Pool Rules
Entrepreneur|July/August 2017

How can a franchise thrive in an industry with strict safety regulations (and nervous parents)? Goldfish Swim School’s answer: constant communication.

Lydia Belanger

Teaching kids to swim is no easy feat. Teaching kids to swim and calming the nerves of anxious parents? Nearly impossible. Which is why, when husband-and-wife duo Chris and Jenny McCuiston set out to build a family-friendly swim school, they spent two years traveling the country, researching the industry and its many safety regulations, and meeting other swim instructors for inspiration as they developed their own model. In 2006, the newlyweds and former college athletes (Jenny is a two-time qualifier for the Olympic trials in swimming) opened the doors to the Goldfish Swim School in Birmingham, Mich. Eleven years later, that location is still open, the McCuistons have four kids of their own, and Goldfish boasts more than 40 franchise locations, serving 70,000 students across the country, with a goal of 200 locations by 2024.

Creating a swim school for kids seems risky, to say the least. Why do it? 

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