Seeking the ‘high end’
CONSTRUCTION companies pitching to the luxury end of the market have been riding a rollercoaster called survival ever since the GFC struck some six years ago.
But while the market in its home region struggled, architectural joinery and cabinetry business Minka Joinery looked interstate for work. In 2008, when the GFC hit, the Kunda Park business immediately lost 75% of its business.
Manager Viktor Barta and his small team took the unorthodox action of turning their attention to the infamously unwelcoming, yet stable, Melbourne industry.
Minka Joinery - from the Japanese term for "built by hand" - thrived in the high-end Melbourne construction industry with architects who had previously found their innovative fit-out concepts hard to make.
Builders and architects were flown up to the Kunda Park factory and the jobs started coming. Entire fit-outs ordered from interstate are built and packaged on the Sunshine Coast and sent 2000km to Victoria in complete packages.
Mr Barta said interstate clients quickly became unconcerned about the tyranny of distance once they witnessed the final product for themselves. "Logistically, we are able to get access to anything we need and product can be shipped to any place," he said. "Being on the Sunshine Coast has been a great benefit because we are in a unique position to service the entire east coast of Australia.
"The builders in Melbourne had found the same frustrations as the builders here, with cabinetry not arriving on time or arriving incorrectly and projects being delayed.
"But with us, builders are able to see a large home fitted out in one stage, saving them many weeks.
"The cabinetry became the smoothest part of their projects."
Mr Barta said Minka's team of 14 was booked up for work in the first six months of this year, and much of the work was local.
"We are seeing the high- end projects coming back on line," he said.
"People are mentally and financially ready to invest again and spend money on luxury items. It's really exciting to see and that's what drives our innovation."