Atlanta-based Garden City Companies, whose investors include former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former NFL quarterback Drew Brees, along with many others, have acquired Essig Pools, one of the Top 50 Pool Builders in the U.S., according to Pool & Spa News. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Miramar, Florida, the family-owned Essig Pools has been serving the South Florida market for more than 40 years.
“This is the first of many acquisitions we plan to make in Florida,” said South Florida native Michael Arrieta, founder and CEO of Garden City and graduate of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. “Our intent is to make Essig and future acquired pool companies the most caring and innovative pool builders in the country. We want to be the Chick-fil-A of the pool industry where all our workers feel like heroes. We're an employee-first company committed to creating a culture where our workers thrive. Happy employees mean happy customers which results in a thriving business.”
According to Arrieta, Garden City has no intention to ever sell the company. “We buy exceptional family-owned companies from owners seeking to retire and we have no intention of ever selling. We’re nothing like traditional private equity that buys and flips companies in three to five years. We buy businesses to impact the lives of people and create lasting enterprises. Our mission is to buy and grow purpose-driven businesses that will thrive for decades to come where employees have pride and dignity in their work," he said.
Garden City is focused on building a family of the best pool companies in Florida and is actively looking for other exceptional pool builders to acquire.
“I've always believed that companies who put employees first win in the end,” said former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. “For decades, Essig Pools has been a great benefit to South Florida by building world-class pools. Together with Garden City Companies, we are excited to grow the business to new heights via innovation and an employee-centered culture where everyone is truly valued.”
The Garden City board of advisors includes some of the top names in business. “I am humbled to serve Garden City and its world-class board of advisors which include Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, former Under Secretary of State and CEO of DocuSign Keith Krach, entrepreneur and athlete Tim Tebow, former Equifax CEO Richard Smith, former CEO of Boeing Dennis Muilenberg, former CEO of Popeyes and KFC Cheryl Bachelder, board director of Costco and HP Maggie Wilderotter and many others,” said Ritz Carlton Founder Horst Schulze. “Together we will build the best pool business in the country.”
Athlete, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist Drew Brees agrees. “We couldn’t be more excited to impact lives through our acquisition of Essig Pools. Our buy and hold model allows us to make long-term investments to ensure the business thrives another 40 years. In partnership with our incredible employees and customers, we are committed to building the best pool company in Florida,” he said.
In addition to pool companies, Garden City is also looking to acquire other family-owned, small to mid-sized businesses in Florida from owners who are actively looking for a succession or liquidity plan. Inspired by Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, the company keeps the acquisition process extremely simple with a 90-day process, using little to no debt and keeping management teams in place.
“As a local South Florida business owner, I believe in Garden City’s permanent equity model as it’s dramatically different from traditional private equity firms who buy and flip companies,” said Best Roofing CEO Gregg Wallick. “Similar to Best Roofing, we will build an employee-first culture focused on leadership development and excellence, all while building the finest pools in the market.”
According to Brett Overman, chairman of Zips Car Wash & CEO of National Disaster Solutions, the plan for Essig Pools is to continue building on the company’s stellar reputation cultivated over the last 40 years. “Garden City will help the management team implement emerging technologies to drive better customer and employee experience, help set up new leadership development programs, expand new employee benefits and offer additional services that benefit employees,” said Overman.
“We love the pool business. It creates a space for families to come together, put away their phones and create lasting memories with loved ones,” said Arrieta. “There is no better state in the country to buy a pool business given the beautiful, sunny weather. We see incredible potential here as more people are moving to Florida than ever before and with home value continuing to rise, those who do live here are reinvesting in their homes and that includes building, renovating or servicing their pool.”