Rita Rowlen said that when her father, Cecil Schniepp, returned to Ness County after World War II, his brothers were already at work on the family farm, so he decided to go to work in the excavation business.
Then a friend suggested that perhaps Schniepp could build him a pool.
“And my dad goes, ‘Well, I think I probably could,’ ” Rowlen said. “Well, then he just kept building pools.”
Schniepp started Ultra Modern Pools in 1954 and moved the business to Wichita in 1957 to have a better base for building more pools. The company has two Wichita stores and one in Derby and today is known as Ultra Modern Pool & Patio.
Each of Schniepp’s seven children worked at the business, which their house sat behind on West Kellogg. Eventually, Rowlen and her sister Linda Wallace purchased shares from the rest of the family, and now they’re the sole owners of the stores.
Ultra Modern services pools and sells above-ground and semi-in-ground pools, hot tubs, saunas, patio furniture, pool tables and everything related to keeping a pool.
Rowlen says a lot has changed since her father started the business.
“You were rich if you owned a pool” back then, she says. “My, how things have changed, huh?”