BY PAMELA KEECH
Bob and Margaret Raake (pronounced “rockie”) are on their second family business. The first was Ellettsville Landscaping, which they owned for 16 years. Then a random string of events led them to buy a 28-year-old company called Laminated Tops from a man Bob met in a restaurant.
“My husband used to eat breakfast every morning at Bob Evans,” says Margaret, “and he met the former owner there. He’d been looking for someone to take over his business, and we were looking for a change.” The deal was sealed when their son Richard, recently graduated from Purdue with a degree in building-construction management, agreed to join his parents in the new venture.
That was in the late 1990s. Laminated Tops continues as a company that produces laminated countertops for construction projects across southern Indiana. But the fun for the Raakes really started when they envisioned a world beyond laminates and decided to expand into the home- design-and-renovation market.
Räke Cabinet & Surface Solutions offers all the talked-about countertop materials. Along the way it added Indiana-made cabinetry to its repertoire, making this a one-stop design center for kitchens and baths. “If you can dream it, we can build it,” says son Richard, who runs this part of the business. Räke carries Cambria, which is a blend of natural quartz stones, granite, and soapstone that gradually develops a patina. They also carry cultured marble, a mixture of ground marble and additives that can be molded. Acrylic solid-surface materials like Corian and Staron are available, too.
Another option is Shirestone, a concrete mixture that is custom made, from the choice of edge and finish to the color. Impressions of objects like fossils or leaves can be set in the surface. “It’s like commissioning a piece of art,” says Richard. Green products include recycled glass and PaperStone, which is made of pressed paper.
The Räke showroom is at 705A E. Dillman Rd. There is a comfortable design-consultation area where customers can discuss their ideas, look at samples, and see possibilities appear on a flat screen TV. You can drop in for a quick look, or, if you are ready to talk design, call 824-8338 for an appointment.