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Ready for What’s Next
Ready for What’s Next

If 2023 was a year for learning how to bounce back from heartbreaking adversity, this one is Keystone Custom Deck's year to celebrate all the ways the family-owned builder is coming back stronger than ever.

"2024 is going to be a great year!" promises Marcus Stoltzfus, who joined the Keystone team as its marketing manager last fall but has known the company's key players for quite some time.

Before Stoltzfus came on board, Keystone had suffered a series of tragic events. Founder and owner Amos Esh passed away in 2021; fortunately his sons successfully carried the company into its second generation of family ownership. One of the sons, Kevin, was killed in a plane crash days after his 30th birthday in September 2022, and just weeks before losing Kevin, the company's East Earl showroom and shop suffered significant damage from the results of a fire, causing the team to relocate for a large portion of 2023 while repairs were made.

With a service area spanning five states of loyal customers eager to complete their decks, patios, pools, outdoor kitchens, water features and other outdoor projects the in-demand team at Keystone Custom Decks is known for, the company knew it had to get back to business as usual and honor its commitment to its clients, no matter how hard it was to move forward.

The fruits of forging ahead include an updated, one-of-a-kind showroom in East Earl that the Keystone team proudly welcomes the community to discover, explore and be inspired by.

"It's where people can see something they haven't been able to before. Vision is something some people struggle with, especially with a custom project," Stoltzfus says. "Sometimes, they'll come to our showroom and see something for the first time and they go, 'Yep, that's it. That's exactly what I was thinking.'"

That "Aha!" moment of meeting the piece, configuration, color scheme, accent or flourish that a client has been waiting to come across is not an uncommon occurrence at Keystone's show-stopping showroom.

"There's clients who have come in and actually pieced together items from the showroom for their own design after seeing them in person," he continues. "There's multiple porch displays, outdoor kitchen displays everywhere, you name it. And then the adjoining café also has many outdoor setups as well, so you're able to see a lot of different options all in one place."

And while the Keystone showroom is temptingly close to the beloved Shady Maple Smorgasbord and Farm Market, its own café is gearing up for an expected March reopening – and already has the makings of becoming an in-demand destination in its own right.

"In the past, our café has served as a great space to host people," says Stoltzfus. "Whenever someone comes in for a visit to the showroom, they often will go over to the café for some coffee and to grab something to eat. The new space is going to be updated… The fire, while it was obviously terrible and took us through a rough patch, gave us a chance to reconfigure and reimagine the spaces on the property. We've added an extra floor of office space, and the café is now going to have a 30-seat indoor seating location. Like in the past, folks can rent out the café space, only this will be a year-round spot for them."

The growth of Keystone's new-and-improved offerings is proportional to how thoroughly the company has expanded its capabilities since Amos founded the company in 1983. While his ideals of approaching every job with high-quality materials, superior craftsmanship and custom designs remain the same, those projects have evolved to include all aspects of outdoor living projects.

"The inspiration to add divisions to our company was being able to fully support whatever someone needs in their backyard from start to finish," Stoltzfus explains, adding that Keystone also handles project requirements like permitting. "We're able to give you a porch, a patio, a pool, and masonry features like fireplaces or firepits. Typically, people got the service from us and then had to go somewhere else to get their pool installed. Now, we've really become a one-stop shop for your backyard."

No matter how far the company goes or how exponentially it grows, though, Stoltzfus says ensuring that every client is a happily dazzled one will always be Keystone's goal.

"The continuity factor is a big one, even when it comes to working with our team. From the time you first reach out to the very end, our team strives to have the same attitude and energy. People often comment about the uplifting spirit our team brings. Seeing the homeowner with a smile on their face knowing they made the right decision to choose us at Keystone, that goes a long way for us!"

Keystone Custom Decks
Serving Pa., Del., N.J., N.Y. and Md.
Pa. office: (717) 355-0592
N.Y. office: (315) 227-2288

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 24, Issue 3 (January/February 2024)
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