Gina Jacobs Thomas used to have a bit of a fear of the water. So why would she decide to open a Goldfish Swim School franchise?
"It was really important to me that my kids start swimming really early," Gina said. So they did… and swimming eventually turned into something even more for Gina and her husband, Jon.
The family was living in Dublin, Ohio, when Gina started searching for something to do for the "second act" of her life. She had been a professional modern dancer and even taught at the college level – but it was time for something else.
"My passion was teaching," Gina said, and so she began looking for something that involved movement and education.
Enter Goldfish Swim School. Friends of the couple owned a Goldfish Swim School franchise in Pennsylvania, so Gina and Jon saw firsthand the integrity, compassion and trust – and the WOW! customer service – displayed company-wide. They saw the extraordinary results.
"We were Inspired by the difference they were making in their community," Gina said. "And their passion about the company."
Gina and Jon wanted to be part of that energy and that culture, she said. They had looked at other opportunities, but nothing had felt right until they considered a Goldfish Swim School franchise.
"We wanted to find a business we could do as a family," Gina said. "Family is really important to us, and we want to have our kids involved and possibly pass it along to them one day."
Diving into Goldfish Swim School
One may think that being surrounded by water – with tons of inland lakes, waterparks and pools that stay open longer because of the warm weather – wouldn't lend to needing a Goldfish Swim School in Florida.
But that's EXACTLY why Gina and Jon decided to move their family to the Sunshine State and open up their own Goldfish Swim School franchise.
"Florida still leads the nation in drowning accidents per year," Gina said. “With lakes at every turn, and pools that don’t drain or shut down, drowning doesn’t have a season."
Gina and Jon celebrated opening Florida's first Goldfish Swim School, in Winter Park, in June 2017. It was a challenge in the beginning, Gina said, to help people understand why it's important to have year-round swimming (at an indoor pool, at that). But families wanted to make sure their kids were safer in and around the water – and the indoor pool really helped during the summer rain and intense heat.
"We encourage those in our community to keep those skills sharp year round," Gina said. "And, we wanted to do something meaningful too, so we could be involved in the community as a positive way."
That's why, just like every Goldfish Swim School, they offer free water safety presentations throughout the community – focusing on water safety and drowning prevention, while having a GOLDEN experience.
"We've been really excited to be part of the community, meet new families, and make a difference in their lives and the lives of their children," Gina said.
Swim with us
Stop by a Goldfish Swim School location near you and sign your little ones up for swim lessons today (and learning how to swim can even help kids in school!).