Gibson Shopfitters has its roots in Sydney, Australia and bears the name of Douglas Holdsworth Gibson, who began his working life as a carpenter in the early 1920’s.
Gibson Family Era
In 1924 Doug Gibson worked on the fitout of the first Woolworths store as an employee of Francis and Smith. After a period of expansion with Woolworths, Doug became a partner in Francis and Smith and eventually, after the death of SA Smith, bought out the remaining partner and established his own company. Based in Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo, this company was the original seed of today’s Gibson Shopfitters.
From these early days, Doug Gibson’s work continued to be based around shopfitting for Woolworths with the exception of a period during the Second World War when Gibsons were assigned to work for the Navy manufacturing ammunition cases and refitting timber components of damaged warships.
In 1955, Gibsons established their metal manufacturing division U-Rect-It (URI) at Marrickville in response to a market trend for an alternative to timber fixtures. URI specialised in the manufacturing of steel shelving systems and soon began supplying both the original Gibson shopfitting business which had been geared towards servicing Woolworths, and also supplying a range of systems to a more diversified retail customer base.
In 1963, the Gibson family added another business, Consolidated Joinery, to the group as a specialist timber and joinery supplier to their Gibson shopfitting business.
In the 1970’s, the Gibson shopfitting business was moved to Pine Road, Fairfield because the Cathedral Street premises was in the path of Sydney’s upcoming Eastern Suburbs Railway. URI later joined the Gibson shopfitting business on the same premises where they were operated side-by-side.
Both businesses continued to expand, and in the late 1970’s it was necessary for the Gibson shopfitting business to relocate to larger premises at Magowar Rd, Girraween where the joinery manufacturing operation is still located. URI’s manufacturing operations have continued at the same premises in Fairfield to this day.
In 1989 the Gibson family sold their group of companies to the Salamon family who initially continued to develop and expand the 3 businesses as separate entities.
In 2002, after careful consideration of market conditions and potential, Gibsons began a concentrated period of expansion and a focus on the core business of shopfitting which has seen a fusion of the Gibson and URI activities. This overall development strategy has contained 5 key elements:
- Combine and expand warehousing and distribution
- Combine sales and administration teams
- Combine management information and ERP systems
- Expand joinery factory capacity
- Sell and discontinue non-core businesses
The timeline for the development has been:
Mid-2003 Gibson warehouse was relocated from Girraween to Fairfield. Joinery factory capacity was increased by relocating machine shop into vacated Girraween warehouse.
Mid-2004 URI was migrated to Gibson ERP software
Jan-2005 Gibson group head office and warehouse were relocated to newly constructed premises at Yennora. Gibson and URI sales, administration and warehouse teams were combined on the new premises.
Aug-2005 The first phase was completed in the sale of Consolidated Veneers P/L (formerly Consolidated Joinery)
End-2006 A new phase of investment commenced in design capabilities with a migration to Solidworks 3D CAD software
May-2007 Maintenance services were discontinued
May-2007 The final phase was completed in the sale of Consolidated Veneers P/L
Jan-2008 Employee facilities at the Girraween joinery factory were redeveloped and the carpentry and assembly capacity was expanded.
May-2008 Trading name of URI changed to “Gibson Shopfitters – Metal Division”
2008/09 Capital expenditure program to increase machine shop capacity by transforming infrastructure with new CAD/CAM machinery and software linkages to Solidworks
Jun-2010 Establishment of Project Management division with new section leader
Jan-2012 All warehouse, joinery and head office operations brought together under one roof in 22,000sqm Yennora premises to increase capacity
Dec-2012 Additional 7,000sqm warehouse added to 3PL capacity
Mar-2013 With enhanced import and local supply chain capabilities, Metal Division manufacturing was discontinued and floor space converted to increase 3PL warehouse capacity
Jul-2013 Implementation of Epicor – new ERP software
Oct-2016 The Salamon family sold the business to ShanYoung Group
Jan-2017 Head Office and showroom moved from Yennora to South Granville