BRIDGEWATER, NJ — The survival outlook for the Somerset Hills Swim Club looked very grim amid the coronavirus pandemic. Yet the club adapted and found creative ways to keep revenue and guests coming in. Now the swim club is doing better than ever, so good they can give back to the community.
"It was grim. We had a huge fear that we wouldn't be able to open our doors," said Stacy Newsome, co-president of the Somerset Hills Swim Club, at 19 Arthur Road, in Bridgewater.
Then when Gov. Phil Murphy announced pools could reopen on June 22, Newsome and Aimée Lyons, co-president, scrambled to set safety policies and open.
The club set up a special membership plan for 2020, payment plans, and implemented a whole new list of policies and procedures to keep everyone safe. Some of those policies included having members bring their own chairs, implementing a touch-free sign-in process using QR codes, closing the playground, and having cleaning procedures every 50 minutes.
Even reopening late in the swim season, Newsome said there was still a lot of fear surrounding COVID-19 and many members ended up pausing their memberships. With the amount of funding diminishing, the club got creative.
"We had to think outside of the box, we are a social club, not just a swim club," Newsome said.
The club began hosting family-friendly events that would still allow social distancing such as laser tag, a mask decorating event, BBQ poolside service nights, and more.
Because of their innovative ideas, Somerset Hills Board Member Stephen Lavender said 2020 was "hands down the biggest recruitment year."
"This year we recruited more new members than in the last 10 years," Lavender said.
To share their success with the community the club is hosting a Towel Drive benefiting the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter. Towels will be collected in bins at the club on the back patio from Friday through Sept. 27. Monetary donations will also be accepted for the shelter.
"We went from fear of not opening to opening in several days to now profitable and being able to share back with the community," Newsome said.
The pool will remain open throughout September and is still accepting memberships. The club will be hosting more social distance themed nights including fire pit nights and concerts.
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