Client Name: Karen Larson
Business Name: Soake Pools
Business Website:
Industry: Manufacturing
Location: Pembroke, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Warren Daniel

soake pools client story

Vacation bliss is where the story of Soake Pools in Pembroke, NH begins. As many small business owners would agree, their ideal customers are essentially a previous version of themselves, and that could not be truer for Soake Pools owners Karen and Brian Larson.  

The couple had been away on vacation in Stowe, Vermont and although it was the middle of winter, they fell in love with the large, heated outdoor pool. Karen reflects, “it was the first time we'd ever been in an outdoor swimming pool that was heated like that, that wasn't a hot tub. And it was just magic.”  Her husband, Brian, was officially hooked and ready to get one for their house, just smaller, more like a plunge pool. 

When the Larsons returned home, Brian went shopping. What he quickly learned though was that just because they wanted something smaller, it didn’t mean it was cheaper. While it was a little less concrete, all the other work and crew requirements were the same as a large pool. “So, the price of that pool was just really expensive,” explains Karen. “And that's what really motivated Brian to say, ‘well, let's create this in our yard in a small pool, that's not $150,000 just for the pool. And that was really when he set out to figure out how to do it.” 

Figure it out, they did. In 2013, before they launched their company, the Larsons built their first plunge pool for their own backyard to test it out and prove the concept. After enjoying it on their own, they invited friends and family over to give it a try, and the pool was a hit! People loved the look, the size and couldn’t believe it could be used all winter. 

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Soake Pools launched in 2014, manufacturing and delivering precast concrete plunge pools all over the United States, the first to offer such a product and service, and one of only a few today. According to the Soake Pools website, “Soake Pools are revolutionary, space-saving plunge pools that combine the best of a pool and a hot tub, can be installed in just days, and provide year-round enjoyment.”  An amazing feat for two people who just wanted to have a piece of their vacation at home. Thankfully, they had the support of NH SBDC. 

Karen knew NH SBDC Business Advisor Warren Daniel through mutual friends and from her previous business.  Warren helped Karen back then, so she reached out to him again for Soake Pools.  She knew if they were going to start this new business, they’d want Warren by their side.  

Warren helped them with projections to start, which Karen says was important for them the first couple of years. He provided a detailed spreadsheet that Karen says was “very reassuring to be able to look at those numbers and then exceed them and have a roadmap.”  

soake pools

As Soake Pools grew, Warren’s help continued to be valuable. They started out renting a tiny warehouse and when they needed something bigger, Warren provided bank introductions, helped them with the SBA 504 loan, and connected them with resources and contacts. “He was very supportive and helpful during that time when we were really growing,” says Karen.  

Karen says Warren is “an awesome individual. He’s a good listener.” She appreciated that he always seemed to know when he could be helpful based on his own experiences and when it would be best to introduce her to someone else who might be better suited to guide her. “He was at times a sounding board, and at times, the voice of reason,” says Karen. “He was a was a really great mentor and advisor at the time.” 

Karen goes on to share about the NH SBDC as a whole saying,

“having the experience of a team of people that had a wide variety of knowledge, was just so reassuring. It didn't mean it wasn't scary. It didn't mean we didn't have to work hard. But we did have a team of experts who had done a lot of really impressive things saying, ‘Hey, I think you're doing the right thing here, you're moving in the right direction.'” 

Currently the company is selling nationally with territory directors and installation partners throughout the country. Their attention to detail has paid off as they are becoming a brand name in the outdoor home recreation and design market. They have appeared in many national newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Architectural Digest.

As for the future of Soake Pools, Karen says “We are just scratching the surface of the potential throughout the US. We have grown a lot in 8 years and continue to grow every month, every year! So excited to be on this journey!