Brad Street is general manager for Winning Commercial -- a specialist provider for kitchen, bathroom and laundry solutions for the residential construction and development industry.
As leader for the business unit, Brad is tasked with overseeing a national sales and administration team as well as liaising with suppliers from all sectors of the industry.
We sat down with Brad to learn more about Winning Commercial, the major trends in kitchens and his vision for the future of development.
Q. What is Winning Commercial?
Winning Commercial is part of the Winning Group, a fourth generation family-owned company that's been around for over 110 years. You might know our brands Appliances Online and Winning Appliances, supplying Australians with a great range of kitchen appliances. It's grown from a small New South Wales presence to stores in Queensland, ACT and Western Australia.
Winning Commercial looks after builders, architects, designers and developers by supplying kitchen, bathroom and laundry products.
We make sure we offer the right mix of products for each project, at a fair price and backed with great service from initial consultation, delivery and post-project reviews.
Originally I worked in banking, property development and real estate before I got involved in the world of kitchen appliances. I came onboard with Fisher & Paykel as a the NSW & ACT Commercial Sales Manager, cutting my teeth in the fast-paced world of home development. It was a great experience to work within a demanding industry and I knew I had found the place I wanted to be.
After five years with Fisher & Paykel, I took on the challenge of running Winning Commercial. The team was small in those days and it has been pretty incredible to see it grow in leaps and bounds to the 40 plus unique individuals that are here today.
It’s been interesting to see that the kitchen is emerging to become a focal part of the home. It wasn’t that long ago that kitchens had the bare necessities and the focus was on the living room. Now kitchen design is at the forefront of great developments, shown by attention paid to display suites and renders.
Buyers are also putting the environment first and I’ve seen that developers are looking at new ways to show off their green credentials. Kitchen, laundry and bathroom products are also a part of this trend and have been focusing on energy savings, water usage and conscious enviro-friendly design. For developers who are focusing on this green message, it’s important that they include their products in the message.
I think a lot of the innovation in the appliance space has been driven by the Australian love affair of the cooking show. Shows like MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules have kickstarted a new generation of budding home chefs keen to emulate their TV heroes. Cooking has come of age as a form of entertainment and consumers are looking for appliances that can provide the tools they need.
Various innovations that really stick out are the use of steam ovens and induction cooktops for a gasless cooking experience. And while home chefs are now exploring new cooking techniques, appliance suppliers have created products that put the user at the centre of the experience. It’s a tricky balancing act for suppliers to follow but the products out in the market today offer great value for money.
As everyone in the development space knows, it’s all about the relationships you have with suppliers and clients. It’s a cliche, but we want to have relationships that are win-win; we only work with people who want to work with us.
The longevity of the great relationships we have with our clients is backed up by the service we provide. We make sure we make life as easy as possible for our clients so their project is delivered on time and on budget. We back ourselves with an expert team, in-house administration and a national network of warehouses and delivery services to help our clients when and where they need us.
We have had the chance to work on some unbelievable buildings (and with a few more on the horizon!) but if I had to pick one, the Central Park development by Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House Australia is truly unique. Watching the transition from a historical brewery to an entirely new community over the years has been breathtaking. Each building has their own character and with the conscious design of integrating open space, the place just feels alive.
We also work closely with leading cottage home builders across the country. There’s nothing like seeing vacant paddocks being turned into thriving communities with families, community centres and local businesses. I’ve been there since the early days of the original Homeworld in Kellyville NSW and it is amazing how much has changed.
One Central Park - Photo courtesy of Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House AustraliaQ. Where do you think the development industry will be five years from now?
To be honest I don’t think a lot will change. If I was to nominate a trend, it’s that purchasers -- whether they are first timers or not -- are becoming savvier than ever. The internet has given them access to information that wasn’t available a decade ago.
Other things I have noticed is that supplier automation will develop, with materials and inclusions setting the pace. In addition, land will forever remain key to great developments and authorities need to encourage the industry, not hamper with additional regulatory costs.
It doesn’t hurt to be good to your mother! On a serious note, two sayings that have stood out to me are “control the controllables” and “good things happen to good people”. Easy to follow mantras that have helped me throughout all stages of my life.
With everyone I have met the key challenge that we face is prioritising workloads. As a manager you need to set expectations and maintain open communication. Failure to do so can result in a poor customer experience, which goes against the way we do things at Winning Commercial.
With Winning Commercial we have a fantastic team and great relationships with suppliers and clients; now we need to focus on technology to lead the way on enhancing the customer experience.
Technology doesn’t replace having a great culture and we want to make sure we keep bringing in people who are the best fit. The business is really still in the start-up phase so there is plenty of scope for future growth. The future is bright for the company and I cannot wait to see what we can achieve.
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