Colorado Pool and Spa Scapes uses employee ownership to pave the way for employees to prosper

Colorado Pool and Spa Scapes celebrated a conversion to an employee stock ownership plan on April 1, 2021. Initially, the founders started bringing in long-term employees as partners. As the company grew, it became apparent that approach could not be sustained with more career and long-term employees joining the team. The company found employee ownership to be the solution.

Based in Avon and Glenwood Springs, Colorado Pool and Spa Scapes specializes in custom pool design, construction and renovation, portable hot tub sales and installation and pool and hot tub service, repair and maintenance. 

The company originally offered a simple IRA plan with matching prior to their recent conversion. The choice of an employee stock ownership plan versus other structures was made easier due to the incredible tax advantages for the company. Since the conversion, the company has seen a lot more participation in the retirement plan from their employees. 

Paula Cross, Chief Financial Officer at Colorado Pool and Spa Scapes, notes that creating education around employee ownership for employees proves to be an ongoing project. Cross developed a presentation to use to educate their employees at meetings, offering the information as simple and digestible as possible. Cross has learned from peers in the space that reiteration and time are key to cultivate that culture of ownership amongst employees. 

For Cross, the most surprising aspect of the employee ownership conversion process was realizing although she was deeply immersed in the process, the development of the employee-owned culture would take many years. Cross was ecstatic about the conversion and knew it to be a big, amazing opportunity, while for employees, it was a new world and they would need to be taught about the changes. 

“I was raised in an entrepreneurial home and I believe that entrepreneurial spirit can be enlivened with the employee ownership option,” says Cross. “It can make some of the best employees and help make decisions at every level of the organization. It can bring that potential of our employees up to a higher level.”

For Colorado Pool and Spa Scapes, employee ownership was transformational to the company culture and spirit of the employees. Additionally, the tax benefits associated with the employee stock ownership plan were a game changer for the company. 

“Be patient with yourself during the employee ownership conversion. It’s like learning a new language and there is a lot to learn but it is well worth it,” Cross advises. 

On October 14, Governor Polis visited Colorado Pool and Spa Scapes to celebrate Employee Ownership Month and their recent conversion to employee stock ownership plan. 

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