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How We Became SoCal’s Alternative to “Big Box” Swimming Pool Builders

How many southern California swimming pool owners love their pools but not their contractors?

In Granite Pools and Spas founder Dean Barker’s experience, far too many. That’s why he set out to make the pool buying and building experience as refreshing and enjoyable as a swimming pool itself.

Roots in Swimming Pool Design

Dean Barker’s began his storied career in swimming pool design and construction in 1987, developing his current high standards for quality, integrity and craftsmanship with a smaller pool-building firm in Yorba Linda, California.

In just a few short years Dean honed his design and construction skills to a point that caught the attention of a much larger, high-volume pool building company, which was cranking out an astonishing 250 pools each year.

Dean recalls having mixed feelings when the mammoth pool company approached him about employment.

“It was an incredible opportunity that was difficult to pass up,” Dean says. “Very few guys build that many pools in a whole career, let alone a single year. I learned so much, so quickly… including processes and practices that I still use today to save our own customers time and money.”

Committed to Pool-Building Integrity

But in the midst of all that volume Dean began to notice that quality and attention to detail had begun to slip.

“It wasn’t on every job, but it was becoming more noticeable,” he notes, adding that “When you have that many projects going simultaneously, it’s difficult to maintain professional quality in everything.”

Eager to return to a more manageable work pace, Dean earned his C53 Swimming Pool Contractor’s license in 1994, with the intent of someday opening his own southern California pool-building business. He left the production pool builder a few years later to help a friend start a new swimming pool company in neighboring Anaheim Hills.

Leading-Edge Swimming Pool Designs

In his new role as Lead Designer, Dean enjoyed unprecedented creative freedom. By combining quality standards that had become second nature, with an aptitude for inspired design, Dean became one of Southern California’s most imaginative swimming pool creators,  producing unique designs that others could only aspire to, including: freeform natural pools, rim-over and hillside pools, and custom pools carved from stone.

“I credit the owner, my friend Mick, for encouraging me to push the creative envelope, with shapes, lighting, landscaping and other elements of pool design,” Dean says.  “He ingrained a ‘quality-and-service-first’ mentality throughout the entire company. Mick walked the talk and our success and reputation among customers proved that his approach definitely worked.”

“Let Quality Be Your Signature”

Nearly twenty years after hiring Dean, Mick retired from swimming pool construction, urging his good friend to carry on their decades-long commitment to integrity, creativity, and craftsmanship.

“Let quality be your signature,” Dean recalls Mick saying, “And don’t get so big and so busy that you can’t talk with customers regularly and let them know what’s happening.”

And that’s how Dean Barker’s Granite Pools and Spas became southern California’s big-box swimming pool alternative.

Contractors State License Board license number C53-691888.

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