Entrepreneur seeking pool launches company instead

By Hollie Deese
Photography by Katelyn Brown

Amanda Stone isn’t the kind of person who takes no for the first and final answer — she likes to do her research to at least make sure there isn’t another option. So when she was told the sloped lot of her new Brentwood home would not be able to accommodate a pool, the wheels begin spinning for the natural problem solver.

“I’m a believer that if someone wants something, then they deserve a solution if they’re willing to get creative and it’s something that’s important to them,” Stone says.

So for the past five years Stone has done research on traditional pools, but also on smaller plunge pools after first being introduced to one at a friend’s lake house. She was immediately taken with their efficiency and ease of installation and began to dive deeper about them.

“I was totally fascinated by the idea that you can enjoy them three or four seasons of the year, because they’re more efficient to heat and cool,” she says. “Then it almost became a hobby of mine to just research. Where did somebody even get a small pool? What does that process look like vs. a normal pool? And this obsession led me to finding my first couple of suppliers.”

The Oklahoma native had moved to Nashville while attending Vanderbilt University, and she launched her first company, A&M Agency, 10 years ago. Stone created Palmingo Pools just as she had started to shift away from A&M’s core of event marketing, when the pandemic hit, which also happened to be a boon to the pool industry.

“I really began laying the groundwork about a year ago when I was going through a lot of change in my other business,” she says. “Fortunately, with A&M we had already been branching out from doing just events to doing more broad types of marketing. My former business partner had her first baby and decided to step away from working for the time being. So while we were going through so much change with A&M, it ultimately ended up enabling me to rebuild our team in a way that gave me this new headspace and room to get creative in another space.”

Stone found the right suppliers and created Palmingo Pools to give more people the opportunity to enjoy time outside together in their own pool. Most pools in Middle Tennessee take over a year to build — if the buyer can manage to secure an available contractor — and cost $150,000 or more. Stone sought to simplify the process, reduce maintenance and deliver a more affordable, yet high-end design option.

“I really gravitate toward innovation, and I’ve noticed that some of my early clients tend to be entrepreneurial themselves, people who love thinking outside the box and people who love being on the front end of an emerging trend,” Stone says. “Once I came across a plunge pool, which can be installed in even the most challenging settings, I knew I had found a solution.”

The full process of installing a plunge pool — crafted from prefabricated concrete, converted shipping containers or stainless steel — takes five months, with much of that timeframe allocated for plans, permits and production. Plunge pools can be installed in-ground, semi-elevated or fully elevated — or even built into a deck or rooftop.

Palmingo Pools range from 5 feet by nearly 9 feet to 12 feet by 40 feet in size, with a starting price of $70,000. Stone works hand in hand with partners and suppliers on everything from excavation and concrete work to plumbing and landscape architecture. The ground preparation requires approximately two weeks, while the pool placement takes place in a single day.

Since the soft launch of sales earlier this year, she is already contracted on 10 pools across Middle Tennessee, plus more in Knoxville and Memphis. People have been drawn to the fact they can still have a yard and not have it totally dominated by the pool.

“It saves space while also maximizing use and fun,” she says. “You don’t have to pick between the pool and the rest of the backyard.”

And while she still doesn’t have a pool of her own, it’s only a matter of time. It will be included in the landscape architecture plan when she and her husband break ground on a renovation in 2023. With a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and a third girl due in November, they wanted to hold off on construction until they didn’t have a newborn at home.

“I don’t think I ever wanted to admit how important a pool is to me, because I know what an investment it can be,” Stone says. “But the more I thought about it, and then having my own kids, I started to really think about what I want their summers to look like, I just couldn’t leave the pool idea behind.”