Our Story

From small, humble beginnings...

With a passion for working with libraries and librarians Raymond Elliott and Roger Boswarva commenced Raeco® in the February of 1962 with five hundred pounds, borrowed from their landlady at 46 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Their vision was to supply equipment to libraries across Australia and sales calls were done by catching a tram and getting off where there were schools.

Raeco’s early products reflected their founder’s ideas for improvements to products used in libraries. In the 1960’s call numbers were often placed on the spines of books by the laborious method of painting a black patch, waiting for it to dry and then writing the number in white ink using a steel nibbed pen. Raeco’s first sales were of a black R1215 label at 23 shillings and sixpence. Libraries were also using the English Brown borrowing system for their loans. Each book had a pocket and each borrower had a number of cards. Raymond recommended reversing the situation so the book had the card and the borrower had the pockets, reducing the number of expensive hand folded and glued pockets required. Raeco® added an ‘E’ for Elliott to the Brown book cards and the Browne system became the standard borrowing system in many Australian libraries. Both of these innovative products were an immediate success.

Over the years Raeco® has followed the development of libraries and has come up with a product mix to meet changing needs. Many products such as those listed above have come and gone but there are many that remain since the early days such as bookends and Hansa book covering.

From our small, humble beginnings Raeco® has now grown into an Australian wide business, yet we’re still driven by the same thing that we were in the beginning... our passion for working with libraries and librarians!

Raeco® History

1961 23 year old Ray Elliot, an employee of the S & M (Shire & Municipal) Supply Co Pty Ltd with a passion for working with libraries and librarians, registers a Library Supply Service Company during his lunch hour with his business partner Roger Boswarva. 
Mar 1962 With an office at 46 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne and five hundred pounds borrowed from the landlady (and repaid weekly) trading begins. Early products reflected ideas for improvements to library products such as Browne book cards and pockets.
1965 Roger leaves the company to pursue other interests.
1967 Company name is changed to Raeco®, R.A.E being Ray Elliot’s initials.
1977 Ray accepts an offer from Production Manager Neil Fraser and Finance Manager Mark Rae to purchase all shares in Raeco®.
Aug 1985 Raeco® and its steel shelving supplier Lincoln Engineering are purchased by Street Thompson Holdings Limited and operated as separate divisions of Raelink Consolidated Industries Limited.
Raeco® now occupies a warehouse 24,000 sq ft and office 6,000 sq feet at 100 Cochranes Road, Moorabbin, Victoria.
May 1988 Raeco® and Lincoln Engineering are merged into one division with Lincoln Engineering only to be sold off within the next year.
1988-1989 Raeco® is acquired by Westmex and is now a “one stop” shop for libraries with over 4,000 products ranging from general stationery supplies to more specialist library supplies.
Feb 1991 Staff consists of 54 employees spread across distribution, selling, light manufacturing and administration. This includes a customer service/telemarketing team of 14 and an external sales team of 11 with representatives in NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT and SA and agent distributors in WA, NT and Tasmania.
1992 Quick Stik International Pty Limited trading as Raeco® is now a fully owned subsidiary of Esselte Business Systems – a public world-wide corporation involved in office products, retail supplies and equipment and information systems. Esselte at the same time purchases Hogbin Excelsior, a stationery company, located at 75 Rushdale Street, Knoxfield Victoria.
Sept 1992 Raeco® moves from Moorabbin to its current location at 75 Rushdale Street Knoxfield, Victoria. Biggest selling products include book covering and shelving.

Raeco’s product range at this time consists of almost every stationery need in a library environment including book pockets, date due slips, stamps, book covering and repair to computer accessories and microfiche storage. Raeco® is also a major supplier of library shelving, furniture and storage.
1996 Raeco® is purchased by Colin Gallagher & Laurie Boyer (from Tasman Industries) and the company is incorporated as Raeco® International Pty Limited, with operations in Australia and New Zealand. Also operating at this time is Raeco’s furniture division Dacal Furniture Supplies. Raeco® acquires S & M Supply Company Pty Ltd, a division of the S & M Fineline Corporation and a diverse manufacturer and distributor of conservation materials and library equipment. The S & M archival and conservation part of Raeco’s business was later transferred to Zetta Florence, a specialist in archival materials.
1999 Raeco’s technology division (security systems) is purchased by 3M.
2001 Launch of Raeco® website.
2003 Raeco ® launches the Range Profiler, expanding the company from library supplier to project solutions provider and spends the next eight years expanding the furniture range.
Jun 2007 Raeco® is acquired by Corporate Express Australia Limited, Australia’s largest single source supplier of business essentials
2008 Staples purchases 49% of Corporate Express Australia and New Zealand shares.
2009 Raeco® NZ moves into Corporate Express NZ office/warehouse.
2010 Staples completes its purchase of Corporate Express Australia Limited and Corporate Express New Zealand on Wednesday 8th September and is no longer listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
2012 With around 2,000 catalogued SKUs Raeco®, Australia’s number one library supplier, celebrates its 50th birthday.
2015 In October, Raeco® is successfully purchased by a Raeco® management group (CEI Pty Ltd), making Raeco® a fully Australian owned company.