Big Blue Swim School, the nation’s leading swim school franchise, is excited to announce a new partnership with Shorewood Development Group to bring 10 new locations to Chicagoland and an additional six locations to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Shorewood Development Group, a Buffalo Grove, Illinois-based commercial real estate firm specializing in infill retail shopping center development, brings a wealth of relevant experience to the Big Blue Swim School franchise family. Led by Louis Schriber III and Aaron Roth, SDG Swim, LLC’s 16 locations will be managed by Jeff Plazak and Rachel Chavez.
“I was first introduced to Big Blue Swim School when my children attended lessons in Glenview. Being in real estate development, we knew some early investors in the brand and were intrigued,” said Schriber. “Once the Level 5 team got involved with Big Blue, we knew this was of significant interest to us and started pursuing the brand as another business to grow within our Shorewood investment model.”
Added Roth, “My excitement about the opportunity and the brand increased after flying down to Atlanta and meeting the Level 5 team. Their energy, passion and vision for Big Blue Swim School was contagious, and made me a believer of the model, culture and future of the brand.”
Like Big Blue Swim School co-founder Chris DeJong, Schriber has a long history with competitive swimming. Raised on the water in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, swimming has always been a part of his life.
“Growing up both on and in the water, I recognize that not only is water safety extremely important, but also that being a skilled swimmer opens the doors to adventure and fun,” said Schriber. “As a result of always being in the water, I was a natural at swimming. I swam varsity all four years of high school and continued to swim competitively in college for the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.”
Fast forward to 2019, and the team at Shorewood Development Group is prepared and excited to tap into its vast knowledge and network in the commercial development space to expand Big Blue Swim School’s presence throughout Chicagoland and into the Twin Cities market.
“We have a deep understanding of the Chicago market and are extremely well-connected here, which gives us confidence in our ability to select the ideal locations for our swim schools,” said Schriber. “Signing on for the exclusive rights to the remaining Chicagoland territory was critical for us to be able to be hands-on and grow our schools to both our and Big Blue’s high standards.”
Thanks to Roth’s roots in Orono, Minnesota, Shorewood Development Group has a strong familiarity with the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and feel that is one of the premier markets in the Midwest for expansion. Coupled with Big Blue Swim School’s analytical ability to identify top markets, the brand’s new franchisees are well-equipped to execute.
“Other than just being my home state, Minnesota is truly an amazing, thriving market full of active, family-oriented people that really focus on their kids,” said Roth. “It also doesn’t hurt that Minnesota is ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes’ — where people love the outdoors and regularly interact with water, marking swimming a must-have skill. This makes our schools and services very important to the families in the community.”
“Aaron and Louis both have large families, each with five children all under the age of 14. They are intimately familiar with the important role swimming plays in kids’ lives,” said Scott Thompson, Chief Development Officer of Big Blue Swim School. “Their experience as business owners and ability to take existing real estate, envision a totally new product and execute in accordance to that vision are exceptional. They have the same vision for Big Blue Swim School and there’s no doubt in my mind that their locations will be something to behold. Their ability to grow and retain top-tier employees gives us the utmost confidence that our schools will be in great hands with Jeff and Rachel leading the way.”
“We feel confident that our partnership has the necessary market knowledge, analytics and personnel to make the right decisions and get open quickly with the right locations,” Schriber said. “Our immediate goal is to fulfill our commitment to these 16 schools while continuing to evaluate new market options to expand into. We couldn’t be more excited to begin our journey with Big Blue Swim School and feel these 16 schools are just the beginning.”
ABOUT BIG BLUE SWIM SCHOOL
Big Blue Swim School was founded in 2009 by competitive swimmer Chris DeJong. The first location opened in Wilmette, Illinois, followed by Niles, Buffalo Grove and Hoffman Estates. In 2017, Level 5 Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in the brand, and is rolling out an aggressive strategy to grow through franchising to 150 locations by 2020. Big Blue Swim School’s real estate footprint, proprietary technology Lesson Buddy, coupled with its practice of employing full-time child engagement specialists that teach based on a proprietary distance-based swimming methodology sets Big Blue up for long-term success. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Big Blue Swim School, visit http://YourBigMomentStartsHere.com.
Big Blue Swim School is a SwimSwam Partner.