Subiaco Restoration’s back story is immersed in the philosophy that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Established in 1981, the company started out in the brick business, but it didn’t stay that way for long.
“The business originally started off as a second-hand brick company,” explains Nick Stokes, Subiaco Restoration’s timber manager.
“Mum and Dad were going out to houses that were getting demolished and would collect up all the bricks,” he says.
Nick’s parents, John and Jo Stokes, soon realised that there was more than just bricks to collect in from the demolished homes – and soon a larger business idea sparked. John and Jo began collecting timber doors, frames, windows, flooring and decking.
Soon, Subiaco Restoration was born, and the business commenced trading as a merchant business.
“It started out as a small salvage yard, and then it just kept on growing and evolving,” Nick says.
John and Jo, along with their sons Nick, Tim and Chris, ended up working together as a family-owned operation, servicing customers all over WA.
A WIDE ARRAY
Today, Subiaco Restoration boasts 35 employees and a large site in Osborne Park that stretches 9,500 m2. Nick has been managing the timber department of the business for five years now, while Tim takes care of the fireplace department, and Chris is the general manager.
However, it wasn’t always this way; when Nick, Chris and Tim were growing up their parents insisted that they start out by working on the basics.
“Looking back, it’s great how mum and dad ran things. Chris, Tim and myself all had to “˜earn our stripes’ before we could start running the business,” Nick says.
SO MODERN, SO NOW
Today the business is a sleek operation with a new website and comprehensive product offering. While their name has stayed the same, funnily enough, Subiaco Restoration no longer operates in Subiaco or as a restoration business.
“It’s completely changed! We stock all new products, but we do supply materials for a large range of restoration jobs, like hotel and bar fit-outs,” explains Nick.
“We also replicate a lot of products so customers can come in and get doors to match the rest of their home,” he says.
The business’s large workshop means that Nick and his team have the capabilities to manufacture anything and everything involving timber.
“We will often just say yes to anything and make it happen!” says Nick.
Over the time Nick has worked in the timber merchant business, he says he has particularly seen a change in the industry over the last five years. While historically there has been a distinct lack of timber construction in WA, it seems the tide is turning.
“Western Australia’s definitely changing, it was always a double brick, concrete slab, construction industry – whereas now it’s very common to see a renovation happening where it will be a double brick, single-storey house being converted into a two-storey house with a light-weight timber construction application,” he says.
It has been beneficial for the business due to the fact that Nick and his brothers cater significantly to local jobs, including extensions, renovations, and add-ons.
“Our market’s not your single-storey brick house,” he says, “Our business is weatherboard homes and second storey fit-outs, and timber is really popular across those areas now. Everywhere you go there’s a big alfresco deck and patio – timber is being used everywhere,” he says.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
As we inch closer to 2016, Nick explains to that the team at Subiaco Restoration hopes to continue learning – and growing.
“The aim is to expand and get smarter. The manufacturing side of the business is extremely busy because we do a lot of specialty jobs.
“This means increasing the products we’re importing in, increasing manufacturing output, and continuously evolving and developing,” Nick says.
And his favourite piece of advice? “The best money you’ll ever earn is from building a house, because it’s tax-free! As a family, we’ve always taken on the challenge of throwing ourselves into renovating in our personal lives,” he states.
So essentially the Stokes family likes to practice what they preach?
“Absolutely,” Nick says.