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May 22, 2012 12:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Kazdin Pools Celebrates 40 Years Of Serving The East End

May 22, 2012 7:17 PM

It all started with a $70 investment and a 1968 Mustang coupe.

Having worked for Enchanted Pools since he was in high school, George Kazdin decided to take his knowledge of the pool industry and run with it. In 1972, with just $70 worth of pool maintenance equipment in the trunk of his Mustang, he began working with customers he met through the now defunct Enchanted Pools.

“It was a very inconsiderate thing to do, knocking on the doors of customers with pools I had been servicing,” Mr. Kazdin said about starting up Kazdin Pools. “I ended up with 10 clients by mid-August that first year.”

Not sorry for his ambitious move, Mr. Kazdin is celebrating 40 years in business this year—a feat he attributes to his company’s ability to adapt, and his personal hard work and humility.

With his wife, Patricia, working at his side in the mid-1970s, the now 64-year-old saw his business flourish just as the Hamptons began to take off as a seasonal hot spot.

“Back then, life was easy and work was simple,” he said. “It was the right time to be in the business, and the company was slowly built by word of mouth.”

In 1979, the couple was able to buy their own house and ran the business from there for almost two years. As business grew, the Kazdins eventually relocated to their current headquarters on County Road 39.

With years of experience under his belt, Mr. Kazdin said he’s adapted to changes in the industry and recently faced many challenges in light of the tough economy—particularly a downturn in pool installations.

“We went from 30 or 35 projects a season to three or four projects,” he said. “We had to completely reinvent the company. Everything that didn’t contribute to our income left the company.”

Mr. Kazdin said that despite a tough economy, Kazdin Pools is not a price-conscious company and that he shops for the most reliable vendors and is not embarrassed to charge a fair price for his pools.

He also alluded to the ever-changing environmental regulations that he must now accommodate. He said it has been challenging to adapt to what is now required.

“There are no easy sites anymore,” he said. “There are zoning issues, percentage of clearance issues … the easy land has been used up.”

Although the business is more complicated than when he started out four decades ago, Mr. Kazdin said he still shows up to construction and renovation sites to manage and oversee each one—even though he realized in 2008 when he suffered a back injury that prevented him from working the field that he had a top-notch work force.

Ms. Kazdin, who manages the retail sales division, and the couple’s daughter, Julie Kazdin Boucher, who works in the service and inventory department, pulled together with Mr. Kazdin’s vice president and co-owner, Glenn Cook, to hold the fort down while Mr. Kazdin was on leave for two months.

“The company ran fine,” he said. “I realized they’re very capable. It was an opportunity for everyone to try on a different pair of shoes, and the staff rose to the occasion.”

One of the most important lessons Mr. Kazdin said he has learned over the years is to remain humble.

“Customers, clients and staff remind me every day that humility is a good thing—don’t get too full of yourself,” he said. “As your company grows, you become dependent on everybody.”

Even dependent on his daughter, Mr. Kazdin hopes to one day leave the company partly in her hands.

“The business has felt like it was one of the other kids in the family,” she said laughing. “Now it kind of feels like it’s my child.”

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Congratulations to the Kazdins!
By bb (862), Hampton Bays on May 22, 12 3:04 PM
Congratulations, George!
By Robert I Ross (245), Hampton Bays on May 22, 12 3:10 PM
You came a long way from lifeguarding at Ponquogue Beach in the mid-60's while I was selling hot dogs in the parking lot after Coach Lopez' beach hut was burned to the ground. We have been friends for a long time and it is nice to see your hard work rewarded even if Pat was really the brains behind the entire operation. Just kidding, GPK, it's 5 o'clock somewhere and here's to another 40 years for Kazdin Pools!
By Doug Penny (63), Lexington, Virginia on May 22, 12 5:13 PM
Thnak you everyone for your kind comments. We all appreciate it!
By george kazdin (3), hampton bays on May 23, 12 7:11 AM