Retaining the lifeblood of business during difficult times
Roseville, CA- Steve Wallen Swim School has been closed since March 17, when federal guidance was issued discouraging convenings of ten or more people in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Like many small businesses, Steve Wallen Swim School, commonly referred to as SWSS, was faced with a tough decision: lay off their 53 employees at their Roseville and El Dorado Hills locations or keep them employed and on payroll despite all loss of income for the business. “Our employees are the lifeblood of our business,” said owner Kaleb Wallen. “We knew we had to do everything we could to support them through this challenging time, even if it meant putting the business and ourselves in a tight spot short term.”
Since closing two months ago, Kaleb and co-owners Steve Wallen and Mel Amatulli have not laid off a single employee. Furthermore, they have committed to paying each of their 53 employees 100% of their pay through the entirety of the school’s closure. “Ultimately, the decision was clear. We have a responsibility to our customers and our employees. Our employees provide amazing swim instruction day in and day out that keeps our communities safe – we are nothing without them. We owe it to our employees to be there for them when times get tough, and we owe it to our customers to ensure the swim instructors they trust with the safety of their children are there for them when we eventually reopen.”
While there is never a good time to shut down a business, the months leading up to summer are the busiest for SWSS as families enroll their children in swim lessons to get ready for summers filled with pool parties and lake activities. “The busy pre-summer months are crucial to balancing out the less busy fall and winter months. The loss of business during these critical months will be felt,” explained Mel.
Water Safety & Swim Instruction
Steve Wallen and son Kaleb Wallen opened Steve Wallen Swim School’s El Dorado Hills location in 2008 after years of teaching lessons in their backyard pool in Folsom. The goal: to bring high-quality swim instruction and water safety skills to a community they loved and had been part of for decades. In 2018, Steve and Kaleb expanded their business, opening a second location in Roseville, bringing on long time employee and swim instructor Mel Amatulli as a co-owner.
While loss of business presents a multitude of challenges, SWSS’s primary concern is time lost for kids who are not water safe and need to be for summer. “Water safety is the most important skill we teach,” said Steve. “Child drownings are at their highest during the summer months, and the longer swim schools across the state, nation, and world are closed, the greater the risk for kids.”
Steve Wallen Swim School hopes to be back to serving their community soon. In the meantime, their employees are grateful for their employer’s generosity. “This is an incredibly stressful time for everyone. The fact that my daughter and I have not had to worry about paying our bills, or having a job to return to once this mess is all over has been a huge comfort,” said SWSS employee Tracy Eveland whose daughter Hannah is also employed by Steve Wallen Swim School. “You look around and see people getting laid off left and right and it’s scary. Small businesses are being hit hard by the economic shutdown, and it would have been easy for Steve, Kaleb, and Mel to put staff on the back burner in these uncertain times. I feel incredibly lucky to work for a business that truly values their employees and is willing to put their money where their mouth is. SWSS is a family run operation and being treated like a part of that family, as an employee, is something really special.”
June 1 Reopening Planned
Getting back into the swim of things, SWSS along with much of Placer County is gearing up to welcome back the community to its facilities. Just in time before summer officially kicks-off, they are currently planning to splash back into business with lessons resuming on June 1.
To learn about Steve Wallen Swim School or to get started, visit https://www.wallenswim.com/locations/roseville/
About Steve Wallen Swim School
A state-of-the-art indoor and year-round swim school in Roseville that offers a variety of fun and safe water programs.
Swim Programs / Swim Clinics / Swim Parties / Family Swim / Free Trial Class
Steve Wallen Swim School
10608 Industrial Ave, Suite 150