 100 cities across the country.

(Read More)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Franchisee Profile: Rob Solito and Wayne Gable of Columbia, SC

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Q: Where are you originally from?
Wayne: Prior to recently moving to Charleston, I lived in Virginia for 20 years, right outside Washington DC.

Rob: I grew up in Florida but have been in Columbia for 12 years.

Q: Before Franchising, what were you involved with?
Wayne: Before franchising with ASP, I was working as a consultant in the non-profit industry. I have worked with non-profits for 25 years, and I still hold many different board positions in the industry. After being in the corporate world for so long, I decided that I wanted to own my own business for the first time in my life and try out a completely new field.

Rob: I did a variety of things before coming to ASP. I worked in several different trades and owned my own tile company. I also owned a real estate company where I was renovating and flipping houses. Most recently, I was the southeast service manager for Mettler Toledo, the largest scale company in the world. As manager, I oversaw nine states and was responsible for growing revenue and managing technicians. That general business experience all came together for ASP.

Q: How did you learn about the brand?
Wayne: When we moved to Charleston, I decided to meet with a business broker to look into the different opportunities available. When the broker mentioned ASP Franchising, a memory immediately came to mind of constantly fixing and servicing my in-laws’ swimming pool, and the constant frustration associated with this memory. As pool owners, we spent more time keeping the pool clean than enjoying ourselves at the pool. Additionally, I experienced first-hand the dismal service companies in the industry and the terrible customer service they provided. ASP Franchising seemed like a great service for the community and a way to bring professionalism to a fragmented industry.

Charleston was one of the first markets ASP expanded to outside of Macon, Ga., five years ago and the brand has really grown here. I decided to purchase the territories from the previous owners, Sean and Travis, because I saw the potential to build the brand even more in the market and expand statewide. One of the original owners, Travis, decided to stay on the team as manager, and I have enjoyed being able to work side by side with him. Travis has been an excellent teacher and advisor to me as I learn the industry.

Q: Why was this brand the right fit for you?
Wayne: As a person who enjoys excitement, trying new things and working with people, I felt that ASP was a perfect fit for me. Being able to interact with different people and situations is very rewarding. Many other companies in the pool service industry are not responsive to customers and are not honest with clients about the service they really need. I feel that ASP offers superior service to our customers and allows each franchisee to build lasting relationships with the community. I also feel that the executive team has a clear vision for the future of this company and I am very excited to be a part of that.

Rob: After doing my due diligence and reading through the company’s history, I liked its philosophy of professional service in an industry where that is traditionally lacking. That approach to the pool industry stood out and really got my attention. ASP also had very little negative press, if any, and generally seemed to be putting itself ahead of the crowd and growing rapidly nationwide. I understand the business of customer service and reliability, so ASP was a good fit.

Q: What are your future goals? Development plans?
Rob: I know Wayne would like to open in Mobile, Alabama next year. We also have plans to open a retail store within the next two years. We’re a little different from most new ASP franchises because we have that level of support provided by Wayne. Even though we’re new in Columbia, we have the resources of a five-year-old franchise. And with the amount of business that’s already come across the table, we’re ready to grow immediately.

Monday, April 25, 2011

ASP featured in Cleveland Daily Banner

Recently, America’s Swimming Pool Company-ASP was featured in the Cleveland Daily Banner in an article entitled, “Baldschun Finds Opportunity in Pool Maintenance Business.” Peter Baldschun, ASP’s new franchisee in Cleveland, TN, shares his entrepreneurial journey from insurance to pool maintenance. He shares his desire to become a business owner after seeing the success his brother, John, experienced with ASP in Chattanooga. At the young age of 26, Balschun brings a sense of drive and fresh ideas to the pool service industry. He shares the tremendous opportunity and excitement for introducing the nation’s largest swimming pool franchise to the Cleveland community. Click here to view the full article!

Baldschun finds opportunity in pool maintenance business
by David Davis

Peter Baldschun was raised in Macon, Ga., went to school there at Mercer University and later joined his father’s firm, Kent A. Baldschun Insurance.

It was a good life and he was as successful as he could be at 23. His future was bright. It took him a little more than a year to figure out he really didn’t like selling insurance.

(Read More)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Franchisee Profile: Chad Fulk of Greater Lake Norman area, NC

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Chad Fulk and his father Colon are both long-time entrepreneurs. When searching for another way to expand their business, Chad happened upon ASP and liked the low initial investment and small personnel commitment. As business owners with companies in other areas, the Fulks have brought on manager Josh Haire to oversee day-to-day operations in Iredell.

Q: Before franchising, what did you do?
A: I own a custom cabinet manufacturing company in Macon and my father owns a railroad consulting business. We’ve always kept an ear to the ground for new business opportunities. For us, it’s about the enjoyment of exploring new ventures. If the money comes, that’s just a plus.

Q: How did you hear about ASP?
A: I redid [ASP’s COO] Tom Swift’s kitchen last summer and during that project he and I got to talking about ASP. I had inquired about a restaurant franchise recently, but from what I was hearing about ASP I decided it would be a much easier and better avenue to pursue.

Q: Why was this brand the right fit for you?
A: The main reason we liked ASP was that it was very easy to get up and running. The initial investment wasn’t huge and we didn’t have to worry about managing a bunch of employees. After meeting with ASP we were very impressed by their organization and franchisee support system. They offered a proven system that works.

Q: What are your expansion plans?
A: Our on-site manager Josh Haire will be helping us grow the business locally. We want to add employees as fast as we can so we can serve a larger customer base. Our goal is to have two trucks by the end of summer and begin expanding to nearby markets in 2013. We’d also like to establish a retail store in 2012.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Franchisee Profile: Lee Greer of Spartanburg, SC

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Lifelong Spartanburg resident and entrepreneur Lee Greer was introduced to ASP through a nephew. With a history in the pool industry, the brand seemed like a natural fit. Lee opened in Spartanburg on March 28 with another nephew, Matt Trail, managing day-to-day operations.

Q: Before franchising, what did you do?
A: I’ve owned my own heating and air conditioning company since 1985. Before that I was with Design pools, where I built swimming pools and did pool maintenance and repair. I’ve worked in the service industry in Spartanburg all my adult life and am always looking for new opportunities.

Q: How did you hear about ASP?
A: I first learned about ASP through my nephews, Hal and George. Hal, a broker, and George, an attorney, are friends with Stewart [Vernon] and Tom [Swift] and have done a lot of work for ASP.

At a family gathering, Hal suggested I look into the company because of my history in the pool industry. He explained more about their philosophy and business model and it sounded like something I’d want to pursue.

Q: Why was this brand the right fit for you?
A: The main thing was the startup cost. For most franchises, you have to have a million dollars to get started, but not with ASP. They’re very affordable and have good profit margins. I also liked the plan ASP provides their franchisees. They pretty much guarantee that if you follow the program, you will make money. As someone with experience in the industry, I can look at their model and know that’s true.

Q: How do you see yourself connecting with the community?
A: I’ve lived in Spartanburg since I was 6 so I’m very community oriented. I’m an active member of the Sertoma Club, a service organization benefitting the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, and plan to continue supporting them as an ASP owner.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ASP Featured in Corpus Christi Caller-Times

ASP was recently featured in an announcement in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. The article, entitled "Business executive opens franchise," features Bob Love, a navy veteran, 30-year business executive, and one of our recent Pool School graduates, who recently opened his ASP location in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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