I Love a Hometown Parade

By Debby Coughlan, in All Communities

On Tue Dec 6, 2011, a long line of decorated floats, trucks, and even scooters lit up the streets of downtown Rehoboth for the annual Rehoboth Beach Christmas parade.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade may have its high-flying balloons and celebrity dance routines, but nothing can compare with the small town charm and community spirit that characterize the Christmas parades in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.  Held each year in early December, these parades bring the words of a favorite Christmas song to life: “children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile. . .”

For lucky locals who make their home here, December rivals mid-summer as “the most wonderful time of the year”, when quaint streetscapes look like Christmas card scenes and people of all ages gather in the town square.  Proud parents have cameras ready to snap a picture of their kids riding on a float pulled by Grandpa’s tractor and even the family pets get in on the action.  When the parade is over, friends new and old gather for food and festivities.

If you didn’t make it to the parades this year, check out our video and join us in 2012.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Send us a photo of your “Extreme” Party and win a gift signed by Ty!

By Debby Coughlan, in Extreme

As soon as it was announced that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was coming to Delaware this past August, there has been a buzz around town that hasn’t stopped.  It started when we asked for volunteers and sponsors to help with the build and, by the time the actual work started, the energy had reached a level beyond all expectations.

Building Happiness

Building a home in one week would be amazing in and of itself.  But building a home, a barn, a micro-home, a pavilion and a soup kitchen in one week in the midst of a hurricane?  That required an effort that came straight from the heart.  Our community came together, not only to build structures, but to build happiness for a family that has devoted their lives to serving others.

A Labor of Love

This Friday, November 18th from 8pm to 10pm ET, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will air as ABC’s Thanksgiving special about the Dunning family and, from what we’ve heard, a lot of you plan to tune in.  Perhaps you were one of the thousands of volunteers who shared in a labor of love that was more meaningful than any of us ever imagined, or maybe you supported the build through your kind words and donations.

Share Your Stories and Photos

Do you have special plans for watching the show?  If so, we’d love to hear about them.  Take a fun picture of your party and share your “Extreme” story with us and we’ll post all the festivities on our website.  We’ll send a special gift – signed by Ty and the designers – to the person who submits our favorite photo.

Here’s how to do it. Visit our Facebook page and Like us, then share your “Extreme” party photo or story right on our wall. You can also share your photo via Twitter, just follow us and use the hash tag #ExtremePartyDE.

We will announce the winner on Monday Nov 21st at 9am so make sure you share your photos and stories before then.

Thanks to all for helping us build happiness for the Dunning Family.  Enjoy the show!


Update:

We have a winner! The judging wasn’t difficult, as only one photo was submitted via Facebook, so we will be sending a signed photo of Ty and the design team to Randy for his photo. Maybe everyone else was too busy enjoying the show to snap any photos of their get together?

Small Wonder. Really Big Heart.

By Debby Coughlan, in Extreme

Wow, what a week and a half it has been!  It started with a charging Braveheart march across a gleaming six-acre field on a gorgeous blue-sky day.  It ended with cheers from a rousing crowd that came to celebrate the masterpiece created for a family that had devoted their lives to serving others.

Judging from the looks on the faces of the Dunning family when the bus moved forward, our community was successful in achieving the goal of building happiness.  As a matter of fact, I saw happiness build each day, as smiling volunteers carried armloads of soda and water to the build site.  With every piece of lumber added, drywall hung, or paint applied, happiness grew.  Never mind the fact that somewhere in the middle of it all, there was an earthquake, hurricane, and even a nearby tornado – none of that could stop the progress of happiness.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered, sponsored, supported, helped, cheered, and encouraged.  Thank you to those who kept in touch and got the word out to others through Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, and word of mouth.  There were approximately 2,000 volunteers and over 250 sponsors involved with the creation of the Jusst Sooup Ranch and we needed every one of you to make this happen.  The best part of all, is that this is not the end of a process, but rather the start of something bigger than we all imagined.  It is the start of a new chapter in life for the Dunnings and those they serve in the area.  The impact is far-reaching, as this means fewer and fewer people in our area will go hungry.  It is also the beginning of new business relationships that were developed over the course of the build and, yes, even new friendships for those involved.  I encourage you to check out the businesses and restaurants on our sponsor list and chat with them about their experience with this project when you stop by for dinner or to purchase a product.  I know they will be excited and proud to tell you about their involvement because each one poured their heart and soul into the effort.  Many of them provided products and services at a moment’s notice – sometimes in the middle of the night.

