POOL AND WATER SAFETY FOR THE LITTLEST AMONG US

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July 3, 2015

Since our founding almost 60 years ago, Easton Pool & Spa – in working with customers and potential customers – has placed a primary emphasis on safely enjoying and recreating in and around pools.

An in-ground pool … a pool of any type … can be the physical source and center of a tremendous amount of fun, joy, and happiness. Families and communities grow and become stronger around pools.

And this all happens when people using a pool care and are informed on how to safely enjoy – and responsibly act in accordance with this understanding – a pool.

Yet the fact is … and there should be no blinking at this reality, nor avoiding discussing it … ongoing, and every year, a tremendously high number of injuries and deaths result just from fundamental and basic rules of pool safety not being practiced and observed.

Here is a link to the start page – at the American Red Cross website – of a valuable tutorial on home pool, swimming, and water safety.

Easton Pool & Spa especially urges and promotes children learning to become accustomed to water, and to learn to swim, as early as possible. If you click here you will be taken to a story about teaching your children to swim, which was published inParents Magazine, and written by Kourtney Edam.

As described in the story, the “American Association of Pediatrics recommends that parents hold off on formal swimming lessons until after their child’s fourth birthday, when he’s developmentally able to learn the skills needed to stay afloat. Until then, consider a parent-child program that focuses on water games, swimming-readiness skills, and safety in and around the pool.”

Yes, teaching the “littlest among us” pool and water safety is of the most vital importance.

Consider this selection of relevant information and statistics from the National Safety Council:

  • There are over 7,000 drowning deaths nationally each year. Drowning accidents are the leading cause of death and injury of children under 5 years of age.
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of injury he second leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 15. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • More than 80% of the drownings occur in residential pools or spas.
  • Each year 5000 children under the age of 14 are hospitalized for near drowning events. Of these, as many as of 20% suffer severe and permanent disabilities.
  • Nationwide, about 250 children under the age of 5 drown each year. Most of those incidents occur in backyard pools and studies have shown that usually an adult was nearby, but not watching the child when they fell in the pool.

Young people, all people, need to know that becoming incapacitated in water can happen fast … very fast … within a few seconds … and death by drowning can occur in as few as 30 seconds.

Children need to hold a healthy respect for … and understanding of … the perils of water.

This respect and understanding need not diminish any of the fun.

Pools are the business of Easton Pool & Spa … and constitute so much of the lives of all those who work for the company.

Where great backyards begin” is our mantra.

Great backyards. Great times. Great memories.

That’s what home pools should be all about – and that is what they are all about … when safety is practiced first and held paramount.

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BEYOND THE CLASSIC AND TRADITIONAL RECTANGLE POOL; EASTON POOL & SPA DESIGNS AND BUILDS CUSTOM, BEAUTIFUL, AND ORNATE

Custom Pool with Retractable Wood Deck, on Martha's Vineyard; built for world famous architect by Easton Poo & Spa
Custom Pool with Retractable Wood Deck, on Martha’s Vineyard; built for world famous architect by Easton Pool & Spa

May 14, 2015

The early days … and early years … of Easton Pool & Spa were dedicated to building, exclusively, rectangle pools with sloping bottoms. Almost all these pools were one of three dimensions: 16′ x 32′, 18′ x 36′, or 20′ x 40′.

These pools were the figurative and literal foundation of our business. They remain a major component of our business. We remain busy building them.

Yet, of course, Easton Pool & Spa is also renown for – and indeed this area of our business is growing rapidly – designing and constructing pools with special features and custom shapes (yes, we did build a pool in the shape of a cactus) – and which may include a cabana, adjoining spa, waterfall, fine wood deck, stone patio, fire pit … among other elements.

Easton Pool & Spa enjoys a challenge – and we work with leading architects and designers to help realize dreams and realize a vision.

Indeed, back in 2013, we were tasked with a major challenge – in that one of the foremost and esteemed and award-winning building architects in the world contracted with Easton Pool & Spa to build his dream pool on his estate in Martha’s Vineyard.

It was teamwork – the planning and building of this pool – with the architect and the Easton Pool & Spa team exchanging ideas, talking, listening, and reviewing together.   

Early construction phase of custom 25' x 60' pool with deck, on Martha'Vineyard; built by Easton Pool & Spa
Early construction phase of custom 25′ x 60′ pool with deck, on Martha’Vineyard; built by Easton Pool & Spa

What resulted was a rectangle shaped pool – but not just any rectangle shaped pool.

It was a 25′ x 60′ overflow pool (the type of pool in which water gently cascades over an edge or multiple edges of the pool and then is circulated back into the pool) in which there was a seam – less than an inch in width – between the edge over and into which the water flowed and an adjoining wood deck.

