Family Businesses Are Backbone Of UK Pool And Spa Trade

No-one can doubt the way the water leisure industry is changing with more corporate enterprises and more global players. But the backbone of the UK trade business remains husband and wife teams and family businesses that continue to be handed down through the generations. It was back in the famously scorching summer of 1977 that David Adams, the founder of Golden Coast, decided to build a pool for his sons. He quickly realised there was a gap in the market for a pool builder, as locals started showing interest in having pools of their own. And so the family business was born. Today the company is run by David’s three sons, who share his passion for the industry, take the same pride in maintaining high standards and apply the best in family values to their treatment of every customer.

Mark Ramsden and son Tom enjoy a bit of arm wrestling in the office – but it is all a bit of fun.

FAMILY VALUES

David retired as Managing Director in 2006, along with his wife Angie, although he continues to be involved as the company’s Chairman. Jamie Adams was appointed as MD, with his brothers Shaun and Dominic as Directors. Jamie has particular responsibility for the company’s PR and marketing. Shaun’s specialisms include the Tylö sauna business, pool cover systems and new product development, while Dominic handles spa and hot tub sales, Essentials accessories and general pool equipment.

While there is certainly a family feel to the organisation, there are 29 employees, you don’t actually have to be a member of the family to join! Asked about the plus points of working as a family, all three agreed they share common goals, enjoy a great degree of trust and openness, understand each other’s abilities and motivations, and instinctively tend to think in the same way.

Founded by David Adams in 1977, now Golden Coast is run by his three sons, Jamie, left, Dominic and Shaun, right – and a workforce of 29 employees.

And the downsides? The brothers generally agree with Jamie when he says: “Since joining the family business over 15 years ago I can honestly say I have yet to find one. It’s much better going to work for yourself rather than some faceless PLC.” Dominic concludes: “Traditionally, a lot of businesses were family owned and run. Over the generations this seemed to become the exception rather than the norm, almost as if it became unfashionable, but I do wonder if in the last 20-30 years it’s started to be more acceptable again. “There are many advantages to working as a family, not least of which is the fact that many of our customers actually like dealing with a family-run business.” Complete Pool Controls was founded six years ago and is supplying pool and hot tub chemicals plus related dosing equipment. With a 30-strong workforce, CPC customers include leading pool retailers and wholesalers together with some commercial national contracts.

Founder, Andy Page’s wife Alyson is the firm’s credit controller and cofounder Mark Ramsden’s son Tom is sales development manager. “The plus sides of working with family are synchronising thoughts and solutions and learning together – also it’s nice to share your knowledge and learnings with other people and especially family,” says Mark. Tom agrees: “The main plus point is that you can always ask for that little bit of extra knowledge and support. And of course, you really do get to understand the industry and its history in full detail because it’s hard not to talk about it away from the office. “It has its positive and negative points but I sometimes do take for granted the fact that I am learning from such a knowledgeable, experienced and well respected guy in the industry,” adds Tom.

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