Arvidson Pools & Spas Celebrates 60 Years in Business
1920-1940 Gets the Business Going
In 1924, 17-year old Bengt Arvidson traveled to America from Gammelstad, Sweden. He didn’t have much more than a tool belt and the integrity to work hard and produce quality products. He honed his building skills on the elaborate homes he built in Chicago. This continued for many years before the rolling hills of McHenry beckoned him.
He married a Swedish hometown girl, Laurine Johnson. In 1932 he continued to work independently as a contractor and home builder. He did this for many years while raising his family.
When his customers wanted swimming pools with their new homes, he put his skills into action. He became the area’s primary custom pool builder in the mid-50’s.
The Mid-50’s Bring a Name Change
In 1958, his son, Don, and son-in-law, Jerry Marunde, joined the business, and Ben Arvidson & Sons was incorporated. In later years the name was changed to Arvidson Pools & Spas to better reflect what had become a full-fledged pool and spa business.
Over the past 60 years, the company has prospered by adapting to the times.
The 60’s and 70’s – Business Grows
During the 60’s and 70’s, its core business was building homes, in-ground pools, and decks. Don graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in architecture, took on the role of designer. Jerry was the lead construction manager and builder, while Ben continued to oversee the operation.
The 80’s – Crisis Averted
The company nearly collapsed due to fraud, embezzlement, and theft on the part of a small group of non-aligned employees.
At this time, when closing their doors was an unexpected but very real possibility, Jerry’s son, Dennis, who was studying for his MBA at Babson College in Boston, returned home to help them get their books back in order.
Success Ushers in the 21st Century
He discovered the deception and developed a path that returned them to solvency. It required much belt-tightening, but they were able to keep the doors open.
With Ben now retired, Don & Jerry focused on design and construction, and the path was laid for Dennis to be the first grandson to join the company on a full-time basis.
He came on as the business manager and initiated many forward-thinking concepts. These included the expansion of portable spas, saunas, pool supplies and chemicals. He also added outdoor living products to the mix. In addition, Dennis saw the need for an in-house service department. This enabled Arvidson’s to continue to help new pool and spa owners with maintenance and repair issues when they arose.
Present Day Modernization
Now the president of Arvidson Pools & Spas, Dennis Marunde, has led the company into the present day with the expansion into three retail locations (Crystal Lake, Palatine, and St. Charles) to become a multi-million dollar business.
His early experience of pulling the company from the grip of economic ruin keeps him focused on the bottom line, while still investing in the company’s future through technological advancements, strong industry relationships, and a genuine care for the company’s 50+ employees.
Asked if there was one thing his grandfather taught him, he responds with, “He once told me, ‘Always protect your good name.’ I have never forgotten that and it guides me daily.”
On the construction side of the business, Jerry brought his other son, Doug, into the world of pool construction in 1990.
Working directly under Jerry’s master guidance, Doug quickly learned all there was to know about quality pool construction.
Doug is known to say,“There’s a lot more to it than just digging a hole and filling it with water.”
Thirty years later, Doug’s leads the Construction Division building the highest quality custom inground swimming pools available anywhere.
Legendary Pool Business
In fact, he’s something of a legend, and pool owners in the Chicagoland suburbs know him by name. Many of his customers come through referrals of pool owners whom he has previously worked with.
While you won’t hear him say it, he has built pools for some well-known local celebrities including actors Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy, and former Bears player Charles Tillman.
As one pool owner said, “I truly appreciate Doug’s attentiveness to our needs and for making our backyard oasis vision come true.”
Don Arvidson retired in 1993. His son, Dan, manages the Parts Department ensuring that there is no delay in pool construction projects due to a lack of parts. Dan grew up learning how to fix things and is a true example of a DIY guy.
Pool and spa owners appreciate his honest and clear explanations about how they can often fix something on their own saving them both time and money. His goal is to get customers back into their pools and spas as quickly as possible.
A side note – his autistic son also works at the company helping with labeling parts and inventory. His name is Ben, after his great-grandfather.
A True Family Affair
Arvidson Pools & Spas truly is a family business. Throughout its 60 years, many family members have joined the company including aunts, nephews, nieces, sons, daughters, cousins and beyond.
Perhaps the most precious family employee today is Marlene Marunde (Ben & Laurine’s daughter, Jerry’s wife and Dennis & Doug’s mother). Sixty years after her brother, father, and husband became partners, Marlene continues to work daily in the accounting department in Crystal Lake. Her kind and gentle, yet principled presence is a blessing to all who work with her.
60th Year Improvements
The 60th year also marks major improvements. We’re making changes at each retail location from new electronic outdoor signs to total renovation of the Palatine location and upgrades in the other stores.
A grand reopening of the Palatine store took place the weekend of April 13-15, 2018, with a private reception for city officials, company vendors, and guests on Thursday, April 12.
Throughout the year, we invite customerss to 60th Anniversary events and sales. We offer a glimpse into how things have changed over the past six decades. A gala celebration in December brings excitement – one lucky hot tub buyer from 2018 will receive a check for $5,000.
Arvidson Pools & Spas is a member of Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, Carecraft Pool Builders Network, NFIB, Genesis, Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary International.
In addition to luxury, inground pool construction, the company sells:
- Hot Spring spas
- Fantasy spas
- Hydropool Swim Spas
- Finnleo Saunas
- BioGuard chemicals
- Del Sol Patio Furniture
- Plus a selection of locally-sourced products such as handmade dog supplies and treats, Bridgewater candles, and Naked Bee Skincare products