Krista Allen and Ally Brabson are clearly in the right line of work. The two, a couple in business and in life, own Aquantatious Pool Pros, a full- service pool company. Get them started talking about pools, and the conversation quickly takes a decidedly wonky turn into the world of pool construction and maintenance.
“I’d use quartz; it’s durable enough to last 20 years or more,” Brabson said when asked what her dream pool would look like.
“It would have to be a white or a light blue,” Allen chimed in.
“No, I was thinking of a darker finish!” Brabson rejoins. (The darker finish, they explain, makes it harder to see leaves and dirt that can end up on a pool’s bottom, particularly if there are trees hanging over the pool).
They do, however, agree it would have to be big enough to play in. Brabson and Allen met through mutual friends when they were both newcomers to Austin. Allen, who had been in the pool business in Houston for 10 years before moving to Austin, had another business partner initially. But the two didn’t have a great professional match, so Allen decided to take the business in another direction. Meanwhile, she had been working on and off with Brabson and knew they had a good business relationship in addition to their romantic relationship.
“I asked her if she wanted to be business partner,” Allen said. “We were like ‘let’s do this,’ and here we are. And I could not have found a better partner…if there’s something I’m not thinking of, Ally’s right there, and vice-versa.”
Together, they build, repair, renovate and maintain pools and try to take as eco-friendly an approach as possible to their work.
“I know that sounds crazy when you think of pool chemicals, but there are ways around it,” Allen said. “Number one is keeping your filter clean, which means we use less chemicals. A salt pool is a popular way to use less chemicals too…so there are lots of good things we can do to introduce eco-friendly service. If clients are interested, we certainly like to steer them in the direction of helping save Mother Earth. And also with children, we never go into a backyard and throw a bunch of (chemicals) in a pool and walk off…we have a child together, we wouldn’t want our kids swimming in a chemical bath.”
Drought, an omnipresent condition in Central Texas, also impacts the pool business, but not detrimentally. Allen and Brabson continually advise their clients about how to best manage their pools and comply with water restrictions when they arise.
For both of them, working with clients on a regular basis is the best part of the job.
“Keeping up with equipment regularly for clients, that’s where we like to focus,” said Brabson. “The building and renovating are like icing on the cake. We know what we’re doing and we’re good at it, and we like having a continuous relationship with clients. We like getting to know them.”
No longer newcomers to Austin, both Allen and Brabson say they love the weird and outdoorsy culture of the city. Brabson, who had previously lived in a rural community, said to make the shift to a gay-friendly town was huge for her.
“At the one and only gay bar (in the town where she previously lived), the only way you could go was if a member recommended you, and then a committee recommended you. Then you’d have a number, and when you went into the club, they’d have to look you up,” Brabson described. “There was a lot of harassment, people tried to burn that club down when they found out it was gay. Moving here and seeing same-sex couples and families was inspirational.”