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Pound Ridge Entrepreneur Finds Success In Pool Biz

When Pound Ridge resident Brian Kahn graduated from Ithaca College in 2008 with a degree in organizational communication/learning and design, he didn’t envision a career in the swimming pool industry. But that’s exactly what happened.

“I just kind of fell into it,” said the 25-year-old entrepreneur. “It started as a summer job. One of my buddies asked me if I would be a helper for the summer and it went from there.”

Kahn said he has the type of personality that would never be comfortable working behind a desk all day.

“I need constant stimulation,” he said. “I need to have a million things going on at once.”

With his pool business – Affordable Pools – that’s exactly what he has. He began the business in 2007 between his junior and senior year in college with a partner. While that partnership has since been dissolved, Kahn has carried on and now has three employees. The business has expanded beyond pool service and maintenance, and revenues have quadrupled since he started the company.

Affordable Pools now does renovations along with some new pool construction, including laying in new plumbing line, tile and coping, patio and rock wall construction, and equipment pad (filters, pumps, and heaters) installation.

“We also specialize in stained glass mosaics,” Kahn said. “We just did a ‘Jerry Bear’ (a Grateful Dead iconic symbol) for a customer and put it at the bottom of his pool.”

Beside plaster pools, Affordable Pools also services vinyl liner and fiberglass pools as well. Spring pool openings and fall closings are also part of his service offerings.

The spring is particularly hectic for Kahn, providing him with the “million things going on at once” that he craves. He often finds himself working seven days a week until summer settles in.

“Spring it tough,” he said. “It doesn’t calm down until everyone’s issues are solved. And with pool openings, it’s never a straight opening. Something always needs to be replaced or fixed.”

Unlike pool company owners in California and Florida, which operate year-round, Kahn needs to find something to do during the winter months.

“I manage promotional tours for Fortune 500 companies,” he said. “I work for a marketing company called Trash Talk FCM. I take promotional vehicles and drive them all around the country and put on events.”

Kahn has driven around a giant shopping cart on a flatbed truck to help promote Bounty paper towels, and recently drove a mobile kitchen that was used to advertise Heinz’s new dip and squeeze ketchup packages.

“I drive about 100,000 miles a year,” he said. “I’ve gone from New York to San Antonio two or three times, and made trips from Wisconsin to Florida.”

Kahn said his winter job ties in well with his communication degree and also provides synergy with his pool business.

“I am constantly meeting new people,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of great contacts in the advertising industry and people who own pools in [northern Westchester] area.”

Kahn is also a member of the Pound Ridge Business Association and is property manager for Barnwell property in Scotts Corner. It seems he’s reached his goal of having a million things going on at once.

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