Leslie's Swimming Pool Supplies will hold a grand opening Friday at its new store at 8295 N. Cortaro Road, on the far northwest side. The Phoenix-based chain plans to open 48 new stores by the end of May.


Phoenix-based Leslie's Swimming Pool Supplies is celebrating the grand opening Friday of 15 new stores, including one in Tucson.

The national chain plans to open a total of 48 new stores by the end of May, which brings its retail store count to above 800. Nine of its stores are in the Tucson area.

The company employs about 3,500 workers nationwide during swimming pool season.

Tucson's stores will be hiring through the busy months of May, June and July.

The swimming pool industry appears to be on an upswing after the recession.

"We saw a decline in 2008 and 2009," said Dave McKibben, manager of Tucson company Patio Pools and Spas. "As of today, our sales are perking up over the previous years."

Competition from national chains like Leslie's has been felt, McKibben said. But there seems to be enough business to go around. He said there are about 60,000 pools in Pima County.

Part of Patio's success, he said, is exclusive relationships with worldwide vendors, which makes it possible to carry products other stores do not. Patio employees also pride themselves on customer service. "If you give advice that works for them, they'll drive past the chains and other stores," McKibben said.

According to the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona, there are close to 20 swimming pool and swimming pool supply companies in Tucson, several having multiple storefronts.

Patio Pools and Spas has a total of four stores in Tucson and one in Sierra Vista.

Premier Pools and Spas has one Tucson store, at 3901 N. Oracle Road. The company used to have a second Tucson location that closed a few months back.

Premier's Tucson store manager, Daniel Butierez, said business is going strong now, but it was slow during the economic downturn.

"We are definitely starting to see it come back," Butierez said.

If You Go

Leslie's Swimming Pool Supplies, 8295 N. Cortaro Road.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Grand opening special offer is 20 percent off storewide Friday through Monday.

Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at apitteng@azstarnet.com or 573-4137.