Swimart expands its network of stores

Sunday, 22 July, 2012

Swimming pool and spa specialist group Swimart, celebrating its 25th anniversary in franchising this year, has opened its 66th store. The store, at Winston Hills, Sydney, is co-owned by experienced operators John and Tony Arbidans and Daniel Bow.

Swimart Winston Hills is the second store for the Arbidans, who own Swimart Baulkham Hills, also in Sydney's Hills District. They join four other existing franchisees who own two stores in the Swimart network.

"Franchisees are starting to realise they can quickly expand their business through the acquisition of underperforming stores and applying the Swimart franchise model," says Swimart's National Manager, Chris Fitzmaurice.

"It makes a lot of sense for certain franchisees to purchase a second store. For example, if they buy close to their existing store or within the same area, there's the opportunity to merge/consolidate many of their day-to-day activities, such as servicing all clients from one location."

"Economies of scale can be achieved and it doesn't necessarily mean duplicating operational costs, which ultimately means profitability can increase exponentially."

Economies of scale were a key driver for the Arbidans and Daniel Bow to purchase an underperforming independent store in Winston Hills and rebrand it to Swimart. In addition, the generous rebranding financial package that Swimart offers to its franchisees who wish to expand their network was a strong incentive.

"The package was very attractive and having financial backup allowed us to move quickly, which secured the sale for us," explains Tony. "Because we already have a store at Baulkham Hills, we know the business and don't have to start from scratch. We have economies of scale and are replicating operating procedures and streamlining operations."

"Swimart paid for all the legal fees in the purchase of the store; it also provided funds upfront to rebrand the store to Swimart - plus Swimart pays for a local marketing campaign to create instant awareness."

Added experience

Bringing 28-year-old Daniel Bow into the picture as part owner and store manager of Swimart Winston Hills was a perfect fit, Tony adds. Daniel has more than 11 years' experience working in a number of Swimart stores.

"I've worked in most parts of the business over the years, but now with the added responsibility of ownership, I'm really enjoying the new challenge," says Daniel. "The buck stops with me. If something needs to be done, I do it. Funnily enough, I used to visit the Winston Hills pool store with my parents as a kid. I never thought I would part-own it!"

Independent store strategy

For some time, Swimart has been offering a great deal for independent pool stores wishing to join the Swimart franchise, and now this deal has been extended to existing franchisees wanting to purchase another store.

"Many independents are struggling due to the past two poor seasons, rising costs and diminishing profitability, so it can make sense for existing Swimart franchisees to do what a couple of existing franchisees have done and purchase an independent store and rebrand it," says Chris.

"Acquiring an independent store delivers instant customers, cash flow and, in many cases, additional profits. With the backing of a national TV advertising campaign, franchisees can leverage the Swimart brand to fast-track sales growth from these independent stores."

Chris says the benefits aren't just for existing franchisees. "The Swimart model is easily operated," he says. "And individual independents who joined Swimart would achieve the same. It's a sound way for independent operators to reinvigorate their business and put it back on the growth path."

Swimart has amended its membership requirements to make it easier and more cost-effective for independents to join the group. Independent pool store owners interested in either joining the Swimart franchise or finding out more should contact Chris Fitzmaurice for a confidential discussion.

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