Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, dubbed one of the world’s largest swim franchises, is expanding its Mesa headquarters to a larger location within the city.
Founded in 1991, the swim franchise broke ground earlier this year on its new 12,000 sq. ft. headquarters office at 1110 S. Greenfield Road, citing a growing demand. The current location is at 1122 S. Greenfield Road.
Aqua-Tots, which in April opened its 100th location worldwide — offers year-round indoor swim instruction, community outreach and drowning-prevention education to children as young as 4 months.
“It’s a little overwhelming at times. We don’t often look up and celebrate — but it feels good,” said Aqua-Tots Co-Founder Paul Preston. “We love bringing people from all over the world into Mesa.
“We’re showing off our city with the people, the hospitality and how business-friendly we are, and then also solidifying ourselves to keep teaching great quality swim lessons.”
The new facility will stand in front of the flagship Aqua-Tots Swim Schools location on Greenfield Road and Southern Avenue and will boast 6,000 square feet for office space and 6,000 square feet for Uncle Bear’s Grill and Tap.
The building will also serve as a site for franchise-training, including classroom time for those seeking to open their own branches elsewhere.
“Our mission is to make the communities we’re in better,” said Preston. “On the franchising side, we love helping people live their dreams of opening their own business. When you own a franchise, you’re not alone — you have a whole team of people supporting you.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,500 drowning-related deaths occur in the United States each year — giving the company even more fuel to continue to grow locally, nationally and internationally, Preston added.
In Arizona, at least 25 kids ages 5 and under have died from drowning each year since 2013.
“We’re in the business of saving kids,” Preston said. “The ABCs of water safety are: Adult supervision, Barriers…and to take Classes — whether with us, or someone else.”
Aqua-Tots was founded in Scottsdale by Ron and Jane Sciarro after the pair identified “few quality swim programs” for parents to enroll their children in.
What started as a seasonal, learn-to-swim operation, later turned into a year-round business with a comprehensive training curriculum — geared toward meeting the needs of both children and parents — and state-of-the-art training centers.
The founders partnered with Paul and Heather Preston to create the beginning stages of the franchise model, forming “Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.” In 2005, they created their first indoor facility to serve the Metropolitan Phoenix area.
The company now operates in 14 countries on three different continents.
“We love being in Mesa and the East Valley,” said Preston. “I think it’s a great place to do business and great place to serve our community and the neighbors that we’re here with.”
The new headquarters will be completed this fall.