From left, Jan and Becky Thomas are leaving the swim instruction business and shifting to business and motivational consulting. Photo contributed by Jan Thomas
Written by The Business Journal Staff
The Jan Thomas Swim School in Clovis — the place where generations of local families learned to swim — is ending operations after 59 years.
The business started with a business card that read “Has swim suit, will travel.” And it was true — Jan Thomas started doing private lessons at area pools before building her own pool. Eventually, Jan and husband Blayne bought 2.5 acres in Clovis, on Willow Avenue north of Alluvial Avenue. It was rural at the time, but Clovis has slowly crept northward to meet the facility.
Blayne Thomas passed away several year ago, and the couple’s daughter Becky has been involved in the swim school for 31 years — 26 years as a partner.
“Teaching children to swim has been our life for the past 59 years,” Jan Thomas said in a Facebook post, “and without a doubt we will miss loving, instructing, praising, and turning non swimmers into true champions. It has been our passion and love for most of our lives. We will miss each of our swimmers, their wonderful parents, and the best staff on the planet, but it is time to pivot in a different direction and help in other ways.”
Around 70 comments were left on the Facebook post, which went live around 8:30 a.m. Monday. One person remarked that three generations of her family had learned to swim at the facility.
The Jan Thomas Swim School — which has employed more than 600 people in its time — will host instruction through the next two weeks.
“Feel free to swing by and say hello, take a picture and join in celebrating our wonderful journey and the adventure ahead for us,” Jan said in the post. “We are living the American Dream; we couldn’t be more grateful and more excited for what the future holds.”
This is actually a transition for Jan and Becky, who plan on offering consultation work and motivational training for other local businesses.
They will be offering one complimentary session for businesses or schools in the area, according to their Facebook post.
The second generation family business was a 2014 finalist for the California Family Business Award presented by the Institute for Family Business of the Craig School of Business at Fresno State.