Port Neches children create their own business to buy family pool, already eyeing plans for more

Published 12:30 am Sunday, July 16, 2023

PORT NECHES — Like many kids do, George and Treasa Gutierrez’s children asked their parents for a swimming pool.

“We had a pool before the (TPC Group) explosion,” said Treasa. “We had to take it down because we had to move out for a little bit. When we came back, we were going to set it up but our dog had chewed it up.”

The parents of 5 agreed with one condition — the children earn the money to purchase the pool.

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So last week, George Gutierrez Jr., 10, and his cousin Phillip Garcia, 12, went to work.

“We did basically a lemonade stand, but we started off with tea and snacks,” Phillip said.

Visiting from South Texas for the summer, Phillip knew they had to work quickly in order to make enough money.

Neither George nor Treasa expected to have a 12-foot by 24-foot by 52-foot pool in their backyard after just three days.

The kids raised enough to buy a 12-foot by 24-foot by 52-foot pool. (Monique Batson/The News)

“People would pass by and they’d have their arms up with their drinks, waving. They weren’t just standing still,” George said. “They were dancing. They worked for their money. We helped get everything ready, but it was all them. They used their own money to buy the stuff.”

Treasa told the children that they would purchase what they needed to start, but the children have to replenish supplies using their profits.

“It was funny,” said Maria Gutierrez, the kids’ grandmother. “If they’d give them a $10 bill, they would say, ‘do you need your change back?’”

But Dad set them straight.

“We were like, ‘no, you have to give them back their money. If they give you a tip, they give you a tip,’” he said.

When business was slow, George Jr. and Phillip traveled the neighborhood, offering to clean outside trashcans. One man noticed and offered the children an opportunity to do yard work and wash his car.

They eared $100.

By the third day, they had made $317.

“All of the community seemed really happy about the kids, seeing them out there instead of money being given to them,” Treasa said. “They were out there working for their money, and I think that was cool.”

But $317 doesn’t buy a pool as large as the Gutierrez family now has. As of Friday, pools with the same dimensions and body style were priced at more than $1,000 on Walmart’s website.

So mom went searching on Facebook Marketplace and found a pool that needed a slight bit of work.

“It’s a big pool and I couldn’t pass it up,” she said. “The kids are a little down about it because we’re still fixing it but I told them it’s worth the wait.”

They’ve replaced the pump and are working quickly to make the necessary repairs so Phillip can enjoy it before he returns home at the end of the month.

“I think the adults are more excited than the kids because we understand,” Treasa said, with her husband quickly adding, “Once they start doing cannonballs, they’ll know.”

Maria is excited, as well.

“I stepped in it,” the grandmother said. “Once they fill it up, I’m going to have to tippy-toe.”

Now that the children know how to earn money to get what they want, they already know what they want to work for next summer.

“A deck,” Phillip said.