Ray and Cheryl Stancill have successfully expanded a loving marriage into a well-developed business partnership. The two spent more than 20 years in western Maryland in the pool industry — a career that came seemingly naturally with Ray Stancill’s experience in construction.
Cheryl Stancill and her husband purchased an existing pool business, specializing in in-ground linings, and before long, they expanded more and more, until they were signing contracts for full installation and services. Now, the duo, along with a new crew, is hoping to bring the same features that they’ve been providing for so long to southern Delaware, and across the tri-state region.
Based out of Frederick County, Md., with their former company, Tricounty Pools, they serviced the metropolitan areas of Washington and Baltimore, installing roughly 75 pools each year.
“We’ve had a turnkey operation,” Cheryl Stancill said. “We do everything from start to finish. One call does it all. Some companies will help from opening the pool to closing it for the season. We do everything.”
Now in Sussex County, their Selbyville-based Delmarva Pools and Spas LLC provides service, maintenance, chemicals and accessories. They can even get new pool and spa owners started with installation of vinyl and gunite custom concrete pools.
However, it is their fiberglass styles that are among their most outstanding pieces.
“A lot of people see a concrete pool and think that it’s the most durable,” said Cheryl Stancill. “It is really good, but fiberglass is really the more practical way to go — long-term durability, day-to-day easy maintenance, less chemicals to utilize, and you don’t have to replace lining or grout.”
Working closely with Composite Pool Corporation (CPC), the Stancills are looking to bring their services throughout the lower Delaware region and surrounding areas. They are a licensed home improvement business in Maryland, though that title is not required in the state of Delaware.
The couple had often vacationed in at the Delaware shore and purchased a home in Bethany Beach nearly 10 years ago. “We knew this area,” she said, “and we fell in love with it. I knew that this is where we wanted to come, eventually.”
The Stancills relocated to southern Delaware with the intention of “semi-retirement,” but that ambition was cut short.
“Once we had moved into this area,” Cheryl Stancill explained, “the realization came that we wanted to jump back in to the pool industry. We felt in our minds that there was an opportunity to present a full line of pools to this area, and the financing was available.”
With their prior experience spanning two decades, Delmarva Pools and Spas was born. The Stancills were able to incorporate their new name with their local coping business, a necessary feature for any pool manufacturer.
“It was almost instinctive,” she added, addressing the start of Delmarva Pools and Spas. “We looked at the demographics down here and decided to try and do this. We’ve been doing it for so long, it’s pretty much in our blood.”
Running a business is never an easy task, but being the new kids on the block hardly improves matter. To stand a cut above the rest, Cheryl Stancill is taking a customer-friendly approach, while acknowledging the time she and her husband have put into the business.
“Ray and I aren’t just an old couple who decided to buy a pool company. We know how this works,” she said. “Our intention here is to be a full-service, quality company. You try to differentiate yourself from all the rest, and what sets us apart from others is that we’re with you every step of the way. When somebody calls, we’re calling them back that day. When we say we’re going to be there, we’re going to do everything in our power to fulfill that promise.”
Settling in to a new area wasn’t her only concern. Today’s real estate market has had a crucial impact on her line of work. “It’s been a rough year for the pool business,” said Cheryl Stancill. “There’s a lot that trickles down from the housing market — painters and carpenters, windows, siding... It all adversely affects our business.”
To help ease in as the new guys in town, the company has introduced an attractive side to the pool community: spas. Delmarva has joined with Masters Spas for a high-quality spa line, and Riviera Spas for budget-minded customers as their two primary contract installers.
Tony Pleasanton, one of the new members on board at Delmarva, has been specializing in spas for 18 years. “It’s really around this time when people start closing their pools and turning to spas,” he said. “They’re always a great addition for anyone, and they can add a lot to a home. They bring a lot of comfort to people.”
The clientele who come to Delmarva Pools and Spas runs the gamut, from large families to individuals. “Pools are a great means of fun and relaxation,” said Cheryl Stancill. “A lot of people use them for exercise, and for therapeutic reasons, too. Water therapy is the best form of low-impact exercise you can find. Also, teachers are among our most qualified candidates, because of all the time they have off in the summer.”
Now is a perfect time for those interested in pools to begin looking at possibilities, she said. “A lot of people wait until March or April,” said Stancill, explaining that business from January to December resembles a bell curve. “Those who are really serious about it, though, start doing their research now in September and October. This way, they can usually have a pool ready by the Memorial Day holiday of next year. They’re thinking ahead, considering discounts. It’s best to get the work done at 2007 pricing, so you’re not in a hurry later.”
Similarly, the spa industry experiences its own fluctuation in business, though, given the warm relaxation they provide in the cooler season, installation and upkeep of spas are beginning to peak as fall approaches. “Now is the time people should be getting in here,” Stancill said. “We’ve got a great staff on board.”
With the Stancills’ expertise on in-ground pools and Pleasanton specializing in spas, employee Derrick Travers helps pull the well-rounded focus together with his concentration on above-ground pools. Formerly working construction out of his hometown of Seaford, his five years in the pool industry is nothing to be taken lightly.
“We have a great group here,” he said. “I’m just ready to get rolling and get the business off the ground.”
For more information about Delmarva Pools and Spas, contact them at (302) 436-6272 or (866) 503-8810, or stop by their location at 17 South Dupont Highway in Selbyville, across from C&E Furniture. Walk-ins, especially for spas, are welcome. New pool owners who are contracted before the end of October are eligible for free pool cleaner and fiber optic light.