Don-Lee Margin celebrates 50 years

January 1, 2017

Whether your need is due to lack of time, energy or expertise, if you need someone to take care of maintenance or janitorial services on your property — business, residential or industrial — Don-Lee Margin Corp. of Seaford can do the job. Surprised? Perhaps you thought Don-Lee Margin only performs janitorial service. That may have been true 50 years ago. Don-Lee Margin was founded in 1966 and will cel-ebrate its 50 year anniversary in 2017. The company was founded by Donald Dickerson and Leroy Tull, whose names were combined into Don-Lee. Tull’s wife was Margaret; Dickerson’s was Ginny. Put together, they made Margin. “Keith became involved in 1973 when he bought Don-Lee Margin from his father and Mr. Tull,” Denise explained. The company was acquired in 1973 by Keith Dickerson, who expanded the compa-ny’s services to include building maintenance, painting, sand blasting, local trucking and gen-eral labor. When Keith passed away in 2010, his wife, Denise, continued the business and has expanded the realm of services even more. According to Denise, a former secretary who was with the company for 20 years, can remember coming into the office in the morn-ing and having to step over Keith. “He’d work all night, sleep a few hours in the office, get up and start working again.” Since Denise became president, Don-Lee Margin has doubled in size and the number of employees on staff totals 60. “We do business all over Delmarva,” she said. Today, maintenance extends to furniture moving, minor repairs or renovations, property management, epoxy coating, steam and high pressure washing, insurance work and snow removal. Don-Lee Margin’s janitorial services will leave your business spotless. You can arrange for daily or weekly office cleaning, carpet and upholstery care, construction clean-up or floor maintenance including stripping, recoating, waxing and buffing. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Don-Lee Margin had 400+ employees, many of whom were responsible for cleaning, maintenance, and contracted labor at the DuPont plant in Seaford. The corporation also had an office in Deep Water, N.J., operating as Contracting Services. “We still have two employees there, doing janitorial services,” said Denise. They weathered two “100-year” rainstorms which caused flooding and a lot of damage to their original business location off Rt. 20, just outside of Seaford. In 2006, 13 inches of rain turned nearby Chapel Branch into a rag-ing river with a 10-foot wall of water. That flood “cleaned out our building,” Denise said. “There was nothing left.” Ronald MacArthur, in an editorial in the Seaford Star on June 29, 2006, wrote, “It looked as if someone had exploded a bomb in the (Don-Lee Margin) building. Large trucks were washed away into the woods.” The corporation had sold janitorial sup-plies under the name L D Sales. “We closed that side of the business after the ’06 flood,” Denise said, “but customer demand was so great that we re-launched it. It’s all under the same name now.” After a second storm/flood in September of 2011, the business’ main office was moved to the Barton’s Mini-Storage building on Rt. 13, north of Seaford. They quickly outgrew this location and relocated again in May of 2015 to the old Entenmann’s bakery outlet building, just down the highway. Janitorial and paper supplies are stocked ranging from office supplies, computer and printer supplies to furniture, food service supplies, party supplies, all sorts of cleaning products and material handling and packaging needs. There are hundreds of products in-stock to choose from or customers can come in and order from a catalogue of thousands of prod-ucts. In June of 2007, Jack and Crystal Chambers joined the team. Denise recalled, “Jack’s mom was a customer. Jack had just moved back to Seaford from Pennsylvania when she came in and was talking with Keith about business. Keith commented he was looking for someone to be a supervisor. She told him about Jack. Keith told her to send him in. He interviewed Jack and hired him to start right away.” “Jack’s first job was to find a secretary, so he called his wife, Crystal. She came in, and the rest is history. They’ve been with us for nine years.” Jack Chambers is the current vice president of operations and Crystal Chambers is secretary/treasurer. She heads the retail side of the business. Don-Lee Margin services over 200 customers. “Keith and I worked together for years, so it was great to find another husband/wife team,” Denise continued. “We’re a good team here, that’s for sure. We pride ourselves on customer service. When you call, you don’t get an answering machine; you get a live per-son.” That happens even beyond normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “We’re 24/7,” Denise said. “Our employees work around the clock. We have supervisors and dispatchers all over.” Jack added, “We have a full snow removal crew. We manage 20 locations here on the Shore. We’re ready for it.” Jack said their crews take care of outside chores such as leaf removal, branch removal, over-seeding and grass planting — “but we do not mow grass.” He continued, “We do very light plumbing and electrical work. It’s part of facility maintenance. We are capable of full remodels — we just contract out some of the work. We remodeled Allen-Harim’s corporate headquarters here in Seaford and the main office of Century Seals. Crystal said, “We get a lot of repeat customers for ‘honey do’ lists. That’s Jack’s role. They love him just for those things, and I don’t mind sharing.” Along with Budget truck rentals, Don- Lee Margin offers manpower for the move. “We’ve gotten into moving furniture, whole houses. We’ve gone all the way to Florida for a move,” Jack said. This aspect of the business has taken off pretty well, he added. “You pay for what you get, not by the weight or number of pieces of furniture or the miles on the truck. It’s a lot easier to forecast a move’s cost.” He explained that an employee will go in before the move to do an audit of pieces that are going to be moved. “We take pictures before and after.” “You can even get help to move furniture from one room to another,” Denise added. “We do a lot of moving at the Manor House, between apartments.” Crystal said, “In 2017 we are launching a new system. We’re going POS (point of sale) all digital. Our shipping and receiving will be all digital. Scan in and out. In the second quarter, we’ll introduce an e-commerce site so customers can order directly from the web. We will be fast tracking all retail sales, supplies and ordering. Don-Lee Margin will be one of first companies in this area to launch this type of technology. This system is being built specifically for our company. It will make things easier, more efficient and offer a cost-savings to our customers. It will streamline everything customers use through us.” The 50th year celebration began during a Chamber of Commerce function in October of 2016. Throughout 2017 there will be sales and promotions associated with the anniversary. A new line of party supplies was launched in October of 2016 to promote the party aspect of the 50th anniversary. This product line offers many options for any occasion. As the slogan says, “Don-Lee does that.” Find out what the company can do for you, what products and services are available, by visiting the website, www.don-leemargin. com. If you have questions or are looking for something specific, call 302629-7567 or email 


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