I was thinking back to about a month ago when our marketing team was brainstorming the theme for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project.  We had a lot of ideas but kept coming back to the fact that, while our state is small, the giving spirit is big.  So, we summed it up this way:  Small Wonder.  Big Heart.  Until last week, we never knew just how big that heart really is.  Thank you all.

Workers Fuel Up for Busy Evening

By Debby Coughlan, in Extreme

Late in the afternoon on Day 5, with a hurricane on its way, it was nice to see the build team slow down for a few minutes to share a meal together.

Throughout the day, they had been working at a feverish pace, accomplishing amazing results that made onlookers wonder if their eyes had somehow shifted to fast-forward mode. The short dinner break – complete with crab cakes, shrimp, and more from the good folks at Lazy Susans – was just the fuel they needed to shift into high gear for the remainder of the evening.

They ate in much the same way as they worked, with respect, good humor, and determination. In just a few moments this talented team was back at work, buttoning up the build site in preparation for Irene.

A Fly on the Wall

By Debby Coughlan, in Independence

Last Friday, I just happened to listen in on the Schell Brothers sales peeps casually talking about what gets them up in the morning.  What a great time to be a fly on the wall.  Our whole Schell Brothers team is known for being incredibly motivated and it was pretty cool to catch this group in the act of talking about it.  While their motivations vary all over the place, the common thread is that their passion for what they do runs deep.   There were even a few tears shed when people talked about their families.

I’ll start with Josh, who’s part of our Insight team and very focused on our country’s ability to be more self-sufficient in terms of resources.  He’s proud to work for a company that provides homes that are truly energy efficient, resulting in a world that will be better tomorrow than it is today.  Pretty cool.

Cindy, who sells at the Marina, said quite simply, “I guess to sum it up in the fewest words, I just love what I do.”

The longest story came from Michelle, who now sells at Sunset Harbour after getting her sales start at Independence.  She compared her love of a good exercise workout to the thrill of choreographing every customer experience.  Michelle said that one day she found herself competing with an unknowing teenager who happened to be next to her on the treadmill at the gym.  When the girl revved up her speed, Michelle upped hers as well.  Determined not to give up, she forced herself to stay on the machine longer than her newfound competitor, whom she ultimately outlasted.  That day, the most notable thing for Michelle was that she didn’t even check her miles when she left the treadmill.  She realized it wasn’t so much the end result that mattered to her – it was the thrill of the race, the drive to succeed, and the decision to enjoy the race as long as it lasted.  The lively workout was the best way for Michelle to describe the energy she devotes to creating a fun and exciting interaction with every customer.  She said, “I love sharing time with customers and personalizing the buying experience for them.”

Larry, our selections coordinator, talked about the thrill of watching the excitement build with customers as they make choices that ultimately result a unique dream home.  He added how rewarding it is to hear new buyers speak so highly about other members of the Schell Brothers team on a regular basis.

The other Josh on our sales team who sells at  The Retreat at Love Creek and The Villages at Herring Creek summed up his motivation this way, “Every day when I get up it’s for one purpose – to enjoy life and have fun.  This company has embraced that.  On top of that, I respect everybody I work with so much; the last thing I’d want to do is let any of them down.  And by the way, the happy stories we create with our customers – that’s the best part of the job.”

Wow, who wouldn’t want to buy a home from this crowd?  I’m proud to work with them.

Sandwich Ladies of Indy Celebrate First Anniversary of Helping Those in Need

By Debby Coughlan, in Independence

They’re called “The Sandwich Ladies of Indy,” and they meet every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at the Independence clubhouse. “We prepare sandwiches for the local soup kitchen faithfully every Thursday,” according to Ann Athas, an Independence homeowner.  Athas organized the group last February to assist Reverend Dunning, who runs a Jusst Sooup Ministry that includes the soup kitchen on Rt. 1 in Rehoboth Beach.

