Unfortunately, our challenging economy has become such a consistent and accepted reality that, perhaps, the most difficult thing to take is any kind of encouraging news. Yet it appears—and I say this very, very quietly—that current trends may be cause for optimism. According to experts like the New York Times’ Nate Silver, and many others, job growth and a higher-than-anticipated rise in GDP has helped to create a more confident American consumer for the first time in years. Not only have “big-ticket” purchases, such as automobiles, have gone up, but there are even signs of recovery around the real estate market. Still, though some may allow themselves to be mildly hopeful, there is still quite a distance to go. For families from a range of economic strata, non-necessity budget elements—recreation, as a prime example—continue to require a thoughtful approach and innovative planning. Could it be that an old standard like the backyard swimming pool might the answer?
If at first it seems like too luxurious of a concept, consider this: a week-long trip to Bermuda for a family of four can easily exceed $5,000. A deluxe experience, surely, but when the week is over, it’s over. Alternatively, a pool offers lasting entertainment, season after season. In what is certainly still a tentative housing market, it offers a sound investment in bolstering property value. And as Chris Nejame, owner of Verbank’s Nejame Pool Specialists points out, a pool provides a venue for actual interactive family time, a feature which is at a premium in an increasingly virtual-centered world. “One thing’s for sure: A swimming pool will always bring a family together,” says Nejame.
In the mid-1960s, Nejame’s father was a pioneer in making swimming pools available and affordable for middle-class families in the Hudson Valley. After growing up in the family business, Nejame and wife Shelly have spent the past 30 years transforming their company into one that is as much a vehicle for artisanship as it is service provider. As his clientele has developed, Nejame has adapted his approach—drawing upon his extensive experience to create tailor-made, one-of-a-kind designs. “We’re creating backyard environments, rather than just selling pools—a place where you can escape to without leaving home,”
Though basic, steel above-ground pool kits are still an option (starting at less than $2,000), and are a certainly a worthwhile recreational investment, Nejame’s design services are far more extensive. Advanced technology and a wider range of product options allow for Nejame and his clients to let their imaginations run free, plotting virtual walkthroughs in 3D. Costs, of course, fluctuate with the complexity of the design, from a more straight-ahead decked wood pool, to a multi-tiered pool and spa (one that you can control from your iPhone!) Nejame estimates that costs can range from $20-$50K—yet the savings on travel alone should make it worth the consideration. NeJame Pool Specialists Nejamepools.com