Local homebuilder makes dream homes a reality

February 24, 2014 

NAME: MIKE RATHGEB

Job: Owner, Spencer Homes LLC in Edwardsville

Outlook: "We take a lot of pride and get a lot of enjoyment in helping our clients realize their dream homes."

Mike Rathgeb has been building homes in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon for the past decade and works to appeal to his clients wishes. His company has recently been certified as a Aging in Place builder by the Illinois Association of Homebuilders to appeal for older homeowners who want to live independently as long as possible. One that his company is going to build is the Brookshire Hamlet at the corner of Gerber and Goshen roads in Edwardsville. Rathgeb recently invited business writer Will Buss to a display home in Edwardsville to talk about his company:

What will Brookshire Hamlet provide?

"Brookshire Hamlet is a maintenance-free living development. Our audience is pretty broad and this is suited for anybody who's looking for a more care-free lifestyle who doesn't want to deal with the day-to-day activities and the routine of lawn maintenance and snow removal and such. We're seeing people all over the metro area and all different age groups. So it's been exciting to see the reach is pretty broad as far as demographic goes."

What is the Aging in Place designation?

"It's a term, a designation, that the National Association of Homebuilders provides. Part of it is about providing comfort and convenience regardless of age or ability and fits into a universal design. An example would be a zero-entry threshold shower that could be in doorways and hallways and counter heights."

Where has your company been building homes?

"My ownership is limited to Brookshire Hamlet, however, we're deeply integrated within all of the developments in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon. We've either built or are building in virtually every development in the area."

What projects are on the horizon?

"The two that are right on the cusp of opening this spring are Brookshire Hamlet and Governors Way. I don't have ownership in Governors Way, but those are the two that are on the cusp of opening this spring in the Edwardsville community."

How long has Spencer Homes been in business?

"Since 2005."

How did you get started?

"It really all started when I attended (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) over 20 years ago. I worked for builder developers while I was attending SIUE and it was something that stuck with me throughout a career that spanned human resources, sales and marketing and other industries. Around 2004 and 2005, I decided that I wanted to realize that career dream of mine in building and development. I started off slow and then gradually worked up to the position that we are in now."

Where did you work prior?

"I was in consumer products as the director of sales and marketing. I was the director of sales for a couple of consumer products companies and then I also worked for a major logistics company as well."

What is your background?

"My previous background in consumer products and sales and marketing made me believe that it's about the customer experience. So we try to provide to a customer experience throughout this and building a new home can take five months to a year. So we try to make that experience one that the customer can enjoy. We're one of a few builders in the area that provide our clients with their own design and selections consultant and we're one of the few builders in the area that provides a cloud-based project management system that all of our customers have access to. We've incorporated technology and service in such a way that it can enable that customer to enjoy the experience in a way they weren't able to in the past in this industry."

What is your company's service area?

"Our geography right now is Edwardsville and Glen Carbon. We're looking at other opportunities throughout the metro-east so that we can take our business and this model of acceptability and universal design and take that model of building homes that people can be comfortable for a long period of time, regardless of their stature or ability."

What separates your company from other home builders?

"We've had situations where we've had customers who have traveled abroad and they have the ability to access this portal, no matter where they are or what time it is, so they are able to approve selections, change orders and understand what the progress is on their particular home project."

What do you enjoy most about your work?

"We take a lot of pride and get a lot of enjoyment in helping our clients realize their dream homes."

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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