Carrie Adams owns Marie’s Pool Store in Anniston, a pool supply store that her mother started in Adams’ grandfather’s store. Marie’s Pool Store carries a wide range of chemicals, equipment and pool toys.
What is your connection to the Anniston area?
I am from Heflin; my family and I still live in Cleburne County. I graduated from Cleburne County High School in 1994, then I got my double-BA in English and history at Jacksonville State University. My grandfather owned Federal Products in Anniston.
Why did you want to study English and history?
I actually started out as a secondary education major. My focus was on English and history. When it came time for the practicum, I felt led in a different direction. I thought I wanted to work in publishing. I tried editing for about six months at Pollard Publishing in Oxford; they published the trucking magazines.
So you did not pursue a business degree?
No, everything I know about business, I have learned from watching my mom and owning this business.
How did you decide you wanted to own a small business?
Marie is my mom. I had been coming to work with her since I was 5 years old. A few years ago, she decided she was ready to sell the business. At that point, I decided to work on buying it from her to keep it going and keep it in the family. My husband is in the business with me; he is also a JSU grad. He studied computer information systems, and he wrote the point-of-sale software that we use at the store.
How did Marie’s Pool Store start?
It literally started on a 5x8-foot rug at my grandfather’s store, Federal Products, on South Leighton. My grandfather built a pool and started to order in chemicals and parts for pools. People started to find out about it and come in, so he hired my mom to come in and run that part of his business in 1981. She continued that until 1994, when my grandfather sold his business, causing her to go out on her own.
What do you do as the owner of a pool store?
I wait on customers, do the billing, some accounting, decision-making, you name it — along with my husband. In the busy season, we have about six or seven employees, and we carry two of those with us full-time through winter.
Do you or your husband have jobs outside of the pool store?
I do not, but he is the fire chief at the volunteer fire department in Heflin. It keeps him pretty busy.
What items are available for sale at the store?
We have a full line of chemicals. We have toys, games, floats, goggles, masks, nets, decorative items like wind chimes, automatic pool cleaners and all the maintenance equipment.
Do you provide services in addition to selling items?
Yes, we have service guys who open and close pools, provide weekly maintenance, and service and repair and install equipment. We also sell and install above-ground pools. We do liner replacements and safety covers. We do almost everything except install in-ground pools.
What is the biggest issue customers seem to have with their pools?
The “green-to-clean” is what we call it. If people ignore their pools in the winter, it takes a while to get the pools going again. The water treatment and water balance seems to be the biggest issue.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Knowing that we have helped somebody and tailoring to their needs for their particular pool.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at email@example.com