A South Kesteven business as hot as the weather
If anyone feels better after the recent heatwave, it will be Claire Asher.
Claire is a director of the Asher Swimpool Centre in Fulbeck, a family business which has just celebated 50 years of operation.
The company was formed in 1968 after her parents John and Brenda left Nottingham for the Lincolnshire countryside. They moved on to Fulbeck to a property surrounded by ponds and they thought it safer to build a pool to teach their children to swim in.
John and Brenda grew roses and had a landcape gardening business. In addition to wanting their gardens landscaped, customers would often ask for a pool to be built as well, leading to the successful business of today.
The couple retired 18 years ago and passed on the business to their children Claire and Andrew. These days, the business employs 11, many of whom have stayed with the firm a long time, including three who have stayed over 25 years each, building, and servicing pools, spas, saunas and steam rooms.
Claire credits this loyalty on her company being a family firm that accepts its staff have familes too, who may want to be home by 6pm, instead of working into the evening.
The company serves within a 60 mile radius of Fulbeck, with customers being the young keeping fit or older people wanting pools for health reasons. There has also been the odd lottery winner, either buying a place in the country seeking a new pool, or to refurbish an old one.
An outdoor family pool typically costs around £40,000-£50,000, around double for an indoor pool, with the cost of the building on top of that. Around a dozen newbuild and refurbished pools are made by the company each year. In addition, the company will build pool enclosures that pull back on sunny days or across the pool to give cover on wet or cooler days.
It costs around £1,500 a year to run an average sized outdoor pool with the help of solar heating and air source heat pumps, plus a further £200 to £300 for the chemicals, depending on use.
Claire said: “The industry has changed with high end products and expensive pools and more indoor pools. We see air source, ground source, water source air handling units installed, more UV systems and auto dosing systems put in place.
“We see lots of cheap imports from China with regards to Spas, hot tubs and other products but we tend to steer clear of them and support better made British or European-made products.”
The company is a member of the Swimming Pool & Allied Trades Association (SPATA), who control industry standards, with all staff being members of the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers, and John a past president of both. Over the years, the company has won 27 industry awards, including two in February.
The economy does affect trade but the recession ten years ago saw a switch to more higher end pools and spas.
Claire added: “Business is quieter right now; we just mainly put it down to the weather.”