Aqua Soft Celebrates 50 Years Serving Community’s Water Needs

Aqua Soft founders Lloyd and Peggy Rice (seated) with Eric, Debbie, Alex, Lindsay and Ryan Suftko (standing) in front of the family business in Royal Palm Beach.

Aqua Soft Water Systems in Royal Palm Beach recently marked a milestone anniversary — 50 years of installing and servicing the water systems at homes and businesses across Palm Beach County.

Aqua Soft started out as a family business and remains one to this day.

“In the mid-1960s, my father Lloyd Rice worked for Pratt Whitney. He was part of ‘Skunkworks,’ the engineering team that built the SR-71 spy plane’s engine,” Debbie Suftko recalled. “That job required my parents to move often and live undercover — after all, we were fighting in Vietnam. My parents knew this was no life in which to raise a family.”

By the 1970s, Lloyd and his wife Peggy had two children, Debbie and Darren. They purchased a triplex that was on well water. Little did they know, that decision would lead to a new business venture.

“They purchased a water softener, and soon my father learned that he had to repair it often,” Debbie said. “Once he learned to repair our softener, he was soon repairing the neighbor’s system. It was at that point, they knew that God had provided a business.”

The couple used their savings to open Aqua Soft in 1972.

“At this point, we had moved into a home in Lake Clarke Shores, and we ran the business out of the garage,” Debbie continued. “Over the years, we moved the business four times, stepping up to larger locations.”

Previous locations have been on Old Okeechobee Road, Military Trail and Broadway Street in Lake Worth before moving to the current location on Business Park Way in Royal Palm Beach. “We built this building in 1997,” Debbie said.

In 1984, Aqua Soft became the authorized dealer for Kinetico Water Systems in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

“By the mid-1980s, both my brother and I were also working in the family business. Darren became our well driller, and I started out in scheduling,” Debbie recalled. “As the years passed, we hired more employees, and Darren branched out into his own well drilling company, Rice Well Drilling. Darren still drills our wells to this day.”

In more recent years, a third generation has joined the family business.

“By the mid-2010s, my three boys — Eric, Alex and Ryan Suftko — came to work in our business to help continue the family legacy,” Debbie said. “Over our 50 years in business, the Lord has truly blessed us, and we strongly believe in giving back. We have actively given to Water for Life, an organization that helps provide clean drinking water around the world, as well as Tunnels to Towers, an organization that helps our veterans and first responders.”

Aqua Soft has also made donations to Habitat for Humanity, as well as many other local charities and nonprofits.

“We do a lot of work with different animal rescues, such as Barky Pines. We donated all their water systems to them. The Rare Species Conservatory Foundation had their whole system stolen, and we replaced it free of charge for them,” Debbie said.

While the business provides regular monthly service for many clients, equipment sales remain the heart of the business.

“The biggest thing out on the market now is whole house reverse osmosis systems,” Debbie said. “That brings people bottled water quality at their tap.”

These are the types of systems that giant cruise ships use, and they are becoming more popular with residential customers as well.

“That seems to be the wave of the future, and we install those daily,” Debbie said. “We customize them to the customer’s water, since there are different filters you can use.”

On top of residential service in the western communities, Aqua Soft does a great deal of work in the commercial sphere.

“We also do a tremendous amount of horse farms in Wellington,” she said. “Everything from small homes to large commercial facilities.”

Debbie believes that her company’s size and experience make Aqua Soft the best choice for those in the market for a water system.

“We have been around for so long that we have the knowledge base,” she said. “We are able to buy in bulk, so we can keep the costs down. Because we install so many, we understand exactly what the customer needs.”

Aqua Soft celebrated the company’s 50th anniversary with several giveaway events and special discounts. Now, they are looking toward the future.

“We are celebrating with our 39 employees and family. Most of our employees have been with us for more than 10 years, with many over 30 or 40 years,” Debbie said. “Our first employee, Terry Stitt, my mother Peggy’s brother, still works for us, along with his boys. We were also recently blessed to welcome in the fourth generation, when Alex and his wife Kalee welcomed a daughter, Lindsay Grace.”

So, if you stop by the office today, you will often see Lloyd and Peggy Rice working hard beside their daughter Debbie and their grandsons Eric, Alex and Ryan.

Aqua Soft Water Systems is located at 220 Business Park Way in Royal Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 753-7700 or visit