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    Pool stains beware

    By CHRISTINA K. COSDON

    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 12, 2001


    SEMINOLE -- When pool workers walked into his parents' swimming pool supply business in Largo in the 1980s and complained they couldn't find products to fight stains and discoloration in pools, Jack Beane began experimenting with chemicals.

    "I'd mix up something and say, "Try this,' the next time they came in," Beane recalled.

    He dubbed the successful mixtures "Stain Solution #1" and "Stain Solution #2" and kept a record of the ingredients.

    "There are only two types of pools: those that are stained and those that are going to stain," he said. "And it doesn't matter whether it's fiberglass, vinyl, plaster or Marcite."

    Further experiments resulted in more products: "the Pink Stuff," "the Blue Stuff" and "the Purple Stuff," along with similarly titled concoctions. He was so successful he opened his own pool supply business in 1988.

    "People would ask me for some more of that magic stuff, so I named the company Jack's Magic," Beane said.

    Today, a dozen years later, the 48-year-old Belleair resident is president of a multinational business that specializes in pool stain removal, prevention and maintenance. Its headquarters is in Largo, and it recently opened a warehouse in Seminole

    The company, which last year took in more than $2-million, also makes special water effects products for the major theme parks in Orlando, Buena Vista and Anaheim, Calif., as well as providing the products that prevent fountains and water-related features from scaling around the edges.

    "The first year I was the maker and the packager," Beane said. "I went out and sold the stuff and came back and made it. I sold maybe 5,000 units (bottles) the first year. Now we sell several hundred thousand units a year and we've greatly expanded our product line."

    Beane said he shared an office at his parents' Al and Janie Beane's business, Crystalene Products pool supplies in Largo, during the company's growing years. Crystalene was established in 1985 and is owned and operated by his parents at 4100 East Bay Drive. At the same address is Janie Beane's Florist, in business since 1970.

    Jack's Magic moved five years ago to its corporate office at 4625 East Bay Drive. The company stores product containers at a 20,000-square-foot building near Largo where the raw materials are assembled, mixed and packaged.

    Last month, Beane moved his warehouse into a 10,000-square-foot space in the Interlaken Commerce Centre on Belcher Road in Seminole.

    "It just made sense to open our own warehouse," he said. The location has the potential to expand another 10,000 square feet, he said.

    Beane employs some 15 people, including sales reps in Macon, Ga.; Naples, Fla.; West Palm Beach and Tampa. "The product goes worldwide, but our focus is primarily the United States," he said.

    The products are sold through distributors to retailers and wholesalers. Some local customers include South Pinellas Pool Supplies Store in St. Petersburg, Peninsula Cement Finishing in Seminole and Pinch-A-Penny pool stores, which uses the stain remover under their own private label, Beane said.

    "We've been using the products for four or five years," said Matt Lesperance, manager of South Pinellas Pool Supplies Store. He said the store carries a full line of the stain removal, stain prevention and maintenance products. "We sell more of the Jack's Magic than other (comparable) products," he said.

    Beane's knowledge in the field has enabled him to act as an expert witness in court cases. He also teaches continuing education classes for licensed contractors and pool service personnel, and gives seminars, mostly at national trade shows.

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