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Pool & Patio Center Has Closed After 63 Years

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bruce Aronson.

The Pool & Patio Center, Bruce Aronson’s specialty store in Metairie, Louisiana, has closed after 63 years in business. The store’s last day serving customers was August 31.

Aronson’s father opened the Pool & Patio Center in 1952. Aronson worked in the store as a youth and began full-time employment in 1973. The store, he said, “was one of the oldest outdoor furniture specialty stores in the industry.”

Aronson told Hearth & Home that he had decided earlier this year to put a retirement plan into place when he reached his 70th birthday in 2016.

But his schedule was altered when he was approached in July about selling his property. The prospective buyer offered a short timetable to close the sale.

“It was a very quick transaction,” Aronson said. The deal gave him four months to close out the business.

Aronson said he sought advice from industry peers with experience in business transitions. “I had a lot of input,” he said. “I was concerned we wouldn’t be able to do it in four months.”

The going out of business sale began August 1. The second weekend in August was Louisiana’s annual sales tax holiday, with no sales taxes on retail sales. “It was our biggest weekend in the history of the store,” Aronson said. After that he knew the process would be over quickly.

Aronson said the community’s response was humbling and gratifying. “I was so surprised by the support from our longtime customers,” he said. “Some came in just to say goodbye and say how much they’re going to miss us. It touched my heart deeply.”

Aronson, father of two adult children, said neither was interested in taking over the business. His son is an attorney, and his daughter lives in Australia with her husband and four children. None of Aronson’s employees were in a position to take over the business, he said.

“My biggest concern was what was going to happen to my employees,” he said. Many had been with Pool & Patio Center for 15 or 20 years. As word spread that the store was closing, other retailers in the area began calling to offer jobs to Aronson’s staff.

“Most were able to get jobs very quickly and were employed as soon as they wanted to start working,” he said. “They all ended up doing well.”

Aronson said he plans to travel to see his grandchildren and to devote time to volunteering in the community. One of his interests is serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care who have suffered abuse and neglect. He’s already begun training.

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