Athas went on to say that recently, two teams had to be organized because the room where the ladies made the sandwiches every week just got too crowded. “There’s a friendly, cooperative atmosphere between Teams A and B, who meet on alternate Thursdays,” states Jeanne Walsh, who manages Team B. “We’re proud to be able to help feed those in need, and we’ve never missed a Thursday.”   The ladies also provided Rev. Dunning with turkeys for Thanksgiving and casseroles for Christmas.

On average, the ladies make 80-100 sandwiches per week and variety is the name of the game. There’s the traditional bologna, turkey, ham, all with American cheese of course, and then the creativity begins to bloom with cappicola and swiss, pimento and olive loaf, special tuna salad, or maybe even roast beef sliders. “I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for a year now; it’s such a great feeling,” exclaimed Athas.  “And we’ll keep doing it for as long as Rev. Dunning needs us; who knows, with all the new people moving into Indy, we might have to start a Team C !”

While telling me how much she appreciates the support from Indy, Rev. Dunning gave me a taste of the delicious soup she dishes out to those in need.

Living the Good Life at Indy!

By Debby Coughlan, in Independence

I was just reading through the latest email update from our Independence homeowners and it made me smile.  I can see why they refer to their community as a “campus” because they’re always partying, learning new things, working out in the gym, helping each other, having a good time . . . and everything is within walking distance of home!

A Taste of Fun at the Indy Chili Cook-Off

They found a great way to warm up a few days ago with a fantastic Chili Cook-off at the clubhouse, attended by over 60 people, including quite a few prospective customers who stopped by to taste the good life at Indy.  Apparently you can view pictures of the award-winning cooks at the clubhouse and learn all about their unique recipes.

You’d never know it’s a bit cold outside because the activity continues to heat up at Independence in February, with the Polar Bear Plunge, Super Bowl Party, Valentine’s Breakfast and Kidney Foundation Fundraiser all on their list of plans!   And they’re saving some energy for the “Be Healthy Delaware” challenge coming up in March.  Presented by the News Journal and Delaware State University, the state’s “Get Up and Move” theme encourages everyone to participate in all types of physical activity, including walking, biking, running, swimming, dancing, and more.  Based on the energy I’ve seen from the homeowners at Indy, I’m sure they’ll be well-represented at the event.  Their spirit has set the new standard for 55+ communities in Delaware.  So, this is a shout out to the life-loving, always-smiling, high jinks-creating homeowners at Indy! I’m glad you’re enjoying every minute – and giving so much back to the local community, too!

Triple Play Incentives End January 31st!

By Debby Coughlan, in All Communities

The Triple Play has been a big hit at Schell Brothers during the month of January but it will be over soon.  Stop by our Welcome Centers to take advantage of big incentives before they end on January 31st.  See you soon!

Great day for football fans!

By Debby Coughlan, in All Communities

It’s championship Sunday in the NFL with four cold weather teams ready to fire up the gridiron in two classic match-ups.  While a lot of peeps at Schell Brothers are lamenting the fact that their beloved Eagles are not in the hunt, I’ve seen plenty of Steelers jerseys around the office, so the state of Pennsylvania is well represented here.  Actually, that doesn’t sit too well with all the Ravens fans who still can’t believe they lost that game last week.  It’s now up to the one member of our CAD team who is a big Jets fan to hold his own amid all the black and gold.  I’m from the Midwest, so I love the Packers-Bears rivalry – I hope today’s game lives up to its legacy.    Who are you rooting for?  If you stop by our sales centers this afternoon, be sure to let us know.  I’m hoping for two good games – maybe the scores will be so close that we’ll get the chance to see the NFL’s new overtime rule. . .

Live at Sunset Harbour and Boat to Ocean City!

By Debby Coughlan, in Sunset Harbour

Boaters in southern Delaware received an early Christmas present as State environmental officials recently announced that dredging of the picturesque Assawoman Canal is now complete after many years of work.  This means that boaters can navigate the Assawoman and Isle of Wright Bays that lead to popular restaurants and recreational venues in Fenwick Island, Ocean City, and more.   Of course, by way of Whites Creek, boaters also have access to the Indian River and Rehoboth Bay as well as to the Delaware Bay via the Rehoboth Canal.  Best of all, the Atlantic Ocean, through the Indian River Inlet, is only minutes away by boat.