Because this seam was so narrow – unlike the seam of four to six inches in width which separates most overflow pools from decks and patios – throughout the pool the surface of the water could not deviate in height more than an eighth-of-an-inch from the surface in any other part of the pool.

We also created for the architect a special wood deck that would cover the pool when it was not in use, and would disguise that a pool was beneath it – and, when the pool was in use, or to be viewed, would be contained within an underground receptacle, with the receptacle fully hidden.

First we created a folding deck – and then we worked with a steel fabricator which designed and built for the deck a folding aluminum chassis. The fabricator engineered an system of motorized pistons that rolled out the deck into place over the pool, and which retracted the deck into the below-ground bunker.

Easton Pool & Spa was also enlisted by the architect to accentuate the pool with custom lighting – with the lighting fixtures needing to have just the right look, and with the bulbs delivering a subtle and a precise element of illumination.

We met the lighting challenge as well.

When the pool was finished and ready for use, its owner – again, among the most gifted designers and building artisans on the planet – declared that what Easton Pool & Spa had delivered was extraordinary excellence and the highest premium in quality.

SPOTLIGHT ON ROBERT HOBAICA – VICE PRESIDENT OF EASTON POOL & SPA … AND OUR “CONSTRUCTION GUY”

Robert Hobaica and dad, Henry, founder of Easton Pool & Spa; in 2013
Robert Hobaica and dad, Henry, founder of Easton Pool & Spa; in 2013

May 7, 2015

With our roots going back to 1958 – close to 60 years ago – Easton Pool & Spa has experienced and adopted many new materials and technologies and systems to build our pools – and to receive national recognition and awards for the quality and excellence we deliver.

For sure, we have become a lot more sophisticated in our methods than when our founder Henry Hobaica launched the enterprise with an inventory of tools that consisted of no more than a rake, a shovel, and a used pickup truck.

Indeed, A Rake, a Shovel and A Used Pickup Truck is the name of the book that Henry authored on his and the Hobaica family history and experience in the pool building business.

But still … even with all the advances … pool construction is never on autopilot.

Every pool we build requires manual labor – whether it is a concrete pool with a vinyl liner, which necessitates highly demanding labor … or whether it is a pool formed from gunite, a substance of sand, cement, and water sprayed through a pneumatic tube … which is also a process involving physical labor, if not as intense as when working with concrete and vinyl.

There is no better person to testify to this than Robert Hobaica, Vice President and co-owner of Easton Pool & Spa. Robert heads up and focuses on the on-site construction end of things.  

Easton Pool & Spa pool, with attached pool, under construction – 2013
Easton Pool & Spa pool, with attached spa, under construction – 2013

I actually started building pools back in high school – back in 1980,” said Robert. “I was involved in a work study program at Oliver Ames High School, in which I got out of school at noon and would go to work helping out my dad.”

Robert graduated from Oliver Ames High School in 1982, and went on to Framingham State College from which he graduated in 1986.

While on break from college, during the late spring and early summer, he worked full time for the family business.

Robert was always directly involved in the digging and excavating and grading and leveling of ground, and the pouring of concrete, to make the foundation of the pool.

Excavating and pouring concrete was and remains very labor intensive – more so than working with gunite,” said Robert, who, himself, operates excavating equipment on Easton Pool & Spa jobs.

You know, I think back to a day in the mid 1990s – at a time when we hired from a reliable employment firm in Brockton many hardworking day laborers.

But it didn’t always work out. Like that day – when we hired two laborers who helped us pour concrete for a pool in Hanover. Well we got done with that job around noon – and then headed to Mansfield to pour another pool.

And, you know, I am driving this big truck, and I have two of these laborers – whom I had not worked with before – sitting in the cab with me. So we are in Brockton, and we stop at a stoplight on Legion Parkway … and one of these guys opens the passenger side door, and both of the guys jump out and run off; they just took off. I guess they had enough of pouring concrete.”

In 2010, Easton Pool & Spa added gunite pools to its inventory of offerings.

“Of the pools we build, the split is about 75 percent concrete, and 25 percent gunite,”  said Robert. “Right now, Easton Pool & Spa has 30 pools under construction across eastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod and the Islands, with nine being built on Martha’s Vineyard alone.”

Through the years, Robert Hobaica has been a lead innovator for Easton Pool & Spa.

It was in 2001, that he advised and pushed for the company to drill for its own water to fill the pools we build. This initiative has resulted in the highly successful Atlantic Pool Water Services, Inc., the leading provider of pool water in southeastern Massachusetts.

Robert will often stay and work on site with one job from start to completion – yet he also will travel across many sites to inspect and monitor construction.

He remains focused and motivated.

I’ve been with Easton Pool & Spa a long time, and I continue to be energized to do my best, and help the people with whom I work do their best, every day and in every pool we build.

I am fortunate to do this work – and to receive a tremendous amount of satisfaction and fulfillment from it.”

