Third generation pool business comes out on top
By Jim Raposa
Morehead Pools in Shreveport, Louisiana, is a family business — with a crazy family tree. It was founded in 1960 by Hall Morehead and developed a winning reputation — until the early 1970s when Hall Morehead and the business had accrued significant debt. Margaret Moore, Morehead’s operations manager and bookkeeper, saw an opportunity to save the business. Since Hall Morehead was now occupied with other business interests, Margaret offered to assume the business debt, provided Morehead turn ownership of Morehead Pools over to her and her husband, Harold, once all debts were paid in full. For Morehead, the offer was irresistible.
Harold Moore promptly quit his secure position with the local power company to join his wife as pool construction manager; Margaret handled sales and operations. In less than three years, the Moores successfully turned the business around and became Morehead Pools’ owners in 1977. “My grandmother was certainly one of the first women in the country to own and operate a pool-construction company,” says Michael Moore, current president and CEO.
As the business grew, more family members joined. Michael’s Dad, Mike, came on full time in 1978, eventually assuming control (with wife Monica) in late 1999 upon Margaret’s death. Michael Moore was appointed president and CEO when his dad died unexpectedly in 2015. “I knew the business inside and out because I’ve worked here since I was a kid,” Michael says. “I emptied trash cans, checked on job sites with my grandfather. I’ve pretty much worked in every department: pool cleaning, plumbing, construction. I worked retail one summer while I was in college.” When he joined full time in 2003, he went into design and sales.
Michael credits his dad with building upon his grandparents’ success, making Morehead Pools one of the nation’s premier builders. “He was very hands-off as a manager,” Michael says. “He hired people with strength in areas where he was weak and let them do their job. And he was willing to try an idea he thought had merit, right or wrong.” Under his father’s guidance, a retail location was opened in Bossier City, Louisiana, and a second retail and construction division in Little Rock, Arkansas. Thanks to his father, the business went from $1.7 million in total sales to almost $11 million last year, Michael says. Its average price per project last year was just over $100,000, with about 53 projects in Shreveport and 25 to 30 pools in Little Rock.
Moore is a stickler for quality pool construction and exemplary customer relationships. “Since my grandparents took the helm, we’ve been all about quality; we’re also about family,” Michael says. “People know us, they know our staff, our kids; we’re part of the fabric of the community. We’ve built our brand on trust and by always doing the right thing. There’s no gray area when dealing with people.”