One of the only new home communities with private boat slips and direct access to these waterways is Sunset Harbour by Schell Brothers, located on Fred Hudson Road.  Residents at Sunset Harbour enjoy fun and convenient access to these destinations, especially in the summer months when traffic on Route 1 begins to pile up.  There’s nothing like the prestige of showing up at a restaurant by boat, especially when everyone else is stuck in traffic!  In addition to visiting local eateries, boaters may also take a day trip all the way down the coast to Chincoteague without ever going into the ocean.

The accessibility of the Assawoman Canal opens up a whole new world to water enthusiasts and surely the remaining homes with boat slips at Sunset Harbour won’t last long.   Whether it be boating, kayaking, jet skiing, swimming or just taking a walk along the shore, the community is surrounded by water and all its beauty and bounty.  Sunset Harbour is one of the only communities that has been approved as a minor marina which allows continued maintenance dredging, stabilization of the banks of the canals and the construction of new docks.  Additionally, residents have private access to the community boat ramp.  I’m thinking it may be best to check out these homes now before interest rates continue to climb and the best homesites slip away!

Fall is the best time to ride the Junction and Breakwater Trail

By Debby Coughlan, in Breakwater

Those who make coastal Delaware their year-round residence know that autumn is a real treat at the beach.  During the fall, the meters on Rehoboth Avenue don little blue hats that signify a temporary end to parking fees, traffic on Route 1 is a little lighter, and bright orange sunsets are visible from every vantage point.  But one of the real treasures of fall is hopping on a bike and riding the Junction and Breakwater trail.   Set out on a quick morning adventure and listen to native song birds or watch a blue heron soar majestically above the water.  Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the contrast of the canal as it meanders through golden grasses against a robin-egg-blue sky.  Take an evening ride to Rehoboth for dinner at one of the area’s best restaurants and enjoy a glass of wine with friends.  Be sure to bring your camera so you can capture the golden sunset shining through the trees on the trip home.  By the way, one of the best kept secrets for new homes with immediate access to the Junction and Breakwater trail is Breakwater by Schell Brothers.  Check out the website to find out how you can snatch up one of the few remaining homesites.

Housing Market in Coastal Delaware Thrives, Schell Brothers Event Draws 400 to Beach Venue

By Debby Coughlan, in All Communities

Independence homeowners with Tom Krause at Schell Brothers Coming Together event

Imagine hosting a dinner party and having 400 guests in attendance, especially when you’re a home builder and word on the street is that we’re supposed to be in a down market.  That’s what happened on Saturday, October 2nd, when Schell Brothers, a local builder in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, celebrated with hundreds of families who purchased homes from the company since its inception seven years ago.  “As soon as we sent out the first invitation about the event, the responses began to pour in,” said Chris Schell, owner of the company.  “I couldn’t be happier, because this is something I’ve always wanted to do for the people who mean so much to our company.  Through the years, I’ve gotten to know many of the individuals who live in our homes; they really are an extension of the Schell Brothers family.”

With continued national news stories focused on the struggling housing market, the Schell Brothers event is an indicator that the Delaware beach locale is not following negative national trends.  Under the theme “Coming Together – Building Memories“, the Schell Brothers party was held in Dewey Beach, Delaware, where guests enjoyed striking sunset views over the bay.  Midway through the evening, Schell addressed the crowd, thanking them and explaining that an unrelenting focus on customer happiness has been the catalyst for the company’s continued success amid a down market.  According to Bob Scannell, an Independence homeowner who attended, “The Schell Brothers’ mission was fulfilled again this evening:  there are hundreds of happy homeowners who continue to have pride in Schell.”

In addition to homeowners, the event included prospects who are close to finalizing their home purchase.   Attendees were treated to music and fine dining, and there was even a choreographed performance by members of the Schell Brothers team to honor the homeowners.  Late into the evening, homeowners and employees danced together and shared stories at Venus on the Half Shell and adjacent North Beach, specially chosen to showcase the water-oriented atmosphere that, along with low tax living, draws so many people to coastal Delaware.

Chris and Preston Schell have set the standard for home building excellence and responsible land use in Coastal Delaware.  Sussex County is a natural draw for new home buyers due to the beach environment and its  ranking among the most favorable of all U.S. counties in terms of property taxes as a percentage of home value.