When I last owned a home, which was a dozen years ago, most of my neighbors in Hunter’s Green had pools behind their homes. The lot I raised my boys on was plenty big enough for a pool, but we had two big dogs and our yard was used more for throwing around footballs and baseballs than anything else — and I did my lap swimming at the New Tampa Family YMCA in Tampa Palms.
But, one thing I know for sure. If Olympus Pools was around and had the kind of technology they do now that would allow me to build the lap pool of my dreams (with an outdoor grill kitchen for me and a hot tub and maybe a waterfall for the family) closer to when we first moved into that house in 1995, I might have forgotten all about using our yard as a football field.
But, even though Olympus Pools owner James Staten and his family hadn’t yet opened what today is the #1 pool builder in the entire Tampa Bay area (more on that below) that long ago and didn’t start advertising in the Neighborhood News until 2015, there also is no doubt that no company has built more pools in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel since that time than Olympus. I’m also certain that no other swimming pool contractor has ever given back — and/or continues to give back — more to the communities they serve than the Statens.
So, Why Am I Telling You This?
In the 5-6 years I’ve known the Staten family, all I had ever heard from people in both of our distribution areas was that they 1) had found out about Olympus from the ads and stories about the company in the Neighborhood News and 2) that they loved the pool Olympus built for their family.
That is, until this year, when a few people in a local online community expressed their displeasure with the amount of time it was taking to get their pools built by Olympus, with a couple of them saying to, “use anyone else but Olympus Pools.”
I was stunned and dismayed to see people turn on this wonderful family and their company, especially since it was so soon after my friend Jennifer Murtha had just posted such glowing reviews on the same Facebook community of not only the final result (photos) of her family’s Olympus-built pool, but also the entire process from start to finish.
Of course, I called the Statens first to find out what was going on but I also looked into how the pandemic had affected the swimming pool business not only locally but in warmer-weather markets across the U.S.
In a year when almost every industry has taken a major hit from Covid-19, the pool contracting business is up by 38%, which has caused the wait times to get pools built to increase by 50% or more, with few exceptions.
“There are many problems people in our industry have all been dealing with,” James says, “from entire teams of contractors having to quarantine because of Covid, to the shutdown of most government agencies, including those responsible for construction permits, to a shortage of concrete and other building materials. The bottom line is that while this has been a great year for our business, it’s also been the hardest year ever for staying on schedule, which is why we’ve had to extend the lead times from start to finish for new pools.”
In fact, when you visit the Olympus Pools website (OlympusPoolsFL.com), the home page has the following note:
“The swimming pool construction industry has been greatly impacted by the effects of Covid-19. Unprecedented demand, shortages of lumber and other building materials and lack of skilled labor have increased the time it takes to build a backyard resort. Please plan ahead. Currently, expect 6-7 months from sign to swim.”
And, considering that this award-winning company with 78 employees at three locations (Lakeland, Lakewood Ranch and the new Lutz showroom and headquarters on S.R. 54) built more pools (500+) in 2019 than the #2, #3 and #4 Tampa Bay-area pool builders combined — and that number is up to nearly 1,000 pools in 2020 — you can imagine that Olympus also has been more affected by these disturbing industry trends than anyone else locally.
“If we build 1,000 pools and have only 5% of the people unhappy, that’s still 50 families who didn’t get their pool when they expected or weren’t happy in some way. But, no matter what the percentages are, that still hurts.”
Even so, James adds, “Everything we’ve been through this year has made us much more ready for anything that might happen in the years to come. So, that’s one bright spot.”
But, it probably hurts even more for a company that, based on its performance through 2019, was named No. 2,411 on the 2020 “Inc. (magazine) 5000” with three-year revenue growth of 172%. The Inc. 5000 is the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies across all industries.
Olympus also was listed in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2020 Fast 50 — the fastest-growing companies in the Tampa Bay area — and also was one of fewer than 150 Florida companies to be certified as a Great Place to Work® in 2020.
In addition to building more pools than anyone else in the Bay area, the Statens and their company also give back more to the communities they serve than pretty much any other company. And, this year-round spirit of giving has extended to the entire family, including 11-year-old Jacob Staten.
Before we get into what Jacob has been doing, here are some of the charitable organizations Olympus Pools has supported in 2020 alone:
• $10k to Pasco Firefighters Charities, which helped collect food for the Feeding Tampa Bay drive (see below);
• $5k to New Tampa Family YMCA, which served as a food drive collection site ;
• $10k to American Nurses ($100 for each pool Olympus sold this year);
• Purchased the Amazon wish list of the residents of a local women’s shelter;
• Reimbursed lunches for employees of locally-owned restaurants during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
Meanwhile, rather than gifts, Jacob has been collecting food for his birthday for the past six years, all to benefit Feeding Tampa Bay. Jacob and his entire Olympus family had 13 Tampa Metro-area YMCAs participating as collection sites for the food, which was then dropped off at the Feeding Tampa Bay warehouse near Ybor City (picture below)\
And, Jacob’s collection of more than 2,500 lbs. of food (and $3,100 in cash donations) for his birthday this year didn’t go unnoticed, as he has been featured on (or in) several different local news media, including two TV stations, a radio station, as well as in this and other local publications.
Olympus even gave out free raffle tickets to everyone who donated food this year, with a chance to win a Sony PS5, AirPods or a flat-screen TV.
The local Olympus Pools showroom (21859 S.R. 54, Lutz) is open Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-7 p.m., and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sat. & Sun.
For more information, call (813) 983-7854 or visit OlympusPoolsFL.com.