EuroSpaPoolNews met Howard SMITH, CEO of PLEATCO, one of the largest manufacturers of pool filter cartridges, spa filter cartridges and replacement filter cartridges, at Piscine Global Europe Show in November. He told us about the Pool & Spa business in USA, about new product innovations and the European market. Interview of a major player in the Pool and Spa market in USA which quickly expands in Europe...
Could you tell us something about the history of Pleatco and your current position the international market?
Howard SMITH: Pleatco is a 40 year old company. When I purchased Pleatco back in 2006, it was a small regional manufacturer on the East Coast of the USA. Now 12 years later, we are the number one manufacturer of pool and spa filter cartridges in the USA and growing and expanding quickly in Europe. We have manufacturing facilities in New York and Mexico and a distribution center in California. We are an international company serving the entire USA, Canada, and Europe. What makes Pleatco different from most of our competitors is that we're not just a manufacturer but we lead by innovation through science, research, engineering and technology, which allows us to use unique raw materials and to develop scientifically advanced products.
Could you tell us about your professional career?
H.S: Although I am a lawyer by training, most of my professional experience has been in running distribution businesses including the pharmaceutical industry and the specialty lamp industry. I have also done some consulting for some Fortune 500 companies. Twelve years ago, I had the opportunity to purchase Pleatco, which was my first foray in the Pool and Spa Industry.
How do you evaluate the 2018 Pool & Spa business in US?
H.S: 2018 has been a decent year, very weather related; there were many areas where the weather in the USA was not great so that dramatically affected the pool business, not so much the Spa. The economy has been pretty solid thanks to the stock market, which certainly has given rise to new construction and increased spa sales. I believe that 2019 will be a solid year for the Pool industry and the Spa business in Europe in particular.
Tell us about new product innovations?
H.S: Over the past four years Pleatco filter cartridges made with Pleatco Advanced Point Bonded Filtration Fabric(TM) have become the new standard in pool and spa filtration. However, with the mantra of "constant improvement" the Pleatco team continues to push the boundaries of filtration technology and has developed new "Pleatco Advanced Ultra(TM)", the revolutionary next step in innovative Pool filtration.
Pleatco Advanced Ultra is driven by revolutionary patent pending technology - Pleatco Pure Pleat(TM). Pure Pleat is a new feature that keeps the pleats of the cartridge rigid and evenly spaced, enhancing flow dynamics and optimizing performance. This is a completely new band-less cartridge design truly in a category of its own.
What do you think about the European Market?
H.S: We are very excited about the European market, and we believe it's a great opportunity to grow our foot print, both in Pool and Spa. We have great customers throughout the European market and will continue to grow our business over the next few years. We have some excellent representation in Europe and work closely with OEM's and major distribution partners to bring our superior filtration technology to the many markets here. We have developed our website Pleatco.com to include major European languages to help develop our relationships and offer products in key countries and beyond.