The Perfect Partnership – Brad and Carey Riley
Writer / Pete Walkey
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
For the past 27 years, business owners Brad and Carey Riley have been proud to call the Geist Reservoir home. Their story is one of humble beginnings, hard work, doing business the right way and constantly reinventing themselves. You might know them as owners of Recreation Unlimited.
Brad grew up on a farm in Greentown, Indiana, while Carey grew up in Muncie. Both graduated from Purdue and began professional careers in Indy, Brad at Eli Lilly and Carey in the financial industry.
When they decided to have a family, Carey chose to stay home and raise their two boys Grant and Blane. To bring in extra money, and for the challenge, Carey started a part-time business with a line of credit of $10,000 as an Invisible Fence distributor in her spare time.
Carey would schedule evening appointments for Brad during the week, and together they would install on the weekends. They remember installing a fence after dark using the headlights from their car.
The business grew to a point where they were one of the most successful Invisible Fence dealers in the U.S., overseeing 14 states. One day, Brad came home, and instead of Carey stressed out from balancing kids, household logistics and the new business, she was smiling and happy. She announced she had just “quit” the business because she couldn’t take it. Brad knew it was time to quit Lilly and jump in full-time. This started a long and successful career as business owners.
All in all, they have started and owned four businesses and sold two. The one people are most familiar with is Recreation Unlimited in Noblesville.
Established in 1989, they are a one-stop shop for spa, hot tub, pool table, game room, playground and sports equipment needs. Their staff combines over 50 years of recreation experience in the Midwest.
They have a huge display of quality Play Systems, Goalrilla Basketball Systems and playhouses. Their private spa showroom allows you the opportunity to get in and enjoy the relaxing comfort of several spas before making a purchase. They take pride in their equipment and installations, and their number one goal is to provide the best service both before and after your purchase.
They founded Goalrilla Basketball Systems in 1995, eventually selling the company in 2000. Recreation Unlimited, however, still sells the brand as does DICK’s Sporting Goods and many other retailers across the country. Roger, their lead installer at Recreation Unlimited, has installed more basketball goals than anyone in the U.S.
Brad has the big picture, sales and marketing mind, while Carey provides the finance, operations and day-to-day expertise. They are a perfect partnership and provide balance to one another and the business.
Brad credits much of their business success from staying fresh, constantly reinventing the business and offering a diversified offering of products and solutions.
Relationships and Family
Family is very important to them as they are very proud of their two sons Grant and Blane. Blane is a third-year medical student at Marian University, and Grant has joined the family business with his IT background.
They spoke about the importance of relationships, community involvement and their desire to impact people through their businesses. This includes employees, customers, vendors and people in the community.
It was very clear that the next chapter of their lives includes making a difference in the community. They have recently donated land for the new Humane Society for Hamilton County.
They spoke very highly of the Executive Director Rebecca M. Stevens. They shared the vision for the new complex that will be located just north of 146th St. on State Road 37 and are incredibly excited for the future project.