Capo offers a full line of spa chemicals, private label options
By Kristan Hart
In this age where companies hire overseas agents to answer customer service calls, the family feel of Capo Industries is refreshing. Four generations ago, in 1893, Mark Ridpath’s grandfather’s uncle founded the company. The business was handed off to Mark’s grandfather, and then to his father and his uncle. Mark now runs the business along with his cousin and several other family members.
How has Capo Industries stayed successful in a highly competitive pool and spa chemicals market? Ridpath says it’s all in the family. “A lot of our business comes from individual dealers,” Ridpath says. “They may have one store — or two or three — but it’s still a small business. We appeal to those customers because a lot of times they are a family business, and we are as well. We have a lot of loyal customers just from the family business connection that we have in common with them. That gives them peace of mind that the quality is there.”
Capo Industries is a chemical manufacturer and packager, with a majority of its business in the pool and spa industry. If there’s a water treatment product a dealer needs to pass on to its customers, Capo makes it. It has multiple lines but also does private-label products for customers. Private labels are a good option for dealers who sell a high volume of product and have room to carry inventory. “We have a team here who can work with the customer on designing a label,” Ridpath says. “We would work with them to incorporate their logo and color schemes.” It takes six to eight weeks to get a private-label program going from the first conversation to product on the shelf, he adds.
High-volume orders are a requirement to create your own private label products through Capo, but its niche is smaller orders from individual dealers. Most manufacturers aren’t willing to work directly with dealers who buy its products; instead, it sells its chemicals through wholesalers, distributors and third-party representatives. At Capo, dealers deal directly with the manufacturer. “If they ever have an issue, they can call us and they’re speaking with people who are dealing with this product from the raw materials until it’s shipped out the door,” Ridpath says.
When a dealer places an order or asks about the latest products, they trust Capo’s employees. “Because it’s a family business, a lot of people have been dealing with the same people for many, many years,” Ridpath says. Capo’s turnover rate among family members is very low; however, it also rarely has turnover among nonfamily. Ridpath says they have employees who have been with Capo for 25 to 30 years. He says dealers appreciate that because they hear the same voices each time they call.
“For people who’ve been dealing with my father and my uncle for years, it’s been an easy transition as the relationships have been passed on to myself and my cousin,” Ridpath says. When Capo receives a call from one of its customers, the dealer doesn’t have to follow a specialized protocol to speak to the people in charge. “That loyalty, that comfort level and that direct relationship with the principles of the company appeals to people,” Ridpath says. “They know they can talk to us, and there’s no red tape or hoops to jump through.”