Oct. 18 2010 12:00 AM

B. George Beausoleil is a salesman, first and foremost, but the road to this success came more from his business acumen and his foresight. Rob Beausoleil, on the other hand was the recipient of his father's (B. George) hard work. As the story goes, it all worked out well and the end is not yet in sight.

Back in Glen Rock, New Jersey, in the mid 1960s, B. George worked as a salesman for a company that manufactured plastic bags (I guess it was something new in those years). It was not long after he started with the firm when a major corporation decided to go into the plastic bag business. With that company’s buying power and production capabilities, they were able to come to market and undercut the company that B. George worked for by almost half. The hand writing was on the wall, and it wasn’t long before B. George was let go.

At the time, Beausoleil had a wife and six children to feed and support, so he was really searching for anything that would bring in a few bucks to keep a roof over his family’s head. One day he read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a new trend of making plastic (poly and PVC) pipes for use in irrigation systems. It piqued his interest.

Beausoleil Senior thought this had some pretty good potential, but would it be enough for him to earn a living? He didn’t think so and he began looking for other products that would complement the pipe and, in this way, build a business.

He moved his family to Ridgewood, New Jersey, and settled in.

With the pipe and some other products, he started a company and called it Aquarius Home Products. He offered a service to homeowners where he would sell and install irrigation systems, garage door openers, built-in vacuum systems, water softeners, alarm systems, and built-in gas grills. Whatever a homeowner wanted or needed, they would purchase and he was available to install it.

Rob Beausoleil was getting ready to go to pre-school at that time. He certainly wasn’t thinking about his father being able to support the family. Because Beausoleil Senior didn’t have any spare money to open a store, he began operating from the basement of his home. His wife, Theresa, not only took care of the kids, she also worked unloading trucks and taking care of customers.

Slowly but surely, the business began to grow and along the way, Senior picked up a lot of knowledge, not only about running a business but learning about irrigation as well. Sales of irrigation products in those days were limited to a handful of distributors. They carried the major brand names, so lesser known brands looked to contractors who bought their products, and set them up as distributors.

It didn’t take Beausoleil Senior long to figure out that either he was a distributor of products or a contractor installing them. He felt that he was in direct conflict with the contractor he sold the products to, so before long he stopped doing installations and became a distributor.

By the early 1970s he had opened his first store in Midland Park, New Jersey. He carried all the lines that contractors would use in home installations, i.e., irrigation components, garage door openers, alarm systems, etc. With a lot of energy and effort, his business grew.

By the early ’80s, he was concentrating on the irrigation portion of his business and eventually began to drop the other product lines. The only one he kept was the garage door opener business, which he eventually gave to a friend.

Beausoleil Senior opened his second store in Dover, New Jersey, in the mid-’80s, and I guess you could say, ‘He was off and running.’ No longer concerned about how he was going to feed his kids and keep a roof over their heads, Senior began to explore growth opportunities in wholesale irrigation distribution.

By this time, his three older children were out of the house and on their own; however, the three younger ones were still at home. When they were old enough, they worked in the store during summer break. Eventually, the younger kids left the business, with the exception of Rob.

After graduating from Syracuse University in 1990, Rob Beausoleil immediately began to work in one of the stores. In fact, he recalls graduating on June 6th and starting work on June 8th. Rob learned the skills, not only of running a business, but a multiple-store business as well. He opened the third store in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Rob polished his skills and, following in his father’s footsteps, went on an expansion program. By 1994, there were four locations; in 2000, there were seven. Today, Aquarius Irrigation Supply has 13 locations from northern New Jersey to eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and northern Virginia.

By 2005, B. George Senior was semi-retired. Rob became president and sole owner of the company. Now at 84 years of age, Senior is fully retired; however, Rob says his dad still comes to the store and he still has his own office. He still loves the business, always wanting to know “What’s going on, what’s new,” and loves to talk with customers.

Rob sees the future with the same entrepreneurial spirit as that of his father. Constantly on the lookout for new trends, the Aquarius stores have been selling landscape lighting for many years. They were also one of the first distributors of pond equipment. As harvesting rainwater became more important, Aquarius expanded to supply those components to its customers as well.

Rob Beausoleil and his wife Christine have three boys, Connors is 11, Mason is 10, and Sean is 7. They reside in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. The entire family is very involved in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts. They love to ski and go boating, and in their spare time they like to visit the place where Rob’s parents came from, Tupper Lake, New York in the Adirondack Mountains.

The future looks green for Aquarius—green walls, living walls, green roofs and everything else that is eco-friendly.