Thirty years in business is a milestone to make any company owner proud. For Horizon Pool & Patio, it’s also a family celebration.
What began in 1985 as a small pool retail store serving the growing western communities is now a multi-generational family business focused on bringing pools to the next generation. Owner Chuck Grove credits his family for the business’s success.
“A lot of our success has to do with the fact that almost from the start, it was family,” Grove said.
In 1985, Horizon Pool & Patio opened as a small retail store in Royal Palm Beach. It sold pool accessories and provided maintenance to the growing list of backyard pools in the area. Two years later, the owners opened a Wellington store at Forest Hill Blvd. and Wellington Trace, which has since became their flagship location. By the early 1990s, Chuck and Linda Grove had bought out their original partner and refocused for the future.
Today, the Groves’ two daughters and sons-in-law, as well as several grandchildren, are involved in the operation. Shannon started as a store manager and has been involved for most of Horizon’s history, and Jennifer is Horizon’s bookkeeper and office manager. Shannon’s husband, Dave Ballard, is vice president and general manager, having worked in the business since he was in school. Jennifer’s husband, John Kenbeek, is the service manager. “And my wife, Linda, has been an integral part since the inception,” Chuck added.
The Groves count hundreds of pool owners among their clients and are proud that some of their earliest customers remain customers today.
“I still do business with the Groves and people who still know my name,” said Chuck Schaefer, owner of Schaefer Drugs and customer number three for Horizon Pool & Patio. “That means a lot.”
Horizon is anything but static. It has evolved as the pool industry evolved. Following a trend in the early 1990s, when several major pool builders were undercutting each other with prices too good to be true, Horizon began its renovation business.
“Some of the pool builders were offering these unbelievable deals,” Chuck recalled. “I know how much a pool costs. I thought, there’s no way they can make any money. They had to be skimping somewhere. The pool walls got thinner, the beams cracked where the tile goes on. The size of the plumbing pipes got smaller. All those things eventually had to be fixed.”
Today, pool maintenance, repair and renovation are the backbone of the business, and Horizon’s store dedicates as much space to new tile and pool finishes as to the pool supplies and toys that were the core business in the 1980s.
The trends in pool building today mirror those in kitchen and bath design, with glass and natural stone finishes. State-of-the-art technology means salt conversion systems, which now are more affordable and provide a gentler water purifying system than the traditional chlorine systems, Chuck said.
Although the pace of new home building has slowed from the 1980s and 1990s, many longtime residents like the Groves now are putting their money into renovations.
“There are a lot of people like me,” he said. “The kids are gone. They might downsize, but they decide, ‘I’m staying here. I’m going to put my money into my house and make it a place I want to retire to.’”
That includes renovating their pools — not only with new finishes, but perhaps with water features, colored lights and automation systems that can be operated from a smart phone. Horizon also has begun offering construction of outdoor kitchens.
But one thing will remain the same.
“I think it’s going to be in the family for a long time,” Chuck said.
Horizon Pool & Patio is located at 12785-A W. Forest Hill Blvd. in the Wellington Plaza. To learn more, call (561) 790-0665 or visit www.horizonpool.com.
ABOVE: Three generations of family are among the crew at Horizon Pool & Patio. Owners Chuck and Linda Grove (seated, front), started the company in 1985. Sons-in-law and daughters Dave and Shannon Ballard (far left) and Jennifer and John Kenbeek (far right) and grandson Jordan (standing third from right) are also on the team.