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST AND “MIRACLE ON ICE” GOALTENDER — AND FAMILY — ARE BIG FANS OF EASTON POOL & SPA

The Craig family pool on Jjra Lane in Easton; built by Easton Pool & Spa
The Craig family pool on Jjra Lane in Easton; built by Easton Pool & Spa

April 25, 2015

Early in 1991, when Jim and Sharlene (Charlie) Craig moved into their beautiful home on Jyra Lane in Easton, they took residence understanding they would as fast as possible add an in-ground pool to the property.

Jim, the Easton native and goalie for the 1980 U.S. Olympic “Miracle on Ice” hockey team, and one of eight kids, grew up in a modest home with one bathroom.on North Main Street in Easton. There was no in-ground pool — or pool of any type. However, the family did have a small cottage in Mattapoisett, within a few hundred yards of the ocean — and all the Craig kids loved the water and loved swimming.     

Jim Craig in action against Finland in the 1980 Winter Olympics.  The U.S. beat Finland, 4-2, and clinched the gold medal.
Jim Craig in action against Finland in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The U.S. beat Finland, 4-2, and clinched the gold medal.

Charlie grew up in modest means in Salt Lake City, UT. There was no pool at her house, either — and no ocean in which to swim. But she did swim at the homes of friends and in public pools.

Yes, Jim and Charlie, were going to have a pool — as much for their children as for themselves.

When they moved into their new home, their first-born, a son, JD, – for James Donald (named for Jim’s dad) – was three years old – and Charlie was pregnant with their second child, a daughter, whom they would name Taylor.

We knew almost right away that it would be Easton Pool & Spa that would build the pool,” said Charlie. “We had friends who had pools built by Easton Pool & Spa and the Hobaicas, and all we heard were good things. Through the entire process of planning and having the pool built, working with the Hobaicas was a positive experience.”

Charlie and Jim both wanted a pool that had a natural look and which blended with and complemented their landscaping.

I love the water, and the outdoors — and I wanted a pool that looked and felt like nature,” said Jim. “And Charlie being from Utah, with its beautiful and awesome landscapes and rock and stone formations, and rushing water, absolutely wanted a rock waterfall for the pool.”

Jim, today one of the most in demand motivational speakers and teamwork coaches in America, has always highly valued cooperation and team.

Easton Pool.& Spa listened to what was our vision, and offered its expertise and suggestions,” said Jim. “As well, the Easton Pool & Spa team worked well with our landscaping contractor.”

Both our children learned to swim in the pool,” said Charlie. “Jim and I taught them.”

Through the years, the family made use of the pool a staple and feature of life.  And Jim and Charlie always hired Easton Pool & Spa for maintenance, and purchased pool supplies from the company.

The Craig family pool was a busy place.

If the temperature was warm or hot, and we were in Easton, then we in or around the pool,” said Jim. “And we did a lot of socializing in entertaining around the pool — and we encouraged Taylor and JD to invite their friends over to use it — which they regularly did.”

In 2010, the Craigs sold their home in Easton, and now split their time between a home in Mattapoisett and one in St. Petersburg, FL., where they have an in-ground pool.

JD, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College, is a sales representative for Bausch & Lomb. Taylor, a four year scholarship hockey player for Colgate University, graduates from the school next month.

Just last month, Jim had an opportunity to meet up with Easton Pool & Spa founder, Henry Hobaica, and his son, Paul, the former head of the service division of the company, and now a physician in Florida.

The three met and talked at a medical industry meeting in Tampa where Jim addressed a group of medical doctors.

It was wonderful to see Henry and Paul again,” said Jim. “They are standout people – and Easton Pool & Spa is a standout team.”

EASTON POOL & SPA TALKS ABOUT PREPPING … GETTING READY … FOR THE POOL OPENING – AND THE FUN AHEAD

April 1, 2015

 

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“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so.”

MARK TWAIN

Easton Pool & Spa agrees with Mr. Twain … about the spring fever thing.

We also are fully aware and mindful that even if most pools are still covered in snow – pool season most surely awaits.

One of those ways is the looking forward to the opening of the pool, and all the happiness and recreation and relaxing and socializing that will happen at that place and about.

Every spring … as the days get longer and the temps warmer … the Easton Pool & Spa DNA instructs us to pick up the pace, to energize, and to commit a specific and particular focus.

One way we soon answer the siren call of spring is sending our expert and award-winning staff out to open and prep pools for all the fun ahead.   unnamed

Yes, our technicians are readying to travel throughout southern New England, and beyond.

