Rippling Through a Mirror Brightly
Serving Families Is a Reflection of Prestige Pools’ Origins
“Form Follows Function” is a basic architectural notion erected by the father of skyscrapers, Louis Sullivan; and, although he intended that notion to apply to buildings, it can apply to the opposite of buildings, as well. For proof, you need look no further than the Saint Paul-based company, Prestige Pools.
“We think of a pool’s function as dual-purpose,” asserts Jeff Schmit, manager of Prestige Pools. “An extension of the home as an entertainment area and a convenient way to keep a family close to home with a reason to be there.”
In fact, pools can even become a kind of parenting tool. Schmit says, “Most families prefer that their kids are around the home as opposed to being off somewhere else, and the pool gives them a reason to be around and have their friends over.” That way, the friends’ parents can the ones who worry.
The emphasis on family is no coincidence—Prestige Pools owes its very existence to the concept of family. Pat Henry, the company’s owner, spent ten years in the pool construction industry working for someone else. In 1981, Pat and his wife, Pam, went into business for themselves. The two start-ups—the family and the family business—ran on parallel trajectories: as the family expanded, so did the family business, and now three of the couples’ five children hang their hard hats at Prestige Pools, as well.
A vital component of that continuing expansion is staying abreast of trends, riding the industry’s cutting edges like a surfboard.
“In the last five years, we have been installing many more pools with custom stairs and benches inside them,” Schmit reports. “Additionally, 95 percent of the pools we build have an automatic safety cover that not only keep the pool safe, but also keep it much cleaner and minimize heat loss which means big energy savings.”
These trends are merely guides, though, not jailors, where individual pools (and pool owners) are concerned.
“Actually, we ask people how they want to use the pool or what their goal is for the space and work from there,” Schmit says. “There are not set sizes or dimensions, so some have deep ends with diving boards, others are all one level—a non-diver pool—which is for more socializing or playing volleyball or basketball in more of the pool.”
This utility is key to the existence of the pool… which can, in its way, resemble an actual member of the pool owners’ family.
“Pools, like any other body of water, are a constantly changing environment,” Schmit points out. “With these changes, customers always have questions, how these questions and concerns are handled is what really separates us from other companies. We are fortunate to have a staff that always has the customer’s best interest in mind, not just ‘How can I sell you more?’ as a motivation.”
New customers come to Prestige Pools bogged down by misconceptions that are imprecise, or downright wrong.
“Believe it or not, cost is not the main issue when customers look into a pool,” Schmit observes. “Maintenance time is a big question. People wonder how much work they are taking on by getting a pool.”
Sinking all of this energy into an outlet that can be enjoyed for only a few precious summer months might seem intemperate to some, but Schmit offers a pithy perspective.
“The point of view one must take is relative to how convenient is this pool going to be when compared to a boat, motor home, or cabin,” Schmit supposes. “Actually, a really nice pool and landscape installation can be equivalent to a down payment on a lake home or cabin. With the equipment we put on pools, we have customers that use their outdoor pool from the beginning or mid-April through the end of October, so people get more use out of them than one might think.”
Like any familial relationship, dependable effort must be invested. “We always tell people that a little time each week or every couple days will save headaches and much more time less frequently,” says Schmit. “A pool should require about 15 minutes a week of the customer’s time.”
Form does, in fact, follow function. But sometimes function can follow family.
87 County Rd. C West