Seth Perkins, of Galloway Township, an employee of Painting by Pearce, works on the outside of the Spinnaker Condominium in Sea Isle City.

Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the tourist season, also represents a common deadline for Painting by Pearce, an Upper Township-based commercial and residential painting contractor.

"One of the biggest challenges is we are a tourist-based economy, and a lot of the work is seasonal. Every year, we face the time constraints of having to get everything done before the season," said Ed Pearce Jr., 35, general manager of the business owned by his father, Ed Pearce Sr. "They pretty much all have the same deadlines."

One such deadline was the painting at the Reeds at Shelter Haven, a 37-room luxury boutique hotel in Stone Harbor that opened in June 2013.

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"They had deadlines. They had a schedule where we had to get it finished," he said. "It was one of those jobs where we had to work late nights and weekends to get it done."

Ed Pearce Sr., 59, of Upper Township, started the business in 1978 with a Volkswagen Beetle with a ladder on top, his son said.

The business has grown significantly over the past 36 years and has about 25 employees seasonally. Work includes condominium complexes, hotels, churches, schools and high-end custom new construction, he said.

That type of diversification helped the business through the recession and its aftermath, said Ed Pearce Jr., of Dennis Township.

"It has been challenging within the last five years just with the recession, but even through the recession we were able to stay busy," he said. "I attribute that to our loyal customer base - most of our work comes from repeat business or referrals. And we're also diversified and do a lot of different types of projects. We don't have all our eggs in one basket, so to speak."

Research firm IBISWorld expects demand for painting contractors to rise as new construction picks up. The industry as a whole "had a rough five years, with the plummeting construction markets causing demand to dwindle," it said in its report of the $27 billion industry that employs more than 387,000 people in the U.S.

On a recent weekday, the business had an 80-foot boom lift truck at the Spinnaker, a Sea Isle City condominium complex, doing work caulking and painting the exterior.

A large part of the painting business involves the maintenance and upkeep of condominiums, he said.

There is also painting of interiors and exteriors of new construction, particularly custom-built properties on the barrier islands.

In this respect, he said, he is seeing more new construction projects than he has in the past.

Pearce Jr., who graduated from business school at the University of Scranton in 2001, grew up in the family business.

"I learned at a young age about hard work and seeing the results of a job well done," he said.

Contact Brian Ianieri:


Painting by Pearce

Location: 3116 Shore Road, Ocean View, Upper Township

Owner: Ed Pearce Sr., 59, of Upper Township

Started: 1978

Employees: About 25, seasonally

Phone: 609-624-0685


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