Having spent all of his previous working life with NorCal, the high profile swimming pool equipment distributor that went on to become SCP UK, Craig Trusson crossed the great divide into retail and swimming pool construction in the Nineties, working alongside former customer and friend, Peter Burkett at Home Counties Pools and Hot Tubs in Horsham, West Sussex.
As part of a pre-agreed strategy, Craig and his wife Gill, steadily increased their involvement in the business, taking over ownership of the company and joining the National Leisure group shortly afterwards. National Leisure is a group of independent swimming pool and spa builders and retailers who set themselves the highest business standards both in product supply as well as service delivery.
Members of National Leisure do not compete against each other – even if they happen to be in the same geographical area. Instead, they cooperate to share knowledge and skills in a spirit of continuous improvement. The National Leisure co-operative operates an on-line forum to assist with communication between its 20 member companies and organises social and educational events which often involve supplier visits to key manufacturing facilities.
“Although National Leisure offer additional exclusive products, extra buying power and extended credit facilities, it was actually the informal business networking that attracted us to the National Leisure group,” Craig explained.
“Making the switch from supplier to retailer, I was eager to learn as much as I could about the front line of pool building, as quickly as possible.
“What National Leisure offered was the opportunity to tap into a huge resource of knowledge of like-minded but not competitive dealers,” Craig adds.
National Leisure chair, Nigel Gray, of Grayfox Pools says: “We are proud to have companies like Home Counties involved in the National Leisure organisation.
“Pooling resources, the National Leisure name has grown to become an influential buying group, able to negotiate advantageous deals with specialist suppliers on behalf of its member companies,” adds Nigel.
“But joining the group does not mean that businesses relinquish their independence or existing buying capacity.”
Considered one of the UK’s top pool and spa businesses, Home Counties supplies Beachcomber hot tubs and Endless Pools alongside a vast range of swimming pools, saunas and log cabins all part of a one-stop shop for wellness and outdoor living lifestyle.
“No business can work in isolation,” Craig emphasies. “Our friends and fellow pool and spa business associates, within the National Leisure community, offered a wealth of support, particularly in the early days,” he concludes.
For more information on the National Leisure group log on to www.national-leisure.co.uk