St. Louis builder attributes faith, quality people and products to longtime success
Photography by Travis Carroll
In 1985, Joan Struckhoff persuaded her husband Fran to purchase the pool division of the company for which she worked. At the time, Fran was working in sales in a different industry. “I said, ‘I really want to do this, but I’m going to need some help,’ ” says Joan Struckhoff. “He quit his other job, and he was very good about joining in and giving it his all.”
The Struckhoffs have owned Prestige Pools & Spas for 30 years and believe their faith in Jesus is what truly has sustained them. “He gives us strength and wisdom and daily meets all of our needs,” Struckhoff says.
“I give a lot of our success to our installation department, because we’ve got the same installers we had 30 years ago,” Struckhoff says, “Not too many people can say that. We have a few new helpers, but the main team, we still have them today. These guys were in their 20s and now they’re in their 50s. They need a little bit more help, but they’re very good at what they do.”
However long-serving the employee, Struckhoff is proud of the team at Prestige Pools & Spas. She praises each department for the way they treat the customers. The company’s service department has more than 15 vehicles and generates a lot of revenue both from taking care of existing customers and doing renovations.
Dan Boelhauf has been working at Prestige since 2002. He’d worked at a pool company during the summers while he was in high school, and applied for a job at Prestige after he graduated from college.
“When I was younger I wasn’t big on plans,” Boelhauf says. “I wasn’t looking at it long term. But the longer I stayed here, the more I understood it’s hard to find people you really enjoy working for…. This job is good, the people are good and I sell a product that is good. There’s no way you could talk me into leaving.”
Struckhoff is modest when explaining how Prestige keeps its employees around for a long time. She says they simply give credit, respect and acknowledgement where it is due. Boelhauf says the owner’s leadership plays a big role in making Prestige a great place to work.
“I haven’t heard of anybody else having better bosses,” Boelhauf says. “They’re very proud of their brand. And that’s what’s really cool. I don’t have quotas; I don’t have to push hard on customers because it’s all about quality and reputation, and it starts with them.”
Prestige has won hundreds of awards over the years from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. In the beginning, it was installing 20 to 25 in-ground pools each year, as well as above-ground pools. Now, the company doesn’t do above-ground pools (its spa division has taken off and virtually replaced above-ground models) but does 65 to 70 in-ground installations a year. Struckhoff doesn’t see the company expanding to do many more builds than that, but each year the designs become more intricate. She makes sure her employees get the proper training to stay on top of new techniques.
“Years ago, we did the cookie-cutter pools — the emeralds, the ovals,” Struckhoff says. “But now we do so many freeform designs that I never dreamt in my wildest dreams we’d be doing. And they’re beautiful.”