Time for You

NCP Bathroom Centres

Pedestal sinks, in-counter sinks, wall hung sinks, basic bathtubs, whirlpool tubs, stand up showers, shower bath combinations, and toilets – just looking at the range of items to choose from in a bathroom could get some in a tizzy, but that is why there are experienced companies out there that can make it all come together.

With its years of experience, NCP Bathroom Centres has all of that and more covered. The company can make a new bathroom fit out or an older bathroom remodel less painful. The business has been around since the early 1950s, when Howard McDonald and his brother-in-law Bert Shepard started a plumbing company.

“Over time it has evolved into a bathroom and plumbing shop,” says Tracy Wilkins, Sales and Marketing Manager of NCP Bathrooms. “We’re probably about fifty per cent retail and fifty per cent plumbing; it depends on how busy the construction industry is.”

The company started with one store in Maroochydore and today maintains six locations, at Caloundra, Gympie, Noosaville, Caboolture and Nambour as well as the original location. The locations employ sixty-three people with additional staff members depending on the amount of work happening in the construction industry at any given time.

“When the contracting business isn’t busy, we don’t have many plumbers on staff,” explains Tracy. “Unfortunately, that’s where the rise and fall comes from. The retail staff, however, is usually pretty steady.”

Indeed, many of NCP Bathroom Centres’ staff members have worked with the company for a number of years, becoming like family. Some bring with them a wealth of experience in the industry whereas others are hired as trainees, to learn the ropes from the company’s experienced staff. “We also have our suppliers come into the locations and give our employees the latest product knowledge,” says Tracy. “Customer service skills, etc. are taught in-house.”

NCP Bathroom Centres has even been honoured by the broader industry, winning an award for employing upwards of fifty apprentices over the years and sharing the wealth of knowledge from within the company.

In 2007, the company undertook a rebranding from North Coast Plumbing to NCP Bathroom Centres with the tag-line, ‘Time for You’. It’s not just a tag-line, according to Tracy Wilkins. It’s a principle which the company, at its core, strives for.

There are many common mistakes that can be made when redesigning a bathroom, and more often than not, the bathroom is a small space that doesn’t leave much room for the wrong choices. Fixture size and placement decisions can make the difference between a space that feels small and cramped or serene and comfortable.

In considering the layout of a bathroom, NCP believes that every square inch should be used properly. If someone comes in with a confused look on their face and a need for information, even if they aren’t going to buy anything at that time, good advice and time from a staff member is always available, and that is what brings people back again and again. “We have time for you; we will help you solve your problems,” says Tracy. A layout that may be tough to build will also be worth the effort if it becomes what one truly wants.

NCP Bathroom Centres is able to deliver such quality service, Tracy says, thanks to its many valued suppliers. Maintaining strong relationships for so many years has made it possible for the company to obtain low prices and offer its customers value for money. Some products are imported through a buying group called Plumbing Plus to bring in a variety of things that may not be found in Australia; for the most part, though, Australian suppliers form the backbone of the NCP offering.

“We display and stock both Australian brands and European fixtures and it’s important for customers to have that choice,” shares Tracy. “The relationships that we have with our suppliers are something that is very close to my heart.”

Anything and everything plumbing related can be found at NCP Bathroom Centres. This includes PVC and copper piping, toilets and toilet fittings, kitchen sinks, laundry tubs, tapware and hot water systems, just to name a few. “You really can get everything from one place,” says Tracy. “We have all of the great Australian brands and a good number of European brands as well.”

Fixtures, of course, are very important and selecting them can take a bit of know-how as well as a sense of style. Because there are so many different styles to choose from, it can be a challenge to find just the right one, and there is considerable variation when it comes to price point. A more expensive set of fixtures might be made of stainless steel or other durable materials; plastic fixtures are typically less expensive but will only look great for a limited amount of time before needing to be replaced. The company’s skilled team can advise on all of these issues and more.

Even during the lean times of recent years, the company has found that by focusing on providing quality products and top level customer service, it has been able to flourish and grow. “We’ve expanded into other areas of the sunshine coast,” says Tracy, “and I admit it may have been a little risky as times but we have really excellent management. We also have good financial planning, which has made everything work so well for us.”

Staying on the leading edge of new product developments has been another fundamental factor in NCP Bathroom Centres’ success. New products, in fact, appear in stock almost constantly. “It’s really exciting; I like to change our showrooms regularly,” says Tracy. “We’re going back to a few colours in tapware – mainly black and white – where we’ve been in a chrome world for probably the last ten years, so that’s something different for us. We really enjoy having a few unique pieces in the showroom that will grab a little bit of interest within the staff and customer base. New items will keep the customer’s appetite whet and they will come back again and again to see what we have.”

NCP Bathroom Centres’ work can be found in a number of new developments along the Sunshine Coast, in the University of the Sunshine Coast, and in many of the retirement villages and high-rises that have been built there over the years. A strong Australian company, NCP Bathroom Centres has been around for sixty years and plans to be around for a lot longer. Hard work and dedication to its customers, says Tracy, have made the company exactly what it is today.

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May 25, 2020, 8:38 PM AEST