SUMMERVILLE -- Sherry Church is a medical consultant who struggles to balance her business travels with her love of decorating for Christmas.

"We have a Christmas explosion around here," she said with a laugh, noting she always has more than one tree in her Ashborough home.

But stringing all the lights outside her two-story house just hadn't gotten done yet, which made her the perfect candidate for a new service called Rays of Light (277-4233 or raysoflightsc@hotmail.com).

It all started when Grant Farrell, a member of the South Carolina Stingrays hockey team, decided to combine his business degree from Merrimack College in Massachusetts with his desire to better utilize his down time after practice.

"I actually took a couple of entrepreneurship classes in college where we had to think of about three ideas a week," Farrell said. "Usually they're just everyday things, just simple things you see while walking around town."

What he came up with was that people love to buy Christmas decorations, but some can't or don't have time to put them up.

Also, they dislike taking them down.

Nice young men

On Sunday afternoon, he and teammate Rob Ricci were busy climbing ladders and stringing lights on Church's residence.

"I saw the flier they put out at the hockey games and they gave me an incredibly reasonable estimate," said Church, a medical consultant who travels a lot. "They hung the wreaths on all my windows and they're putting the lights on the top of the house."

Church said she had gotten a quote two years ago from another company that wanted $1,500 to do the job.

"This was much more reasonable," she said, noting Rays of Light was charging only a few hundred dollars.

"What I also appreciate is that they'll come back and take it all down after Christmas," she said. "And, they're really nice young men."

Indeed, they're Canadian, what do you expect?

Life after hockey

Meanwhile, Farrell watched his former college roommate, Ricci, a political science major, carefully climb a 24-foot ladder to string lights along the top gutters.

"When we're in town, we practice in the mornings," Farrell said. "So when you get done with practice, there's not a lot going on. You can get kind of stir crazy."

This odd job, therefore, solves that problem.

"My head coach in college told me that wherever you go you have to get involved in the community, don't just go to practice and be done."

Farrell said he also knows that at 26 years old, he has to start thinking about life after playing hockey.

"Hey, you never know," he said. "Something like this could really take off."

Reach Ken Burger at kburger@postandcourier.com or 937-5598.