Big Blue Swim School, one of the nation's fastest growing swim school franchises, has announced the appointment of real estate industry veteran Edgar Cepuritis as the brand's West Coast and South real estate lead.
Cepuritis will play an instrumental role in the brand's efforts to open 170 locations by 2025.
Cepuritis has led an impressive career in real estate. Over the last 30 years, he has worked as a broker, leasing manager, real estate manager, vice president of real estate, owner, and consultant for a range of emerging and growing brands, including Cafe Zupas, Noodles & Co., Potbelly Sandwich Works, Einstein Bagels, and Kinko's.
Cepuritis's career highlights include opening 265 stores in a six-and-a-half year period at Potbelly, opening 100 stores for Noodles & Co. just before its IPO, and overseeing a 20% annual new-store growth rate with Cafe Zupas.
"I have been running development for various retail and restaurant concepts since the late '90s, with experience throughout the country," said Cepuritis. "I am excited to bring that expertise to Big Blue Swim School and help the brand grow its portfolio on the West Coast and in Texas."
Founded by U.S. National Champion swimmer Chris DeJong, Big Blue Swim School takes a holistic approach to swim instruction, helping students develop critical life skills, including confidence and self-esteem. The brand is leveraging an experienced leadership team and solid investment model to emerge as a leader in the swim school industry.
"As we gear up for massive expansion over the next decade, Edgar will be instrumental in finding the perfect real estate for our stores, helping our franchise partners become ingrained in their communities and putting locations in the path of least resistance for our future customers," said Big Blue CEO, Scott Sanders.
Real estate has always played a critical role in Big Blue's business model, and Sanders says the brand is well positioned to take full advantage of a new real estate landscape marked by uncommon opportunities.
"The move to e-commerce, which has accelerated over recent years and is now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced several big box retailers into systemwide closures," said Sanders. "This has enabled Big Blue to source opportunities for spaces that did not previously exist, and it has created the ability to grow the brand quickly across a wider variety of cities and locations."
Unlike many of its competitors, who often default to the least expensive real estate options, Big Blue sources only Class A real estate. The brand utilizes a data-driven real estate selection process to find sites that align seamlessly with clients' daily routines, supporting overall convenience and increasing brand awareness.
The franchise has also proven to be a strong prospect for commercial-property landlords because Big Blue brings families to their properties on a consistent basis. Big Blue is an experiential brand that teaches a vital life skill that can not be replicated online and is largely recession-resistant.
In his role, Cepuritis helps franchise partners leverage this Amazon-resistant and data-driven real estate strategy and promote franchise growth on the West Coast and in Texas.
The Big Blue team has identified the potential for 50 new sites across California, with the majority of sites to be located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. Big Blue has already signed a franchise agreement for three stores in Austin, Texas, and the brand plans to add approximately 50 locations in the Lone Star State over the next five years, with sights set on expanding in the Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio markets, along with closing out Austin.
With a unique concept and the addition of Cepuritis as the brand's real estate lead in prime markets across the country, Big Blue is in a strong position to fulfill its goal of growing to open 170 units by 2025.
ABOUT BIG BLUE SWIM SCHOOL
Big Blue Swim School was founded in 2009 by competitive swimmer Chris DeJong. The first location opened in Wilmette, Illinois, followed by four additional Chicagoland schools. In 2017, Level 5 Capital Partners acquired a stake in the brand. In 2020, the brand expanded its presence to Atlanta. Big Blue is currently growing through franchising with plans to have a minimum of 150 pools sold by the end of 2021. Big Blue Swim School's real estate expertise, strong brand, proprietary technology, and leadership support, coupled with its best-in-class consumer offerings, position its franchise partners for long-term success. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Big Blue Swim School, visit https://YourBigMomentStartsHere.com.