Big Blue Swim School Plans Expansion Throughout Boston
The emerging franchise brand targets the Everett, Cambridge, and North Shore neighborhoods of Boston for new locations.
November 03, 2020 // Franchising.com // CHICAGO - In the decade since U.S. national champion swimmer Chris DeJong founded Big Blue Swim School, the Illinois-based swim instruction franchise signed agreements to develop nearly 80 locations throughout strategically chosen markets across the U.S., carving out a lucrative position as a leading name in the $3 billion swim school industry. Now, the brand is preparing to leverage that position for an aggressive growth plan over the next few years. First stop: Boston.
Backed by an investment from Atlanta-based private equity firm Level 5 Capital Partners, Big Blue Swim School has already signed agreements to develop in neighboring markets across the Northeast, a strategy franchise leadership believes will give it a marked advantage as it seeks to grow its footprint in Boston.
“Since Big Blue already has franchise partners in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts is a logical next step for growth. These pools will help make a difference in children's lives as they achieve major milestones while learning how to swim at Big Blue. Big Blue’s goal is to help bring an element of safety to the summers when Massachusetts families vacation on the Cape,” DeJong said.
Boston may be new to the Big Blue brand but it is a market the company’s leadership team knows well. “Being from the Boston area and having owned several franchises in the Boston suburbs, I am confident my hometown is a perfect fit for Big Blue’s model,” said Big Blue Chief Development Officer, Scott Thompson. “With minimal high-quality swim schools in the area, the close-knit, family-oriented community is in need of more education around water safety. Plus, Boston is surrounded by the ocean and kids need to be strong swimmers for the peace-of-mind of their parents.
The company has identified five to seven territories available in the target markets of Everett, Cambridge and the North Shore, and Big Blue’s founder believes Boston’s dense population of dual-income households with children is exactly what Big Blue is looking for when it comes to the demographics meeting the brand’s criteria for development. “The demographics found in the Boston area are perfect for our unit model, which caters to ages 6-months to 12 years old,” said DeJong. “Big Blue is in a unique position to deliver the highest quality swim lessons while also providing more scheduling options that allow siblings to swim in the same half-hour window, making it the most convenient option for the dual working parent households common to the Boston area.”
The third-fastest growing tech hub in the country, Boston is also perfectly aligned with Big Blue’s tech-centered offering for both child-education franchise partners and consumers. Big Blue’s proprietary enterprise system, LessonBuddy™, is designed so franchise partners can operate successful pools without requiring a daily on-site presence. It also lets parents conveniently schedule lessons and track a students’ progress. The brand also utilizes the data collected by LessonBuddy to modify staffing levels. The technology-driven model sets the brand ahead of its competition.
Additionally, Boston’s continued metropolitan development and economic boom provide valuable opportunities for prime real estate. Big Blue uses market knowledge and a data-driven real estate assessment methodology to identify prime real estate in trade areas across the country that fit the brand’s member profile. To ensure that these sites start off on the right foot, Big Blue also provides a franchisor-operated marketing plan that optimizes customer acquisition and retention strategies before the doors are even open.
These advantages have helped establish the brand as a strong player in the swim lesson franchise segment, positioning franchise partners for success not only in Boston, but across the nation. As the franchise prepares for its next stage of expansion, Thompson says the ideal timeline for new openings includes five to seven Big Blue pools in Boston within a three-to-five-year period.
“For us, it’s all about creating an essential learning experience for kids and ultimate convenience for parents,” Thompson said. “As a Boston native, I am thrilled about being able to set up so many families to feel confident in their children’s abilities so they can be better equipped to jump in the water and I would love to see the Big Blue brand expand throughout the city.”
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 website.
SOURCE Big Blue Swim School
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