Receiving a congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister Teresa May was the icing on the cake for the Pool Plus team, who celebrated their 35th business anniversary at the end of last year. The milestone was also recognised by many past clients and high profile acquaintances such as the Prince of Wales, Richard Branson and Debbie McGee, who sent letters of congratulations to the family-run company.
From humble beginnings, Pools Plus has become a well established and trusted part of the local community in Hare Hatch in Berkshire. The company was founded by husband and wife team Tony and Christine Canueto in 1981, who were offered a plot within the Wyevale Garden Centre site (formerly Kennedy’s Garden Centre) from which to develop their landscaping business.
The couple’s daughter Francesca, who now oversees the sales and accounts, takes up the story: “Dad had hands on experience building swimming pools so the decision was made to expand the business by opening a retail outlet selling pool chemicals, accessories and equipment together with offering a pool installation and refurbishment service. “Mum stocked the shop without spending a penny by securing a sale or return deal with a leading industry supplier and she still remembers her first ever customer; Mr Adams who purchased a floating chemical dispenser for £8!” WORD OF MOUTH The workforce grew as the database grew and customers became familiar friends shopping at Pools Plus year in year out, with the bulk of the business being drummed up by simple word of mouth locally.
Today Pools Plus is truly a family affair, with aunties, cousins and partners all working together to ensure the smooth running of the business, supported by additional team members who are seen as extended members of the family circle. “One of the most endearing things I hear people say when they visit us for the first time is how they remember driving past with their parents when they were children seeing the pools, gardens and water features and thinking they might shop here one day,” reveals Francesca. To celebrate its 35th anniversary, the Pools Plus team enjoyed an evening out together away from the office at a local restaurant and cocktail bar. “The key to success is to never become complacent – no matter how good the going gets. Work smarter not harder. Nurture your regular customers instead of trying to grab all that’s out there losing your integrity as a business in the process,” advises Francesca.