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Building business right on Key

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Consistency. Experience. Professionalism. And a near perfect track record.

These are more than aspirations, these qualities embody both the work ethic and the company that Longboat Key resident Bob Elmes brings to his full-service contracting and remodeling company – Creative Kitchen & Baths.

In fact, Bob has been working on Longboat Key as a General Contractor for more than 23 years and he personally is involved in every project and takes care of every detail from pulling permits to the final inspection by both the town and even more importantly, the customer.

His career started in Philadelphia where he worked for the building authority as an inspector and received constant promotions. Part of that success is very likely due to the sheer commitment to work and the near-endless hours Bob puts in to every project he undertakes. He wakes up every day at 4:30 a.m., is in his office at 6 a.m. going through the schedule and his employees start picking up their supplies at that early hour. There are eight full-time employees and Bob has the distinct advantage of having done every aspect of every job himself at one point in his career.

And while Bob keeps early hours, he does have two additional passions that compliment his busy work life. First and foremost is his wife, Lindsay, whom he met at Seaplace Condominiums on Longboat Key where she had been visiting for more than 30 years.

Bob’s other love is Sarasota and the island communities and Longboat Key in particular. Being a full-time resident at Seaplace, he says there is no place he would rather be or plan to move, and living and looking out at the Gulf every day from his residence helps him relate to just about everyone who calls Longboat Key home.

 

Building on trends

Being front and center of the construction business, Bob is in a position to talk about some of the trends he sees in the area. A large part of his company’s work is updating and modernizing older residences. Often the job starts in the kitchen, but soon owners usually replace flooring, molding, windows, doors and bathrooms. Over the past 15 years, countless Corian and Formica countertops have been replaced with granite, and now quartz countertops is a top trend.

As for flooring, Bob sees many compelling and long-lasting porcelain tile floors as well as wood floors, but he warns that wood can buckle and warp. He sees the trend in cabinetry move from heavy wood and stained tones to light gray, white and off-white with a mid-century modern flare.

In the end, he finds success predicated on his ability to talk and communicate well with customers and his understanding and patience in helping them decide everything from picking the perfect granite slab to matching cabinetry and flooring and lighting and hardware, to creating an integrated and professional finish.

Another quality Bob says that only extensive experience in a community can bring is his intimate knowledge of the underlying construction of just about each and every condominium on the island. That knowledge becomes all-important when it comes to construction because as any contractor knows, not every floor is level, not all buildings are true and specific and certainly the requirements of the myriad of homeowner associations and what is stipulated can vary.

When not building for customers and building his business, Bob stays busy enjoying his time eating out and traveling with Lindsay, his time with his seven grandchildren and with his four great-grandchildren.

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