Generations of quality
The Sidgreaves Group has been operating since 1917, and since that early date they have remained a family business. They are one of Australia’s most experienced shopfitters, and that knowledge has enabled them to take on key projects for some of the most significant brands and retailers in the country.
The company’s proud history began with brothers Harry and Ernest Sidgreaves, who established a small retail shopfitting workshop in Surry Hills. They were soon joined by their father John and younger brother Harold, and by 1920 were successful enough to have to relocate to Redfern in order to accommodate their growth. They operated at this site until 1984, moving to Silverwater, and again in 2005, to Annadale.
Today, Sidgreaves is a multi-disciplined retail design, project management and fitout company. They are able to work with some of the most successful local and international brands, providing them with all the services they might need including design, the manufacture of fixtures and fittings, and the installation of their retail space.
“We have anywhere between 16 to 20 employees depending on the size of the project we work on,” says Louise Sidgreaves, Managing Director of the group. “We have a design team, project managers, estimators, and of course the shopfitting team – and that is our team in Sydney. In China, we also have a team at our manufacturing plant.”
In addition to their direct employees, Sidgreaves has an extensive subcontractor network that includes painters, electricians, carpenters, and more. Those trades that have been chosen due to the quality of the work they provide, and Sidgreaves’ relationship with many of them spans decades.
A family business
Louise and Michael Sidgreaves joined the company in the early-90s while their father was the Managing Director. In 2003, they became the Managing Directors of the group.
Prior to joining the family business, Louise earned a Bachelor of Design from the University of Technology, Sydney, where she graduated with honours. She also studied design in Italy. When she joined Sidgreaves, she thought it would be a short-time position. In the past 21 years, however, she has worked across all areas of the business, learning everything there is to know about its operations.
Over the last 20 years, Sidgreaves has worked across Australia, in Asia and throughout New Zealand. Their primary focus has remained in Australia, but they are quite proud of their geographical reach.
“We work for our clients, and it really depends on where they want to open stores,” Louise says.
The size of the company’s jobs depends on the needs and requirements of their client. Their projects can be anything from small concession fitouts to high-end flagship installations, and range in value from $50,000 to $3 million.
A cut above
Sidgreaves has been building on their experience for more than 90 years. According to Louise, that is their true point of difference. By working with national and international retailers, they have become very well versed in customer service, and know how to work collaboratively alongside their client’s design teams.
Over the years, Sidgreaves has also developed a range of capabilities, which also sets them apart. They can take a project right from the design stage through to manufacturing, and then to installation and fitout. And because of key relationships, such as with their factory in China, they can ensure quality every step over the way.
“We have worked closely with our factory in China for over ten years now,” Louise says. “We actually set the factory up with our Chinese counterparts to ensure that they produce quality joinery and millwork in order to meet the needs of our high-end client.”
“Our clients demand a certain level of craftsmanship, and we have to be able to guarantee that,” she adds.
Sidgreaves’ factory manufactures all of their joinery. They have placed their own team on the ground there in order to oversee the process and to ensure the quality controls are in place.
96 years of experience
“I don’t think there are any other shopfitting companies that are family-owned and successful at 96 years old,” Louise says. “We have seen some significant changes in the industry through our history and we have adapted to meet the needs of the industry. Over many years, we have seen the cyclical nature of the shopfitting industry, which has allowed us to plan for the ups and downs and to work with confidence.”
Sidgreaves’ longevity has attracted a range of loyal clients. Louise points to her very first client as an example of this – Bally of Switzerland, who they have been working with for over 21 years now. Hugo Boss is yet another of their clients that they have built a 15-plus year relationship with, installing many of their flagship stores across New Zealand and Australia.
“We take building those relationships very seriously,” Louise says. “I think that we have been able to maintain them because we place a very high expectation on our own service level.”
In addition to the loyalty of their clients, Sidgreaves has also garnered significant industry recognition throughout the years. Recently they received an Australian Shop and Office Fitting Industry Association (ASOFIA) award – NSW Interior Fitout of the Year for a Versace outlet that they created in Westfield’s Sydney City Centre. Louise says that recognition like this provides a sense of accomplishment and validation, and proves that the way they do business is the right way.
“You are recognised by your peers,” she says. “It is a really big statement – they are recognising the intrinsic value of what we do. For them to see that, it makes us extremely proud.”
That awards success also means something to potential and current clients, Louise says. It tells them that Sidgreaves is capable of delivering among the best shopfitting on the market, and gives them confidence in choosing them.
Since quality and work ethic are intrinsically linked in the Sidgreaves philosophy, their success at providing both has shown Louise that there is some real potential for development and growth.
“We see ourselves being able to grow due to the fact that we can provide very high quality fittings at a much more affordable price for our clients,” says Louise.
In the future, Sidgreaves will continue to stand for quality and service. That’s what they have represented for over 96 years so far, and it is what they will represent in the years to come.
“This quality is our company’s statement, and I see us upholding this value to a point where people are very keen to work with us and for us,” she concludes.
For more information, please visit their website at: The Sidgreaves Group
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