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Expert Team Makes Outdoor Experiences Spectacular

Pools, Patios & Porches Offers Years of Knowledge Helping Customers Make the Most of Summer

Article by Emily Dickey

Photography by Rose Marie Photography

Originally published in Frederick Lifestyle

The family that works and plays together, stays together. Since 2002, Paul Gorgol and his wife Donna have incorporated their family into every part of building their business Pools, Patios and Porches.

“My wife and I always said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pool and outdoor patio furniture store in Frederick?’” said Paul. “We have had a pool for 34 years and I have always loved working in the yard, even when I was younger working with my dad and grandmother.”

Originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Paul graduated from Penn State with a degree in Medical Technology. Work and marriage brought Paul and Donna to Frederick in 1986. At the time, Paul was selling medical equipment in the Baltimore area and then progressed to concrete repair equipment for 13 years.

“All of those experiences brought marketing and science into my life, which better prepared me for the work I do here,” said Paul, noting that the lab work he conducted at PSU is similar

to how he carries out the testing and analysis of pool water for customers to best meet their needs and keep the care of their pools to a minimum. “If it’s done correctly and with the right products, caring for a pool should only take about 5 minutes a week.”

Paul and Donna purchased an already-established Frederick pool business in 2002, and renamed it Pools, Patios & Porches. In 2014, the couple seized the opportunity to expand the store by investing in their current location on the corner of North Market Street and Wormans Mill Court, which provided a good location and a better design in which they could expand and offer more to their customers. They also have a location in Smithsburg, which is strictly pool-focused and seasonal. Frederick has been good to them over the years, Paul said, noting that he enjoys the small-community atmosphere and the opportunities to meet and help new people.

Just as the name implies, customers are met with everything they might need to make their outdoor experiences spectacular within the first few steps of entering the store on Wormans Mill Court. “The fun starts here,” Paul said.

Pool supplies range from fun pool floats and pool games to skimmers, motors, chemicals and covers. “We have everything you need for a pool, except the pool.”

Pool care has evolved quite a bit over the past two decades, according to Paul. “The biggest evolution to the pool world has been a transition to salt pools. Sodium Chloride keeps the pool clear and the equilibrium with the body’s salt content provides a better experience for the swimmer as well.”

Technology has aided in the development of pool pumps with variable speeds (which save money for pool owners); heaters have also come a long way since the early 2000s. “Everyone in this area with a pool should have a heater.”

Many pool owners may feel overwhelmed when trying to keep up with the newest advancements in pool care. Paul said not to worry, that’s why they offer “pool schools” where a member of his team of experts goes on-site to a customer’s pool to assess the water, explain chemicals, etc. “You learn how to run your pool. The best pool is the one you are in all summer. Our team makes that possible.”

The Pools, Patios and Porches team is comprised of twelve year-round, full-time employees, including Paul, Donna, daughter Kelly, sons Bryan and Michael, grandkids and some people who have “become like family.” Employees stay up-to-date by attending in-house training sessions from suppliers and traveling to trade shows. “I’m only as good as my team. We have built an incredible staff that is light, fun and very knowledgeable."

The store also features a Swim Shop full of competitive-grade swimwear and tech suits by brands such as Speedo, ARENA, Dolfin and TYR. College, high school and club teams from around the area outfit their teams here, or have online access to easily buy customized gear with team logos and personalization.

"We are a one-stop shop. That has always been our goal."

In addition to meeting every swimming need, Paul's business also offers outdoor patio furniture so customers can create their perfect backyard sanctuary. Featuring products from Telescope and Breezesta, the Frederick location is full of various sets for lounging poolside, entertaining on a patio or screened-in porch, relaxing by a fire or reading on the front porch. Customers may purchase pieces in stock or place an in-store order to meet their individual desires.

Not only does the business work to make the warmer months spectacular, they also become a holiday resource with their “Jingle Shop.” From November to mid-January, the store houses a variety of Christmas decorations and lights; they also offer custom designs as well. “We don’t have a slow time. We are truly a year-round business. Customizing is what we really focus on during the Christmas season.”

Despite being busy year-round, Paul, 65, said he and his wife do take time off every once in a while and he is hoping to do it more often—but the time off doesn’t mean they want to be away from family. “We enjoy spending time with our kids and grandkids at our pool and going to their events. We even take a family trip to Bethany Beach together every year. We like being together whether it’s at the store or on vacation.”