The New Year saw a new business, Cascade Creek Company, open up in Grand Marais. Owned by Laurie and Don Roberts, the company offers services from interior design to everyday repair and replacement. They will do something as small as installing a towel bar to design and decorating ideas. From fixing a door that doesn’t close properly to special projects like building shelving and closets. According to a recent Facebook post from Cascade Creek, no job is too small.
The Roberts were both science teachers in Twin Cities schools. When retirement beckoned at the end of the school year in 2022 they moved permanently to Cook County where they had spent most of their summer breaks over the years.
Dan discovered the North Shore when Gene Glader, a friend of his parents, purchased the Cascade Lodge along Highway 61 next to Cascade River State Park. While still in high school, Dan spent his summers working at the Lodge doing all the jobs you can imagine a young man would be expected to do.
After meeting Laurie while in college, the pair came to the North Shore together, working in resorts, restaurants, and lodges. By 1991, shortly after marrying, they bought a seven-acre parcel of land bordering the Cascade River State Park. Over the years they began developing the property, eventually building what would become their retirement home.
Laurie says, “After retiring, with two kids grown and flown, we made Cook County our home.” The Roberts’s daughter resides in the Twin Cities and their son is in a graduate degree music program in San Francisco. Laurie and Dan are drawn to the outdoor recreation offered on the North Shore, from canoeing and mountain biking to cross-country skiing and fishing. Still, they thought about starting a business after retiring from teaching.
The Roberts had a high interest in home repair and improvement and it was always a part of their life, both in the Twin Cities and Cook County. “We started buying and flipping houses before ‘flipping’ was a thing,” Laurie said.
“We also did a lot of small jobs, for family and friends,” Dan added. The couple says their goal with Cascade Creek is to help make their customer’s homes a place that reflects their personal style and needs. “People should feel comfortable in their home, and their home should reflect who they are,” Laurie said.
Laurie is skilled in interior design to help customers coordinate a decorating theme including wall coverings, window treatments, and tile work. She is especially gifted in organizing and designing storage solutions to reduce clutter and make homeowners comfortable.
In addition, the business calls on her for the paperwork and administration that goes along with a small business. She also serves as a self-described “Go fer” running errands and picking up material for the jobs they’re working.
Laurie says that a priority is helping people in Cook County who want to age in their homes, a need noted in a recent survey conducted by Cook County’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The needs could include anything from handrails to ramps, making the house accessible as needed.
Dan puts a high value on his reputation and the quality of his work. Cascade will estimate the cost of a job, but knowing that remodels always come with surprises, they will charge an hourly rate plus the cost of materials. Dan says that he always treats people fairly.