Big Blue Swim School Aims to Leverage Houston’s Prime Real Estate Opportunities and Consumer Demographics for Large-Scale Growth
The growing swim school franchise is seeking qualified franchise partners as the brand expands in Texas.
October 27, 2020 // Franchising.com // CHICAGO - Since its founding in 2009, Big Blue Swim School has become one of the fastest-growing players in the $3 billion swim school industry. Now, the franchise has big plans to make a splash in one of the nation’s largest markets: Texas. Big Blue Swim School is targeting Houston - specifically Northwest Houston, including the high-priority territories of Katy, Sugarland, Cyprus and Bellaire - for large-scale growth in the immediate future.
According to Big Blue Swim School CEO Scott Sanders, the Houston metropolitan market has 14 potential sites for Big Blue pools. “Houston is currently the fourth largest city in the country and features a density of kids two to three times higher than the density of kids in Big Blue’s hometown of Chicago,” said Sanders. “It’s a popular relocation market, especially for families from the coasts, because Houston offers a mild climate with comparatively lower taxes. As a result, the region is seeing rapid growth and we want to be there to support local families.”
While most Big Blue competitors primarily serve children ages six months to five years, Big Blue caters to ages six months to 12 years, resulting in a 30-percent increase in the learn-to-swim addressable market, allowing prospective franchise owners to take full advantage of Houston’s population density.
“As we look to make an impact on the next generation of swimmers, we aren't only hoping to provide them with a vital life skill, we also want children to build a love for swimming,” said Big Blue President and Founder, Chris DeJong. “As we grow in the Houston market, parents will be surprised to experience a swim school atmosphere and approach that they've never seen before."
Big Blue delivers an experience that consistently helps kids learn how to swim and build confidence in the water. The brand’s proprietary curriculum ensures that Big Blue is measuring students’ progress in the ways that help students achieve better results more quickly.
The company’s cloud-based enterprise system, LessonBuddy™, is designed so franchise partners can operate successful pools without needing a daily presence. It also lets parents conveniently schedule lessons and track student progress. The brand also utilizes the data collected by LessonBuddy to modify staffing levels.
Big Blue is able to deliver these high-quality swim lessons while also providing more scheduling options, allowing siblings to swim in the same half-hour window. “Our optimized capacity planning and facility layout make it the most convenient option for the dual working-parent households which are common in Houston,” said Sanders.
Houston is also perfectly aligned with Big Blue’s technology-driven model. In recent years, Houston has emerged as a growing U.S. city with many families moving to the area, meaning that the time is ripe for leading swim instruction franchise Big Blue to come to the market. Additionally, Houston’s continued metropolitan development translates to opportunities for prime real estate. Big Blue laps the competition in terms of real estate development thanks to a team of expert dealmakers responsible for sourcing high-traffic locations by implementing a proactive, data-driven real estate assessment strategy.
“Houston offers a high percentage of prime real estate opportunities that perfectly fit our desired real estate attributes,” said Sanders. “We’ve already completed strategic market planning and validation, and we are expecting it to perform very well.”
Big Blue’s growth plans include reaching 150 signed units by 2021, and with 79 units already secured, the brand’s differentiators have caught the attention of many multi-unit and semi-absentee franchise partners looking to maximize their time and their capital. Additionally, Big Blue’s strong unit-level economics, turnkey operations and significant leadership support, have quickly established the brand as an impressive player in the fragmented swim lesson franchise segment.
“We want to serve as many communities and families as possible and the Houston market allows us to do that,” said DeJong. “We believe families will love watching their kids learn to swim with Big Blue and we are eager to find qualified franchise partners who want to help make that happen.”
About Big Blue Swim School
Big Blue Swim School was founded in 2009 by competitive swimmer Chris DeJong. The first location opened in Wilmette, Illinois, followed by four additional Chicagoland schools. In 2017, Level 5 Capital Partners acquired a stake in the brand. Through that investment, Big Blue plans to grow through franchising to 150 pools by 2021. Big Blue Swim School's real estate expertise, strong brand, proprietary technology, and leadership support, coupled with its best-in-class consumer offerings, position its franchise partners for long-term success. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Big Blue Swim School, visit their company website.
SOURCE Big Blue Swim School
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