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The weather made our lives a bit difficult this spring.  A big batch of you completely abandoned us from the end of April until Memorial Day Weekend, just because it was cold and rainy.  Then, you all showed up for three days.  We had twenty people working Friday, and twenty-two on Saturday and Sunday.  We had four water labs and four cash registers open, and three people at Customer Pick-up.  Our systems were strained, but no other pool store could have handled that – and we still answered the phones and returned every call before we went home.  How do we do it?  With the best team of pool professionals anywhere.  How did we develop that?  We train constantly, we fire people who are only good or average, and we don’t let excellent people ever leave!

Consider this: Jeanne, Tod and I started in 1981.  Joe has 19 years with us.  Pat has 14, Mimi has 12, and Jim has 9.  Practically everyone else has over five years.

Anne-Marie is celebrating her ten-year anniversary with us on October 30.  She is our Office Manager, IT Manager, Take-It-Easy™ Manager, my Assistant Buyer, and finder of all things lost “forever” by male team members.  That’s just the beginning of it.  Suffice it to say, that our people out front where you are, can only perform well when backed up by great people and systems behind the scenes.

Speaking of which, the Open House on May 15 was our most successful yet.  Allowing Guided Tours of our Backstage areas and systems was very popular throughout the day. We will definitely do that again.  Door Prize winners that day were:  Chris C. of Sharon, NH; Nettie A. of Brookline, NH; Deanne M. ofHudson, NH; John P. of Hollis, NH; Lori S. and Robert Z. both from Nashua, NH; Diane L. of Peterborough, NH; and Steve S. of P epperell, MA. 

We are setting up an Art Gallery in the store to sell employee-created art on consignment. We have several pieces right now, with more expected soon.  Seth has some beautiful photographs, and Stephanie (an art student) has original oils, pastels, pottery, and very limited edition prints.  Trina may create some pieces for us once pool season slows down. She is graduating from ITT Technical Institute with a degree in Computer Aided Design in October.  Everyone wants Jim to bring in some of his paintings, but he’s a very private guy.

Here’s what I’m hoping:  you help support some young artists by buying some of their artwork, and that will encourage them and the others to create and submit more.  That makes them more popular, and that makes the value of your art go up.  Everybody wins!

I was talking to Joe’s father the other day, and I was struck by how much we are a family business. Jeanne and I did not have children, so we don’t have children in the company. But Joe came to us when his father was our bookkeeper.  Pat’s father was Store Manager before Pat was promoted to that job.  And we currently have three Blanchards here! Everyone knows Tod; and we spotlighted his daughter, Trina, last year on her fifth anniversary with us.  Now, his daughter, Kristine, works here, too!  Like her sister and father, Kristine has lots of hands-on experience working for Tod’s Pool Service, plus a sincere desire to make customers happy.

Jeanne and I will be celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of our first date on September 18th, just as she and Ann return from the Casual Furniture Show inChicago.  Sometime this fall, I’m taking her on a surprise romantic trip.  Shh.  Loose lips sink ships.

Joe was nice enough to donate his truck, trailer and fuel to deliver a hot tub for a Make-A-Wish child this summer.  I paid for the logistics, labor, and materials except for the actual tub; which was split by Marquis Hot Tubs and Make-A-Wish National.  Opportunities to help sick kids through High Hopes and Make-A-Wish are immensely gratifying for all of us. If you want to help, too, go to the “Charities” page of our website for more information.