Jacuzzi Name Remains an Icon For Family Business, Home Spa

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Feb. 11, 2008 12:00 am  

Remo Jacuzzi, right, and sons, Remo V., left, and Paulo are turning out hot tubs at Jason International.

Remo Jacuzzi covers much of the family and corporate history in a book he wrote, "Spirit, Wind & Water."

"I always remember the adage, 'The first generation of a family starts a business; the second expands it, and the third sells or destroys it,'" he wrote. "In the case of our family, both the founding and the second generations allowed the occurrences that led to the sale of our company."

The 175,000-SF Jacuzzi plant in Little Rock, still in operation today, was sold on Oct. 2, 2004, for $9.3 million to Franklin Electric Co. of Bluffton, Ind. In the aftermath, the Jacuzzi line of pumps, a foundational product for the original family business, was redesignated as the J-Class.

North American Marine Jet Inc. of Benton purchased the entire product line of Jacuzzi jet drive propulsion systems from Jacuzzi Brothers in 1985.

This product was manufactured at the company's 92,000-SF Lonoke facility. The plant is now home to MKT Fastening, which produces fastening systems that incorporate bolts, nuts, rivets, washers and more as well as related products.

Bill Bowen, president of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce in 1962, remembers the recruitment effort that brought Jacuzzi to Arkansas more than 40 years ago.

Key components of the deal, which resulted in more than 500 new jobs, were the offer of free land and a tax-free bond issue to finance construction.

"They became a very significant corporate player in Arkansas at that time," said Bowen, who later served eight years as a corporate attorney for Jacuzzi.

The family's legacy continues on with Remo Jacuzzi's Jason International and portions of the former Jacuzzi empire operating under outside ownership.




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