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Vintage Pool takes over ex-Aqua Pool service routes
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The pool maintenance routes of the shuttered Aqua Pool and Spa business locations in Manteca and Elk Grove have been taken over by a newly created Vintage Pool Supplies and More.

Barry Walker opened his doors just recently on Palm Avenue visible from Highway 99 about a mile south of the Manteca Aqua Pool location on Moffat Boulevard.  After last week’s closure of the business, Aqua Pool trucks were seen in the Vintage parking lot raising speculation by motorists passing by on the freeway that Aqua might be reopening under another name.

Walker bought seven of the Aqua Pool service trucks and purchased another eight new trucks from the Nissan dealership in Tracy, he said.

Walker said he and Aqua Pool’s owner Richard Townsend talked about his assuming the pool maintenance routes as long as two months ago.  He said Townsend was attempting to gather cash at the time that conceivably could have headed off shutting down the operation.

Walker, operating a dry wall business, opted to take over all the Aqua accounts and hired all the employees associated with the firm’s pool service operation.  He said he brought over about 16 of their route drivers and two of the women working in the office.  

“That was all the employees we could afford to hire at the beginning of the new operation out of the nearly 200 who lost their jobs,” he said.  
There remains a “nice pool of talented workers” looking for work that he hopes to draw from if the Vintage service business grows.  Aqua had lost some 400 accounts out of a total 1,700 before they closed the business.

The new service operation cares for pools from Manteca to Placerville to Alamo and all over the Bay Area making up a total of 17 routes.  Walker said that some of the customers had gotten upset with the decreasing service they were receiving and he is attempting to lure the old established customers back with a better service plan.

As for the more than 50 uncompleted pools that Aqua had under construction and walked away from, Walker said that the pool building firm is working hard to see those pools completed in the near future.

Burkett’s Pool Plastering of Ripon,  and other like firms,  are reportedly taking over the nearly finished job sites to get the pools up and running.

“When there is just a hole in the ground, the jobs are going to other pool contractors,” Walker added.

While Aqua Pool and Spa could envision the end coming months ago, the failure of Pacific State Bank and its calling in a $3 million loan from the pool builder obviously brought the final decision in closing the doors.

The end of last week company workers lined up outside the Moffat Boulevard facility wanting answers as to why their pay checks were not ready for them.  They said they had been told earlier in the week not to come to work because there wasn’t any work for them despite their  saying there were some 70 to 80 active pool job sites.

Home owners expecting to have their new pools finished before the end of summer were questioning why their pools remained unfinished in their back yards.  They, too, were arriving at the company’s gates.

Other customers drove to the Moffat Boulevard site saying they had received lien notices that would be levied against their homes by the Resource Building Materials of Modesto for supplies bought by the Aqua firm.

It was reported Tuesday that a state agency wants to take over the coordination of the pool construction projects suggesting that customers file official complaints.  A total of more than 20 have already filed such complaints with the state.

As of Tuesday, the Contractors State License Board noted that investigators have been unable to make contact with the officers of Aqua Pools saying the company had not filed bankruptcy paper work.

Telephone calls are not being answered at either the Manteca or the Elk Grove locations; however an update on the company voice mail Tuesday evening said that customers with unfinished pools would be contacted to arrange for completion of those pools.

The message added that the company “is actively acting on a plan for each customer.”  Messages could not be taken as the voice mail system was full.