Big pool manufacturer coming to Picayune, adding to area job growth

Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 5:10 PM CST
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PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - Blaine LaFontaine is seeing his yearlong vision come to pass right before his eyes.

“Leisure Pools, with this investment, aligns with our long-term vision and goal to bring these certain employers that carry 50 to 150 jobs,” said LaFontaine, the Pearl River County economic director. “And we’re happy to say that the result of that work, that effort, that they selected Picayune Industrial Park to be their regional distribution and manufacturing center.”

Leisure Pools is one of the world’s largest composite fiberglass swimming pool, spa and tanning ledge manufacturers.

Last month, it purchased an 83,000-square-foot center in the Picayune Industrial Park that has been vacant for about 10 years.

The project is a $3.25 million corporate investment and will create 100 jobs with an average salary of about $43,000.

The company will begin improvements to the building this month, set up the distribution center and hopefully begin manufacturing by the end of the year.

Job applications are being taken now, but hiring has not yet begun.

“For us to try to bring high-wage, good-paying jobs to this community is transformational for some families,” LaFontaine added.

Terry Farr, executive director of the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce, said good industrial development means good commercial development.

“If we have new jobs, more income, then we’re going to have more people to shop here locally,” he said. “And that’s what we’re all about, is shopping locally.”

The Leisure Pools development is exactly the kind of industry that Pearl River County officials are looking for. In fact, after this development opens, there will be only one industrial-based building in the park that’s not occupied.

That’s why Pearl River Board of Supervisors president Sandy Kane Smith has more infrastructure in mind.

“Businesses are looking at us all the time,” Smith said. “We just need somewhere to put them. So, we’re trying to put in for some BP funding to acquire some land somewhere north of Picayune.”

LaFontaine is laser-focused on mid-sized, high-impact industries, but everything is on the table.

“We’re going to chase everything from the small fish to the big fish,” he said. “I don’t think we’re afraid of growth as long as we are prepared and we’re capable of managing it.”

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