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insideheritage

Inside Heritage

Part one of a look at the new(ish) distribution company

Heritage Pool Supply Group has quickly established itself as a formidable presence in the pool industry, with a commitment to customer service, strategic growth and community involvement. On March 28, The Home Depot announced its intent to buy SRS Distribution, one of the country’s largest building products distributors and parent company to Heritage Pool Supply Group and Heritage Landscape Supply Group. The sale was completed June 18

Company history

When SRS looked for areas outside building products to expand into, pool and landscape stood out. 

“We wanted to own exterior and outdoor living products,” says Matt McDermott, president of Heritage Pool Supply Group. “Everything around the backyard — from the foundation all the way to the fence line.”

It expanded into landscape first, a significantly larger industry than the pool industry, making its first landscape acquisition in 2018. After three years, it expanded into pools by acquiring Oklahoma-based Davis Supply, a company that sold about 50/50 landscape and pool products. 

This move marked the beginning of Heritage Pool. Since then, it’s has grown rapidly, acquiring 20 companies in the past three years and is in the process of opening 25 new branches this year.

“We’ve loved the pool industry for a long time and it’s an honor to lead this platform and our amazing team,” McDermott says. “We say that our business model is not rocket science. It’s doing the right thing the first time, treating people right, taking good care of our customers, cherishing every order and building a company and legacy that everybody in the industry can be proud of.”

Unique acquisition strategy

“There are so many owners and good people who were looking for an alternative or succession plan that didn’t exist until Heritage entered the industry,” McDermott says. “Practically every deal we’ve done to date has been a reference call from one owner to another.” 

McDermott says he wants business owners to feel confident on the emotional day when they announce a Heritage acquisition to employees. 

“Every question that you would get from an employee — ‘What happens to my pay, my job and my benefits?’ — we’ve built this platform from scratch to positively answer those questions,” McDermott says. “The owner can get up in front of their team and say, ‘I’ve done my homework, I’ve talked to other owners — these guys have a good track record. They do what they say, and I’m bringing Heritage on as a growth partner to help take the company to another level.’ We’re not eliminating this company or brand from the industry. We’re trying to enhance everything they have and help take them to another level while providing their employees with career development and wealth creation opportunities.”

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McDermott says that’s one of the reasons why they landed on Heritage as the company name. 

“ ‘Heritage’ is all about the legacy, the decades of experience and the people in the industry — all these great family companies,” he says. “Our oldest family company is over a hundred years old.”

Commitment to customer and supplier relationships

Heritage emphasizes a partnership approach with its customers and suppliers. “We encourage all our customers and suppliers to be vocal,” McDermott says. “Tell us what you need. Tell us when we’re not doing a good job. We want to learn. We want to get better. Your success is our success.” This ensures that the company remains responsive and adaptive to its partners.

Heritage has taken the listening approach when it comes to giving back as well, asking which organizations and causes are important to the pool industry. Initiatives like Heritage Cares and partnerships with organizations such as the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, Step Into Swim and Swim Across America highlight the company’s dedication to social responsibility and the local communities it serves. “No matter how big or small your company is, we all can always do more and give back. Together we can do great things for our industry,” McDermott says.

Focus on employee development

Heritage also offers robust training programs for employees and uses internal promotion practices. The company invests in developing new talent, recruiting from colleges across the U.S. and providing opportunities for career growth and advancement.

These efforts are focused on building the “smile factor,” a job that people are excited to come to. “I always tell people — not in a morbid sense, but in a powerful sense — I want this to be your last job,” McDermott says. “I want you to love the company and be proud of the team that we have, the culture and family that we’re building.”

Looking ahead

“We’re in the very early innings of what we want to do and we’re only getting warmed up,” McDermott says. “We’re going to work hard every day to build something that five years from now, 10 years from now, the whole industry can be proud of and rally around.”

He says Heritage is not just building a business; it’s creating a legacy of excellence and commitment to the pool industry. With a customer-first approach, a dedication to employee and community welfare and ambitious plans, it is set to continue for years to come.

“We can help our supplier partners grow and make more money,” McDermott says. “We can help our pool pros grow, become more profitable and be better businesspeople. We truly believe that everyone can win. We simply love this industry and are proud to play our part.”

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