Riverbend Sandler picks up another D-FW swimming pool rival in consolidation push

A Chicago-based investment firm backing Riverbend Sandler is continuing its push to consolidate the swimming pool construction and maintenance business in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Claffey Pools of Southlake will join an ownership group that started its consolidation drive with Plano-based Riverbend Sandler, according to trade publication Pool & Spa News. It’s now the third major North Texas player to be acquired by the investment firm.

The deal was finalized Dec. 31 but made public Thursday. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Driving the consolidation is Chicago-based Concentric Equity Partners, which invested in Riverbend Sandler last April with a goal of gaining a controlling market share in D-FW.

In November, it picked up Fort Worth-based pool construction and renovation companies Pulliam Pool Builders Inc. and Pulliam Services Inc. That deal made the merged company one of the largest pool construction firms in the nation.

Claffey Pools takes it up another notch.

Pool & Spa News said Claffey ranked No. 8 among the nation’s top 50 pool builders, with nearly $32 million of residential construction revenue in 2020. It builds mostly high-end pools, with jobs averaging around $142,000, according to the publication.

The company was founded in 1987 by Paul Claffey, father of the most recent principals — president Charlie Claffey, sales manager Brian Claffey and senior design consultant Shelley Claffey.

“We’re a great company, and they’ve acquired a great asset,” Charlie Claffey told Pool & Spa News. “And in return we believe that they’ve got the bandwidth to help us capitalize on the brand. And we just believe they’re a solid, ethical, honest partner.”

The Claffeys will remain with the company, along with their 95 employees.

Riverbend Sandler next expects to target pool builders and service and maintenance companies in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, Pool & Spa News said.

Service and maintenance took on new importance in Texas last winter, when an epic freeze resulted in thousands of damaged pools across the state. Before that, the pandemic drove a surge in pool construction in the U.S. in 2020, with 96,000 new residential in-ground pools built — the highest total in over a decade, according to the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance.

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