Horsham’s answer to swimming pools, hot tubs and saunas is celebrating its 30th year in business.
In fact ‘Home Counties Pools and Hot Tubs’ at Hilliers Garden Centre has seen a dramatic rise in pool sales since the 2012 Olympics. So are these once splashtacular luxuries becoming a regular home focal point?
Managing director, Craig Trusson, not only says this is so, but believes it is the precise reason why Home Counties has survived a difficult recession.
Becoming a partner in the business 12 years ago, Mr Trusson eventually took over from founder, Peter Burkitt and his wife Judi who launched Home Counties in 1983.
Specialists in installations, maintenance, accessories, hot tubs and saunas, the nine-strong workforce is dedicated to helping their customers get from A to B in just a matter of three to six weeks.
Their quality service has been recognised by endless accolades over the years, including the recent silver prize for ‘Retail Excellence’ presented by S.P.A.T.A, the UK’s leading awarding body in the field.
“S.PA.T.A has teeth because there are standards that members have to comply with, and if you don’t you lose your membership,” explained Mr Trusson.
Ranging from family fun pools to the more high-tech training facilities, a buyer can spend from approximately £8,000 to £60,000, depending on their required specifications.
“We can do any size or irregular shape. The only limitation is that of the customer’s imagination.”
After the excitement of Paralympian, Eleanor Simmonds, taking two gold meddles for the 200 and 400 meter freestyle, Mr Trusson has seen sales soar.
“I think the Olympics helped us in a difficult climate last year and gave people a feel good factor,” he imparts, “so we had an influx of enquiries by those looking to compete in triathlons for instance.”
Even before the big event Home Counties had supplied Triathlete, Alistair Brownlee, with an ‘Endless Pool’ – a giant treadmill submerged in water that you swim against, suitable for people of all abilities right up to elite level. Brownlee purchased one as part of his rehabilitation programme prior to winning the gold at London 2012.
Playing a crucial role at the Olympics, Home Counties also built a pool at Hyde Park as part of the British Triathlon Association Exhibit, and have been invited to do the same again in Trafalgar Square for the World Triathlon Championships.
But swimming pools are not just for athletes.
“Remember, owning a pool is not elitist, it’s more affordable than people often perceive – it is possible for someone to have a swimming pool for less of the cost for a Ford Focus.”
If you’re not an athlete, the responsibility of looking after a pool, of any size, can seem a daunting task, but Mr Trusson reassures that it is easy to do and takes very little time.
“It’s not as hard as people think it is. It should take about 15 minutes a week of pool maintenance to keep it crystal clear.”
Working alongside his wife, Gill, Mr Trusson is proud that the business has always been headed by a couple, starting with Peter and Judi back in 1983, and this has been significant in building solid relationships with their customers.
“We’ve identified that we’re in the business of giving pleasure to people, and one of the keys to our success is knowing how to do that.
Give Home Counties a call on 01403 259 755, visit www.poolboy.co.uk, or see them at Hillier Garden Centre.