If you order and schedule us to open your pool, we ask you to please follow five easy steps prior our team arriving. These steps will help make the pool opening efficient and a success. Here are those steps:

  1. Remove ALL water and debris from your cover. This step is important so the mess on top doesn’t end up in your pool.
  2. Turn on water, and ensure that outside spigots are working.
  3. Bring the water level of the pool to half way up the skimmer. Depending on your pool, this may require you to pump water out, or add water to get to the correct operating level.
  4. Have all your pool equipment out and by the pool. This includes ladders, rails, baskets, etc.
  5. Make sure the electricity for the pumps is turned on.

Yes, after you prepare for us – then we prepare the pool for you.

And, in short order, you pool is opened – and fun and good times commence.

Easton Pool & Spa looks forward to seeing you soon.

FOR THROWBACK THURSDAY – EASTON POOL & SPA IS GOING BACK … WAY BACK … SOME 4,500 YEARS

Excavation of the site of the  'Great Bath' at the Mohenjo-Daro (image credit: GoPakistan)
Excavation of the site of the ‘Great Bath’ at Mohenjo-Daro (image credit: GoPakistan)

March 26, 2015

Easton Pool & Spa has been designing and building in-ground pools for almost 60 years.

Yes – it was in 1958, that Henry Hobaica, a public school teacher, started putting in pools as a way to make extra money.

Pilgrim Pool was the name of the enterprise Henry Hobaica founded all those years ago.

Today, Easton Pool & Spa – always family owned – is among the leading pool design and builders in the United States.

We have won many industry awards, and our business and pools are regularly featured in media stories and reports.

The primary, yet not exclusive, geographic area in which we operate is Southeastern New England, with particularly strong growth we are experiencing in Cape Cod and the Islands.

Easton Pool & Spa thought it appropriate on this Throwback Thursday to go back … way, way back – about 4,500 years – to the the building of the first in-ground pool for swimming and wading.

It was in the Mideast, and in the Mediterranean, in ancient times, when humans first started building these structures.

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

The ‘Great Bath’ at the site of Mohenjo-Daro in modern-day Pakistan was most likely the first swimming pool, dug during the 3rd millennium BC. This pool is 12 by 7 metres (39 by 23 feet), is lined with bricks and was covered with a tar-based sealant.

Ancient Greek and Romans built artificial pools for athletic training in the palaestras, for nautical games and for military exercises. Roman emperors had private swimming pools in which fish were also kept, hence one of the Latin words for pool, piscina. The first heated swimming pool was built by Gaius Maecenas of Rome in the first century BC. Gaius Maecenas was a rich Roman lord and considered one of the first patrons of arts.

Ancient Sinhalese built pairs of pools called Kuttam Pokuna in the kingdom of Anuradhapura in the 4th century BC. They were decorated with flight of steps, punkalas or pots of abundance and scroll design.

Interesting history.  As well, in looking the photo above of the foundation of the “Great Bath” – a foundation dug and formed without backhoes and other heavy equipment … well … one just has to be impressed.

Easton Pool & Spa enjoys studying and sharing all types of information about pools.

And, day in and day out, we are enthused, motivated, and dedicated in playing our own role in, and contributing to, the history of designing and building them.

EASTON POOL & SPA IS A COMPANY; WE ARE ALSO A LEGACY

A three-image panorama of the history of Easton Pool & Spa.  That guy in the foreground?  Yep, that is Henry Hobaica, in his early pool building days.
A three-image panorama of the history of Easton Pool & Spa. That guy in the foreground? Yep, that is Henry Hobaica, in his early pool building days.

March 18, 2015

“My work … is my legacy.”

PATRICK SWAYZE

As we mentioned in our inaugural post on this blog, Henry Hobaica founded, in 1958, the company that would became Easton Pool & Spa.

Henry Hobaica is still involved with Easton Pool & Spa.  Henry and his wife fo 52 years, Roberta, are vibrant and healthy, and split their time between Massachusetts and Florida.

In the afterward of his memoir, A Rake, a Shovel and A Used Pick Up Truck:  Building A Successful Family Pool Business, Henry Hobaica wrote the following:

Building swimming pools became a major component of the way I made a living and supported my famil [almost exclusively so after Henry retired from his career as an educator, and went full-time into the pool business] ….

Building swimming pools also became a major component of the way I made a life.  It was through building the company and working closely with my sons in that effort, I forged a special bond with them – a bond that enabled, in a powerful way, to share an teach my values to them and for my children to share and teach me.”

The passage above speaks to and explains a culture and set of values that gird, drive, and direct Easton Pool & Spa.

Today, the company is run by Henry’s and Roberta’s sons, Robert and David.

Easton Pool & Spa is a legacy; it is an enterprise that the Hobaica family intensely values and for which is serves as a faithful custodian.

And that Easton Pool & Spa is a legacy, that it is to be transmitted to posterity, that the reputation of the company and the Hobaica name are intertwined … all support and insure that Easton Pool & Spa will always deliver uncompromising value and quality.

Yes, Easton Pool & Spa will always operate this way one pool, one “great backyard,” at a time.