Pooling Family Resources
Betz Pools can trace its origins back to the 1940s
Brothers Keith (left) and Marvin Betz have worked for their family’s swimming pool business since their early teens. The Stouffville based company has built pools for the likes of Conrad Black and former Ontario Premier Mike Harris.
By Kinjal Dagli Shah
Stouffville Free Press
Kenneth William Betz had long been in the construction business, building banks, stores and curling rinks, when he was asked by a client to build a custom home with a swimming pool.
This was back in the 1940s, and Mr KW Betz wasn’t keen to build one. But the client insisted, and Mr Betz finally relented. The finished product must have been enviable, because his next client wanted a custom-built home but on one condition – it should have a pool.
“That was the beginning of the pool business for my father. Originally named KW Betz Construction, the business was renamed Betz Pools to match the work it was doing more of,” said Marvin Betz, the eldest of four Betz siblings. “I started working for the company when I was 13 years old, spending my summer holidays learning the ropes. When I finished high school, around 1960, we were already building more pools and Betz Pools had just been incorporated.”
Marvin had a natural aptitude for the business, as a test taken at his high school showed. He was one of three students chosen to work for Bell Telephone to help install dial phones. He would, however, choose not to take the job but joined forces with his father to take Betz Pools on the road to bigger success.
His younger brother, Keith Betz, also stepped in four years later. “I had held a few jobs around town but I figured I would just end up here anyhow. I woke up one day and found myself in the family business,” said Keith, who just turned 69 but jokes that “I still think I’m 50.”
Their sister Marie worked in the business for 30 years but is now retired. “Our other sister is the only one of us who never worked in the business; she married a farmer and is now happily retired in Uxbridge,” said Marvin, who credits the success of the business to family and a few key employees. Marvin and Keith each have two daughters, with both of the elder ones having worked in the business at some point. “My elder daughter, Carol-Ann, is a landscape architect and even though she left for a few years to do her own thing, she is now back at work with Betz Pools,” said Marvin.
Having been at the Main Street site for over 40 years, and at the old post office location for several years before, the Betz family has seen it all and done pools for clients far and wide. Among their customers are famous names like Conrad Black and former Ontario Premier Mike Harris. “Over the years, we have met a lot of good people. We have installed many pools in Stouffville, including the Town’s outdoor pool that closed a few years ago. But our clients extend to as far as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia,” said Marvin with a sense of pride.
While three Betz family members remain involved with the business, the future will see a different story unfold. The business has been sold to four key employees who are interested in carrying on the legacy. “Neither one of us has family that is interested in taking the reins of the business,” said Marvin. “But we do have four guys who have worked here forever and were very interested so that’s what will happen in the future,” he explained, adding that the business is slowly outgrowing the current site as well so a move to a bigger premise is in the cards. However, he did clarify, “It’s a long-term deal; we aren’t moving anytime soon.”