Pacing the Growth of your Franchise with Chris and Andrew McCuiston of Goldfish Swim School

Chris and Andrew McCuiston headshot

Chris McCuiston, with the help of his wife and high school sweetheart, Jenny McCuiston, co-founded Goldfish Swim School in 2006 in their hometown of Birmingham, Michigan. Both he and Jenny realized the lack of quality swim lessons in the area and using his degree in finance from Michigan State University, and her background as a U.S. Olympic Trial qualifier in swimming, the two set out to create a swim school that was fun, approachable and focused on water safety. Now with 86 schools nationwide (and one in Canada), following its foray into franchising in 2009, Goldfish Swim School is on track for continued advancement with 119 additional locations in development.

Andrew McCuiston, President of Goldfish Swim School, joined his brother (Chris) and sister-in-law, Jenny, in their mission in 2008. At the time, Andrew was working as a customer service manager for a water bottling company in Southern California. After stopping home in Birmingham on his way back from a business trip to New York, he knew he wanted to be part of his family’s growing business and quit his job 48 hours later. Four months later he was at Goldfish full time and helped to launch the brand’s franchise opportunity in 2009. Since then he’s helped their many locations open through their robust franchise opportunity.

Key Takeaways:

[0:18] Today’s episode of Franchise Euphoria is brought to you by, a leading resource in the franchise space. Head over to learn more!

[0:59] Josh introduces today’s guests, Chris and Andrew McCuiston, the franchisors for Goldfish Swim School.

[3:06] Josh welcomes Chris and Andrew to Franchise Euphoria.

[6:51] Currently, the only corporate location is Goldfish’s original location which was opened in 2006.

[8:13] When Goldfish first opened their doors, they had about 500 students enrolled in their programs and they often start kids in their programs as young as three months old.

[11:25] The company that assisted Goldfish with their initial franchising efforts gave them some false expectations for the growth of their franchise.

[13:59] Goldfish has really focused on honing their brand and tweaking it through the years to give off the best image and culture for their clients.

[15:22] One of the main goals Goldfish has tried to maintain is being a premier swim brand while also not being unnecessarily expensive and therefore be inclusive to families of all types.

[17:08] For Andrew, one of the biggest challenges he faced when joining the Goldfish team was operating within a family business to a certain degree.

[21:03] Chris reflects on the benefits of how they stood firm on their beliefs and values through the franchising process which paid off in the end despite some frustrating growth periods where they could have easily folded and made concessions.

[24:13] Goldfish’s current preference is to have multi-unit franchisees that has lived and grown up in a specific market and can build a team within the area.

[25:37] After years of working remotely, Goldfish just established their corporate headquarters which makes business operations easy to carry out and ultimately better services the franchisees.

[27:12] Goldfish currently has 89 locations open with over a hundred more currently signed on to open locations in the future.

[29:06] You can learn more about Goldfish Swim School by visiting their Instagram profile, Facebook page, or their website (all linked below).

[30:32] Thanks for listening, and please, reach out to Josh anytime through email at If you enjoyed this interview, please leave us a review on iTunes.


Mentioned in This Episode:

About the author, Josh

Josh Brown is a franchise and entrepreneurial attorney that helps buyers, owners, and expansion-minded businesses find success through franchising. When not working on his two businesses, you can find him on the golf course or spending time with his wife and three beautiful daughters.

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