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Leslies makes splash into Ceres market
Store first to occupy building
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Leslies Pool Supplies opened last month at 1771 Mitchell Road in a building originally intended to become a bank. The building has been vacant for years and Leslies is its first occupant.

Ceres residents no longer must leave Ceres to buy from a full gamut of supplies for the backyard swimming pool. Leslie's Swimming Pool Supplies has opened a new spacious store at 1771 Mitchell Road (near In Shape City Health Club), eliminating the need to drive to the next closest stores in Turlock and Modesto.

"We needed one here," said store manager Stacy Ruelas. "That's what customers say. Everybody who comes in is like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is amazing ... I'm so glad you guys are here and it's so convenient and we don't have to drive all the way to Modesto or all the way to Turlock.' They're like, ‘It's a perfect location on a busy street.' Score, I guess. We're excited to be here just as much as they are."

Before opening a store in any given town - there are over 850 stores in the country - the company will take an inventory of backyard pools from a flyover. Ruelas said above ground pools are more plentiful than built-in pools in Ceres, "that's why they made us more of an above-ground store."

In some respects, the Ceres store is better than the neighboring Leslie's, she said. There is a spa on display as well as an above ground pool model display that aid in ordering pools.

"This is like one of the biggest stores around this area," reported Ruelas.

The Ceres store, which had a soft opening on Feb. 12, will be staging an April 9-12 grand opening with 20 percent every product sold in the store.

The store features pool filters and pumps, pool toys like basketball hoops and floatable devices, pool chemicals and supplies and various sizes of chlorine tablets to keep water algae free. What the store doesn't stock may be ordered from a catalogue of 25,000 items, deliverable in about a week or less.

While many have companies which service their in-ground pools, a number of people find out that Leslie's will do a nine-point water test for free and offer advice on what and how much chemicals to correct problems.

"Once everybody starts finding out that, then they're like ‘Wait, this is a lot easier than I expected' so then they end up cutting their service or keeping their service and seeing what we have."

Leslie's is the first tenant in a large stand-alone building - made with a drive-thru lane and window - intended to be a bank. But don't look for any drive-thru opportunities for chlorine tablets.

The new store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays (until 7 p.m. after March 9) through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. It may be reached at 541-1443.