By Denise M. Roberts
Service vehicles: FiveMcAlarney Pools, Spas, & Billiards, a multi-generational family business, has been owned and operated by Wayne and Cheryl McAlarney since 1982. They began their business venture out of the basement of their home and moved to their first retail location on Pike Street in Marietta, OH in 1988. In 1995, they built the present retail location, which encompasses 6,500 square feet to accommodate the company’s operations. Since the beginning of the pool business, they have expanded to include spas, billiard tables, outdoor wood-burning stoves, and many accessories and products to enhance the experience their clients receive.
While still owned by Wayne and Cheryl, who are prominent employees, they share the business with Kyle and Kaitlyn, their two children. Kaitlyn is Store Manager, ensuring the quality of the experience each customer receives while in the store. Kyle is the Design Specialist Manager and ensures the quality of the experience is met out on the job sites as well. “We strive to not only provide superior products, but also on doing our own installations and service work as well,” said daughter Kaitlyn. “We strive for quality and excellence, while taking pride in what we do. We are proud to say we have been serving the mid-Ohio Valley for 33 years!”
The road to the water treatment business was a bit winding. Wayne started his career by owning an excavation business in the 1970s. In the 1980s, he started digging multiple pools and it progressed from there. In 1982, the McAlarneys decided to go full-time with the pool business, in which water treatment and proper chemical balance are the most important aspects. The family serves clients throughout the mid-Ohio Valley and all surrounding areas. “We mainly deal in residential work, but work with some commercial pools as well,” Kaitlyn noted. “The most common water treatment problems we encounter are metals and phosphates. In pool water, both cause issues and create cloudy water, which pool customers do not enjoy. This year we have had a lot of issues with phosphates, which will use up the chlorine as fast as you introduce it to the water. The chemical we use for that is Caribbean Blue Phos Out or in extreme cases Natural Chemistry Phos Floc. Both chemicals will pull the phosphates out of the water so you can then waste them out of the water. When dealing with metals, copper is the most common one we find. It will cause the pool water to have a green tint and also use the chlorine up as fast as it is introduced. For this issue we use Caribbean Blue Scale & Metal Magic. It takes the metals out of solution so the filter systems can catch them.”
To ensure the best quality of products and service, the company offers all employees training on every aspect of the business. “We use different manufacturers and products, such as Caribbean Blue by Haviland, Hayward, Bullfrog Spas, Silk Balance, etc.” Kaitlyn said. “These companies do a great job of coming in and training our employees so they can stay current on information. The water conditioning industry has come so far since 1982. It has had its share of fads that have come and gone. For the pool industry, I do believe that chlorine will always be the most popular method for sanitization. The ways of introducing chlorine to your water I hope will continue to improve and become easier. The introduction of salt systems was a big advance and have slowly become a very popular and low-maintenance method. We install and maintain many pools with salt systems and though this method still has some things to work out, it’s great for today’s pool owners who do not want to spend time every week adding chemicals, like they must with basic chlorine method.”
To stay in business for more than three decades, the McAlareneys have had to maintain a competitive edge, adjust to changing markets and continue to adapt to the needs of their customer base. “One of the best situations our company has managed is to overcome local competition. We went from being the smallest pool company in 1982 to being the only one in Marietta and the leading competitor as well,” Kaitlyn said. “We couldn’t have accomplished this without our customers. They are our best advertisers, through word-of-mouth customer referrals. Some of the challenges we have faced are the same as any other small business. The economy can be hard on small businesses, but throughout the ups and downs, our company has managed to weather those storms and come through them with our business and spirit intact, continuing to move forward.”
The company’s long-term goal is to continue to be the best it can be. “We want to continue to serve the mid-Ohio Valley,” Kaitlyn explained. “We strive to make owning a pool and water chemistry an easy and enjoyable experience. We will continue to stay current in the market and provide only quality products and experiences for our customers. By maintaining our proven formula for success, we intend to keep the business at the top of its game and assure our clients, now and in the future, that we are here for them. We’re all in this together.”