35 years ago today, Swimco was officially incorporated as a company by my mother, Corinne Forseth (in the above photo with me). She started the business because of the lack of availability of little black and gold striped suits for me and my brothers when we joined the South Y Barracudas swim team. For years, she acted as our team’s Equipment Manager and then, with some prompting, began a mail-order business in our basement, catering to swim clubs across the country.
The business gradually grew through word of mouth and eventually the office was moved out of our home to Phillips Park in Calgary. I joined my Mom in the business upon graduating from University, and eventually so did my husband Dave and my brother Steve. Retail stores were opened in Calgary and Vancouver, and Victoria, Kelowna and Red Deer followed.
Mom was an entrepreneurial woman who built the business by befriending her customers. We still hear stories from customers about buying a swimsuit in our basement! I remember opening our first retail location on Kensington Road in Calgary. Our staff list was short, but most were friends and are still in contact with us. My best friend Patti still works with us after 27 years, and several of Mom’s first customers and staff recently attended my brother’s wedding.
Our business grew along with our families; staff and otherwise. We had children (who often came to work with us when they were little) and we now remember many Swimco events by how old the kids were at that time. I remember my whole family working through the night to set up our first Vancouver location when I was pregnant with my son Brett, who is now almost 22 years old! My office was a nursery for many months, complete with toys and a mat on the floor for him to sleep on.
And now on Thursday May 13, our 35th Anniversary, we are opening our newest location in Coquitlam Centre, in Coquitlam B.C. The “family” is growing again!
Swimco has been an integral part of our family for most of our lives. We are so excited to share our celebration with you; our customers, our friends. Here are some fun things happening this week in celebration of our Anniversary:
- If you happen to be turning 35 on May 13, bring valid photo ID into any Swimco store and receive a free swimsuit of your choice, as our birthday gift to you!
- Enter to win a $350 Swimco shopping spree by filling out a ballot in-store. The contest runs from May 10-16th, with one winner selected from each store.
- Do you have a Swimco story from the early years? We’d love to hear from you. Email your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 16, as we will be awarding a $100 Swimco gift card for the best story. It’ll be fun to reminisce!
Please join us in celebrating Swimco’s 35th Anniversary. I look forward to hearing from you!