Going for Growth

Ohio family business local go-to for pools and spas

What started as an in-ground pool construction company run out of a shed has turned into a regional powerhouse for pools and spas.

Ohio Pools & Spas was founded by company president Amanda Annis’s great uncle in 1957 as a small construction business. In 1980, her father Richard and his brother purchased the business and started selling Hot Spring portable hot tubs three years later.

Since then, the family has established retail stores in North Canton and Mayfield Heights that serve the pool and spa needs of northeast Ohio.

Annis is the third generation to run the family business. She started working for the company in high school and became a full-time employee in 2015 when she took the role of administrative assistant to her dad, who was then president.

“I started filling in wherever needed and helping in every department of the company,” Annis says. “I learned how important every role and department are to making the company run smoothly.”

Hot Spring (Highlife, Limelight, Hot Spot), Fantasy, and preowned Hot Spring
Endless Pools
Balanced by Ohio Pools & Spas (private label), Freshwater Salt, Leisure Time, Frog @ease, GLB, Natural Chemistry
Hot Spring/Watkins, Leisure Concepts, Covana
Finnleo Saunas

Annis became president when her father passed away unexpectedly in 2019, and ownership transferred to her mother. “My dad was incredible and built the foundation of everything we are able to do today,” she says. “I’m so grateful for him and hope to honor him in my work.” Transfer of sole ownership of the company to Annis finalized in November last year. She enjoys continuing the family business while also leading a team of motivated workers.

“It’s fun and fulfilling to have community and grow together as individuals and an organization,” she says. “Technology and business are changing so quickly, so there is always a way for us to make this business better; it never gets boring. Our products and services make our and our customers’ lives better every day. This is a really rewarding business to be in.”

Those products include Hot Spring Spas, Endless Pools, Finnleo saunas and chemicals. Ohio Pools & Spas also has a service department, led by service manager Chris Schuler, who’s been with the company for 25 years “helping people by scheduling repairs, sharing knowledge with new technicians, and being the person everyone comes to when they have problems they can’t figure out,” he says.

In fact, each department of Ohio Pools & Spas has its own manager. “We run each department like it is its own business,” Annis explains.

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The sales department, led by sales manager Robert Fickes, is a tight-knit team focused on ensuring Ohio Pools & Spas customers have the best sales experience possible.

“We are truly helping clients better their lives, and with the team atmosphere we have, it helps that everyone is on the same page, and we all have one common goal: wellness,” Fickes says.

When asked about his aspirations for his department, Fickes is blunt: “Always growth.”

“We’ve seen growth over the last couple of years, and my main goal is to continue that with every tool at my disposal,” he says, adding that to accomplish this they will establish better training, better reporting and better polices moving forward,” Fickes says. “This position has come a long way from where it was, and I feel that I’m in the right position to help see that growth through.”

For Fickes and others at Ohio Pools & Spas, part of what makes working for the company so great is there’s very little turnover. Most employees have been there for five years or more.

“The company cares about its employees, which is all we could ever ask for,” Fickes says.

Operations manager Jeannie Daugherty says it’s an exciting time for the industry despite supply shortages, staff shortages, price increases and surging freight costs. “We have experienced significant growth in recent years,” Daugherty says, “and this growth is estimated to persist over the coming years.”

Teamwork is an integral part of that success. “We are very fortunate to have such a great team,” Daugherty says. “Every member of our team works together to provide a remarkable experience to our customers throughout their entire journey.” As Ohio Pools & Spas continues to grow, Annis plans to keep providing the best products and customer service experience possible: “We are working on evolving our business from small and family-owned,” she says, “into a world-class retailer.”

Photography by Ty Bowling