Hanover pool builder taking the plunge in Pembroke – Information – The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA
When Steve Caramello opened Swim Sports Inc. in Hanover 37 years ago, the swimming pool industry was just starting to boom. Now at 71, Caramello is handing over his South Shore business to his son Tony and daughter-in-law Allison Behning as the company moves from its long-standing location at 247 Columbia Road in Hanover to a larger showroom at 520 Washington St., Pembroke.
When Steve Caramello opened Swim Sports Inc. in Hanover 37 years ago, the swimming pool industry was just starting to boom.
Now at 71, Caramello is handing over his South Shore business to his son Tony and daughter-in-law Allison Behning as the company moves from its long-standing location at 247 Columbia Road in Hanover to a larger showroom at 520 Washington St., Pembroke.
Caramello, who has rented the space in Hanover since it opened in 1976, recognizes the need for a new location, but is nostalgic about leaving Swim Sports’ first home.
“It’s a difficult transition for me,” said Caramello. “My wife always said, ‘They will find you dead in this place.'”
In today’s market with an endless number of pool models of various shapes and sizes, Caramello’s business can better serve its customers in a larger building, he said.
And in the 2013 off-season, when business was booming, when the state was recovering from an economic recession, there seemed no better time to finally take the leap.
Caramello has maintained his family-run business in Hanover through five recessions, and even in difficult economic times has never thought of closing the business.
He credits his south coast success to smart budgeting and careful building practices, but has seen firsthand the difficulties of being a business-driven company.
“If the economy is bad, you could give away a car with every pool and not make a deal,” said Caramello. “That last recession didn’t last long, but it was deep inside so the recovery was slow.”
Caramello started in the home improvement industry in 1964 and, by observing other companies, structured a business model that Swim Sports is family-owned and enables them to have personal relationships with their customers, he said.
The company never works on more than two projects at the same time and only hires a few builders at a time – Caramello’s son is one of them – to keep the process personal for the customers.
With only five other pool builders in the area, Caramello has found the competition to be healthy and good.
“We all get good business,” he said. “Nobody does 30 when someone else does five.”
In the early years, a swimming pool cost $ 4,000 to $ 6,000. Today it costs $ 20,000 to $ 30,000 before being landscaped and fenced off.
Caramello’s business aims to build between 15 and 25 pools each year. However, only three and even 30 pools were built in one disposable income business.
Hailing from Plymouth, he sees the South Shore as a great place to own a swimming pool business given the affluence and soil quality of southeast Massachusetts.
Swim Sports will move to Pembroke on November 1st when the next generation of caramellos dips and keeps the business going.
Siobhan O’Grady can be reached at [email protected]