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PoolWerx franchisees Tony and Michelle Graham scoop the pool at awards

Written on the 15 October 2012

The Courier-Mail
Monday 15 October 2012
By Sophie Foster

DESPITE topping the country as 2012's multi-unit franchisee of the year across all brands, Tony Graham was back in a commercial plant room the next day getting his hands dirty. It's a hands-on approach that has served the PoolWerx business owner well.

Along with wife Michelle, he now owns four PoolWerx stores and six mobile vans across Brisbane.

"I was an area manager in central Queensland for Lion Nathan, working for them for 15 years and had a pretty good run," he said. "But I wanted to get a bit more of a work-life balance."

When his children were born, he made a decision to use his sales and finance background to go into business for himself.

"I went to a franchise expo and ended up with a PoolWerx packet in my hand," he said.

"It had potential. I did a lot of homework and liked the enthusiasm of the leadership team. So back in 2002 we packed up from Rockhampton, came back to Brisbane. There was a van, me and no customers, that's how I started."

The Grahams now employ a 20-member team, working across Keperra, Samford, The Gap and Indooroopilly.

"It was a little bit tough there through the GFC but we remained more hands on," he said. "We still get our hands dirty."

Of his 500 or so regular clients, about a third of his mobile van work comes from business-to-business contracts such as body corporates, real estate agents and insurance companies.

"I had a five-year plan which was achieved in probably the first two years, not because I went in guns blazing, but that was just what happened," Mr Graham said.

"I've been fortunate enough that these pool shops came up for sale and I was able to turn them around, but certainly without the PoolWerx brand it would have been very difficult."

The brand itself started out in Brisbane 20 years ago, with PoolWerx chief executive John O'Brien inducted into the Franchising Hall of Fame on the same night that Mr Graham took out the national Franchise Council of Australia award.

Click here to read article online.

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