In 1992, The Lifeguard Store concept was first conceived revealed at a lifeguard instructor course in Hong Kong. While teaching the course, Mark Oostman discovered the lack of proper safety equipment and a relevant source to provide it. After returning to the States, Mark started the process of contacting manufacturers to set up an international distribution network.
Mark’s passion for aquatic safety started in 1987 at Centennial Beach, Naperville, Illinois while lifeguarding as a summer job. Mark then went on to Northern Illinois University where he was a nationally ranked swimmer. In 1992, Mark was offered a position to travel worldwide evaluating aquatic facilities. This eventually led him to Hong Kong where The Lifeguard Store vision was conceived.
In 1994, after working professionally in the aquatic safety environment for seven years, Mark started The Lifeguard Store in the basement of his 1887 historic home in Bloomington, Illinois. Seventeen years and four buildings later, we are now located in a 35,000-square-foot facility on 16 acres in Normal, Illinois. It has been a long journey, through recessions and strong economic times. We have weathered many storms and have secured ourselves as a leader in the industry.
The Lifeguard Store has a second company, The Swim Team Store, which provides swimsuits, equipment, and apparel to swim teams all over the country. The Swim Team Store is located in Wheeling, Illinois in the Chicago suburbs and has seen tremendous growth these past two years. The Swim Team Store is headquartered out of the Normal, Illinois location.
Combined, both companies operate with approximately 50+ employees. The Executive Staff consists of Mark Oostman—CEO and Amy Hilten—COO, waterpark/pool management sales.This staff has a strong relationship and provides great leadership for both companies.
Our continued efforts and excitement for the aquatics world has and will continue to keep The Lifeguard Store a leader in the industry.