Celebrating 20 years in business, the Swan Pool and Spa Centre’s business philosophy is to operate a Kaizen approach to everything they do. Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.” “It means that every day there is an opportunity to improve something, often in the smallest way, to either improve efficiency, shave a cost, or improve a sale,” explains Nigel Arnold, Swan Pool and Spa’s Managing Director. “Over time this grows significantly. One of my quotes is that there are very few £1m ideas worth pursuing, but there are millions of £1 ideas so always worth doing.” Having experienced 25 years in retail management with WHSmith and area management with Argos, and having brought up a young family with splasher and family pools, Nigel took over the local swimming pool shop in West End, Southampton as the previous owners retired. “Everything fell into place for us to take over as a family business in 2000, I can’t believe that’s now 20 years ago,” says Nigel whose first task was to immediately change the name of the swimming pool business to The Swan Pool & Spa Centre.
“EVERYTHING FELL INTO PLACE FOR US TO TAKE OVER AS A FAMILY BUSINESS IN 2000”
– Nigel Arnold
“At that time, portable hot tubs were just becoming popular, and although many of the pool companies has evolved from the building side of things, our different approach, from a retail angle seemed to be almost radical and new to the trade at the time,” says Nigel. “Over time the retail shop has expanded, we have added more buildings, more display space, more options, more services, more suppliers and many, many more domestic and local customers, who often pass on recommendations to their friends.” Offering a range of spas and swim spas under the American Whirlpool and Superior banners, the Swan team offer regular valet and service contracts for both pools and hot tubs. With the backing of wife, Valerie and son Alex, the Swan team has expanded through ‘Investors In People’ training, communication and motivation for the day to day activities. A member of the National Leisure buying group since 2010, Swan customers are encouraged to view our website for ideas, ballpark budgets, and usually come back with more questions they hadn’t even thought of before! “That gives us a better idea of what they are looking for, and most customers receive personalised rather than blanket replies, which we have found moves projects forward more efficiently,” says Nigel.
“AS A SMALL BUSINESS WE HAVE THE FLEXIBILITY, AND SPEED-OF-CHANGE ABILITY”
– Nigel Arnold
As a side item to promote more sales in store, Swan has enjoyed significant success displaying a wide range of spa fragrances to add yet another sensory experience for spa customers, going on to add a few shelves of Yankee Candles to connect the scent experience inside the house. “A few shelves became a few metres, and eventually now its own room, and we now proudly claim Hampshire’s largest display of Yankee Candles, accepting their Star Store Status Award in 2017,” Nigel reveals. The company has recently launched a new webshop, www.thecandlescentre.co.uk as well as a pool and spas supplies on-line shop launched through the popular Aquawarehouse platform. “This has come into its own over the lockdown period,” says Nigel. “As a small business, we have the flexibility, and speed of change ability, so that over time we can profit from adapting our business to the needs of our customers. If there is one piece of advice to pass on to developing businesses, it is the power of having the right people. In retail, people buy from people. “Our strap line has always been ‘Helping You Enjoy a Stress – Free Lifestyle’, however with the strong likelihood of many more customers spending much more time at home instead of on holidays abroad, for this year, we now include ‘Staycation Safe!’.
Swan Pool & Spa Centre
Tel. 023 8046 6077