A family run business that provides purpose-built swimming pools for families with babies and young children is splashing out with ambitious plans to expand its operations.
Newton Aycliffe-based The Fish Tank has appointed property specialist @retail to acquire new sites across the North-East with target locations including Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle, Tees Valley and North Yorkshire.
The company is looking to transform sites into community-focused family friendly swimming pools, kitted out with specially designed changing rooms, coffee shops, interactive indoor play areas and sensory spaces and free car parking.
The move is part of a £3.5m investment plan by the company that could create up to 60 regional jobs in leisure and retail over the next three years.
Run by husband-and-wife team Paul and Penny Gordon (pictured above), The Fish Tank opened for business in 2020 to provide swimming lessons, parties and open swim sessions for local families with babies and young children.
In 2022, they won the Newcomer category at the Aycliffe Business Park’s Make Your Mark awards.
In the same year further reinvested to offer bespoke interactive indoor play and sensory rooms at their popular Aycliffe site.
Following the success of the Newton Aycliffe operation, the Gordons are currently investing further to build a region-wide business and brand to meet rising demand.
To assist in their growth, @retail will identify and secure sites which can offer 5,600 sq. ft. of floorspace and capable of accommodating a swimming pool within a 22m x 24m footprint.
Paul Gordon said: “Our warm pool has been designed with babies, toddlers and parents in mind while our sensory room provides a stimulating, safe environment for youngsters up to three years old to enjoy. We also support businesses with our cafe stocking a range of locally sourced products.
“With specific sector experience, @retail are on board to help us develop our operations further. Thanks to their expertise, a number of potential new locations are already under consideration, which is great news.”
Ian Thurlbeck, director at @retail, said he is looking at several sites, particularly premises on retail and leisure parks close to new housing developments.
“We’re delighted to be onboard with Paul and Penny, helping to support their vision for the business with our sector specific insight and advice,” he added.
“We are looking at good quality sites right across the North of England that can accommodate their business model while providing room for future growth.”
@retail, which also acquires premises for Fat Hippo, Sainsburys and Greggs among other clients, continues to see a robust level of enquiries from start-ups and smaller niche operators who are looking to acquire versatile, well-located and cost-effective premises.