Buying a home built by Raymus siblings Toni and Bob isn’t a typical experience.
That’s because the family that has built more homes in Manteca than any other builder calls Manteca home.
“The people we build homes for we will run into at the grocery store,” Toni Raymus said. “I want to be able to look them in the eye and know that we did right by them.”
And like their father — the late Antone Raymus — the brother-sister team of Raymus Homes doesn’t just build homes. They also build a community.
Bob serves on the Hope Ministries board that operates three family homeless shelters in Manteca including the Raymus House. Antone had bought the shuttered convalescent hospital on South Union Road in the hopes those longtime residents such as the late Trena Kelley could secure places to be taken care of in Manteca instead of having to move to Tracy or other communities when they needed more help in their golden years. But finding an operator for a small convalescent hospital with modern regulations wasn’t do-able. So Raymus decided to provide the convalescent hospital to Hope Ministries to use as a single mother homeless shelter.
Bob is a tireless fundraiser for the shelters. The siblings initially bankrolled the acquisition of transitional housing for HOPE Ministries on North Street near Doctors Hospital.
Bob also has been an avid supporter, worker, sponsor, and coach for Little League teams since 1995. He was among the first inductees into the Manteca Little League Hall of Fame along with Al Nunes who was one of the key founders of the league and former player Matt Berezay who went on to play for the Dodgers organization.
Toni started Great
Toni is the sparkplug behind the Great Valley Bookfest. Not only did she launch the annual October gathering at the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley but she works tirelessly each year to make the event happen.
“Literacy and family is the key for children to succeed,” Toni said echoing the sentiment of her father who played a major role in establishing the Manteca Boys & Girls Club and who used his sheer determination plus his own money to start Give Every Child a Chance. The free tutoring organization now helps more than 5,000 youth a year throughout the South County.
Toni’s long list of current and past community involvement runs the gamut from the Boys & Girls Club and serving on boards such as Doctors Hospital of Manteca, Give Every Child a Chance and the Manteca District Ambulance board to the Goodwill Industries.
Her membership is never just for resume building or to impress. Every board she is on — and has been involved in — Toni has been an active member serving on committees, selling raffle tickets soliciting funds, and even doing set-up work for fundraisers.
Their commitment to the community mirrors that of the homes they build for families.
Those are some of the reasons Toni was inducted into the California Home Building Foundation Hall of Fame in June.
She’s only the third builder in San Joaquin County to be inducted. The others are Alex Spanos and Fritz Grupe. Stanislaus County’s sole inductee is Calvin Bright.
“I honestly don’t know why they selected me,” Toni said. “We’re not big builders. If anyone should have been inducted it should have been my father.”
Toni started working in the family business as an eighth grader after school.
She’d go to the Raymus Development and Sales office on Yosemite Avenue where there would be stacks of blueprints for her to produce.
She’d take home plans, put them in a tube with ammonia and then shake it to create the blueprints.
“It was in a room with no ventilation,” she recalled.
Antone paid his daughter $1 an hour. Minimum wage was $2.25 at the time. She also answered telephones and filed copies.
Toni quit when she was old enough to go to work at McDonald’s for minimum wage.
A year later she was back because her dad promised to match McDonald’s pay scale.
Bob got his start in a slightly different manner.
His first job was at El Rancho Mobile Home Park. His dad hired him and John Gotchall to sweep the streets.
The streets, of course, didn’t really need sweeping in the East Yosemite Avenue mobile home park that Raymus built. The two were under instruction to help any of the elderly residents that needed assistance. They ended up spending their Saturdays helping pull weeds and doing light work in and around the mobile homes.
The two were always being invited in for milk and cookies.
Antone often took his kids in tow when he went to job sites. Bob graduated from cleaning El Rancho’s streets to cleaning construction sites. Eventually, Bob started learning the building trade from Matt Goldenbech, a craftsman at finishing carpentry. A number of subcontractors and workers have been with Raymus since the beginning and the early days.
Bob eventually became his dad’s circulation manager for the now defunct Manteca News that Antone started to advance his belief that providing positive examples of what was going in the community would inspire young people and others.
The Raymus siblings a few years back started their own home building firm. Toni handles the front end — land development and sales — while Bob oversees building.
There are currently building the Raceway Collection south of Woodward Avenue between Airport Way and Union.
The biggest change in home building over the years since Toni started full-time as a 22-year-old after graduating from the University of the Pacific is that homes have gotten larger.
“They went down in size during the recession but they are back up in size now,” she noted.
The largest base model they now build is 2,606-square feet. That doesn’t mean, however, that they won’t work with people who want to deviate.
“We are working with a couple right now that wants a home smaller than 1,683 square feet,” she said.
Raymus Homes have historically been the lowest cost per square foot among Manteca builders. Currently 50 percent of their buyers are from Manteca, down from 70 percent two years ago when the housing market started to recover.
They are also partners in the building of 28 homes in Civello Estates on East Louise Avenue that recently broke ground.