Our Fiberglass Pool Dealer Spotlight; Signature Pools in Chicago

Thursday Pools Wellspring freeform fiberglass pool
Thursday Pools’ Wellspring design, installed by Signature Pools

Every month, we chat with a Thursday Pools dealer to learn more about their business and what’s trending in their area. This month, we talked to Todd Emmerson, regional sales manager and lead designer at Signature Pools in Sandwich, Illinois. One-and-a-half hours from downtown Chicago, they install pools throughout the Chicagoland area.


Tell us a little about Signature Pools:

Signature Pools has been in the fiberglass pool business in the Chicago area since 2003, but we all have a long history in the pool business. We have a full-time staff  of about ten people. Tom McNelis is our president. Both he and I are very hands-on. We’re all obviously working pretty hard at this time of year, but we all of us also really value spending time with our families.

What do you love about being in the pool business?

I love seeing a dream become a reality. People come to us with an idea, but they’re not 100% sure what they want. I get really excited about taking their idea and turning it into a design and then seeing that design come to life. I never get tired of seeing the joy that a new fiberglass pool brings to a family.

What trends are you seeing in terms of pool buyers’ demographics?

That’s an interesting question. As far as fiberglass pool buyers in the Chicago area are concerned, I’d say three things:

  1. The coolest thing I’m seeing lately is grandparents buying pools so that their grandkids have something fun to do when they come to visit. Pools are a great way for families to spend time together.
  2. Also, I think because people are feeling good about the economy, more people are willing to finance their pool projects. A lot of people are deciding that they’re going to stay in their homes for a while, so they’re investing in making their homes as comfortable as they can.
  3. And lastly, customer knowledge. I’m finding that people now really understand the advantages of fiberglass. They’re actively seeking out fiberglass. After eighteen years in the business, I don’t spend as much time telling people why I think fiberglass pools are the best anymore. They just know they want them.

What are the most popular features in the fiberglass pools you’re installing right now?

Tanning ledges, without a doubt. More than half of our installations last year had one. Built-in tanning ledges are one of the best innovations we’ve seen in the fiberglass pool industry.

Thursday Pools' Aspen design installed by Signature Pools
Thursday Pools’ Aspen design installed by Signature Pools


Also bubblers, because they add such a nice ambiance to the pool. That’s why the Aspen design is such a home run for Thursday Pools. It allows us to combine the features that customers want most. The Aspen continues to be one of our top sellers.

What trends have you seen emerge lately in the inground fiberglass pool industry?

Well, obviously the Thursday Pools Beach Entry design (Patent US 10,358,837 and 10,472,839) is pretty interesting. As always, Ed (Vondell) and Bill (Khamis) are super creative. I haven’t seen the final designs yet, but I’m really excited to.

What fiberglass pool colors and shapes are the most popular in the Chicago area?

Deep blues and grays are definitely the most popular, and gray is my personal favorite. It really brings a touch of elegance to the pool. Maya is our biggest seller, and we installed our first Graphite Gray earlier this season.

As far as shapes go, rectangles, like the Aspen, Goliath and Lil Bob are always our most popular pools, mostly because of their compatibility with auto-covers.

Thursday Pools’ Lil Bob design with Diamond finish installed by Signature Pools

What particular challenges do you face with fiberglass pool installations in the Chicago area?

Well, we’re blessed with good soil here in Illinois, so we don’t face a lot of challenges there. I would say the biggest trick for us is navigating the regulations from one city to the next. Because we cover the entire Chicagoland area, we deal with permitting issues from a lot of different municipalities. Planning the pools takes a lot more time than actually installing them!

What’s the cost of an average pool installation for you?

One of the biggest challenges for a pool builder is figuring out who they are and what market they best serve. Our niche is the mid-to-upper level of fiberglass pool buyers in the Chicago area. Our installations, including fencing and hardscaping, typically range between $80,000 to $150,000 per year, although we’ve done some jobs that were much smaller and much larger than that.

What are your thoughts on Thursday Pools?

Thursday Pools is a great company. The owners, Ed and Bill, are truly good guys. They’re all about doing the right thing for the right reason, and that shows in up in their innovation and their quality. These guys are so creative, and they’re taking the fiberglass pool industry to a whole new level. I believe that they manufacture some of the highest quality fiberglass pools in the world.

Also, they know how to hire good people, and their dealer support is great. I’ve been sincerely impressed with every Thursday Pools employee I’ve ever worked with. They’re all committed to building a great product and want to contribute to the company’s success.

What’s the secret to Signature Pools’ success?

Well, we’re a small company, but we’ve also built a long-term staff with great experience in all aspects of the fiberglass pool industry. We’re all experts at what we do so we’ve really streamlined our processes, from design and permitting to installation and service. Pool building is a career for our installers–they’re not contracted labor. They really know what they’re doing and they love doing it. Like Thursday Pools, we’re really committed to quality, and I know that people really appreciate that about us.

About Signature Pools

Signature Pools designs and builds award-winning pools throughout the greater Chicago area and offer the largest selection of fiberglass pools in the Midwest. Their pool designs have been given the Master of Design award in four consecutive years from Pool and Spa magazine.


You are by this NOTICE advised that pools manufactured by Thursday Pools are sold by independent dealers and dealerships. Each dealer is an independent business entity, that is completely separate from the manufacturer, Thursday Pools. Each dealer is an independent contractor, and no dealer is an owner, agent (in fact or law), or employee of Thursday Pools, the manufacturer. Thursday Pools, the manufacturer, hereby disclaims any liability for an intentional or negligent act by any dealer, dealership, or installer, or any damage to any Thursday Pools pool caused by an act of any dealer, dealership, or installer.