A Reputation for Quality

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In today’s competitive retail sector, it is crucial merchants not only have quality merchandise in stock, but can display their goods in an atmosphere that is professional, attractive and inviting to their customers. That is where The BSF Group comes into the picture.

In business for the past 30 years, The BSF Group has earned a reputation for creating quality fitouts for clients in retail, commercial, pharmaceutical, and medical sectors. A family-owned Australian business with decades of experience and an enviable client base, BSF believes in working closely with its customers every step of the way, from design to manufacture to installation, creating quality and attractive fitouts on time and on budget across the country.

The company traces its roots back to 1980, when it was started by Stan Lewis and his business partner John Hammond. The two brought a wealth of experience to the newly-formed business, having been involved in the formation of many successful enterprises prior to that time. Mr Lewis brought many years of practical and business experience to the company, having started as a shop fitter at the tender age of 13.

“He first started working for himself back in 1950,” says Karen Budd-Andersen, Mr Lewis’s daughter, and General Manager for BSF. In time, Mr Hammond offered him a partnership in a successful glass business in New Guinea, and Mr Lewis went there with his entire family. The business did exceptionally well, and the Lewis family eventually returned to Australia, where the business partners started yet another successful venture, which they sold prior to establishing BSF. “It was the start of a very long-term relationship,” explains Ms Budd-Andersen, who worked in the airline industry before entering the family business, initially in accounts and as office manager before taking over in 1999. Mr Hammond had passed away by that time, and the company was divided, with Mr Lewis and his family focusing on the shop fitting areas.

“When I took over in 1999, I had a fairly good grounding on what we did here,” Ms Budd-Andersen says. “You grow up in a building family, you get to know most things anyway, and everyone helps out.”

On Time and On Budget

Although the full name of the company is Budget Shopfitters Pty Ltd, the company uses BSF Group to represent its wide range of experience. “We work to a customer’s budget… to produce something that will work for our customers.”

Today, Stan Lewis serves as Managing Director, while General Manager Karen Budd-Andersen oversees all facets of The BSF Group, helping the business evolve, interacting with clients and staff, and following global fitout trends, designs and products that the company can bring to its many Australian customers and clients in retail, commercial, and other sectors. Many are well known, and include Retravision, Supa News, Pets Paradise, Billy Baxter, and Betta Group.

From its state of the art manufacturing facilities, BSF Group is able to provide quality designs, custom-made joinery and shop fittings, and a great deal more, including project management, on-site inspections, face-to-face consultations, and full trade support. “One of the reasons that we’ve become so popular is the fact that we can do everything ourselves in-house,” says Ms Budd-Andersen. In addition to first-class work, one of the most valuable resources BSF offers its clients is professional advice prior to the start of work. “We give the customer the best possible information on how to more forward, and actually encourage our customers to come and talk to us before they sign a lease, so they can get some sort of information about what to expect from that lease negotiation.” This process is a tremendous benefit to clients, and helps to advise them on details they might not otherwise understand. After this comes the design process, where clients can use their own designer, or use a design created by BSF. Once this design is approved, the company makes the products for the client’s retail shop, pharmacy, commercial, or medical area. “They sign their lease, and when we’re finished, they just walk in with their stock, and start trading – everything is there for them.”

Five Key Ingredients for Success

By working with its clients, The BSF Group is able to provide design, manufacturing, and installation. To design, manufacture and install projects on time and on budget, the company has a unique five-step program in place to ensure quality and customer satisfaction. First, clients are appointed their own Project Manager, who will work alongside them and act as their main contact from design and quotation to completion and handover. Second, BSF recognizes that some clients will provide their own plans through recognized designers, while others will require direct assistance with everything from design to installation. Third, BSF’s three-stage manufacturing process (job drawing and material cutting, job assembly, and job finishing & dispatch) and the latest equipment ensures quality products. Fourth, BSF’s proven installers, site supervisors, and accredited subcontractors are able to ensure projects are installed Australia-wide. And last but not least, The BSF Group remains a family-run organisation with a friendly, approachable attitude, years of experience, and an ability to explain the process to clients every step of the way.

“No matter what, we’re there to make sure it’s exactly the way the customer wants it at the end,” explains Ms Budd-Andersen. “We do whatever it takes to make it happen.”

Along with creating fitouts for pharmacies, newsagents, beauty shops, food service, bookstores, offices, kiosks and countless other sectors, BSF recently completed some work on the Orange Hospital in New South Wales, including internal fixtures, cupboards, and bed frames. No matter the project, the company is at the forefront of new trends, designs, and materials, like Apolyc – which has been used on high-rise buildings for many years, but is now finding a new application in the retail industry – and Corian, a durable product manufactured by DuPont, and used in retail, entertainment, corporate, health, art, and many other applications.

Despite its many years in business and countless satisfied clients, The BSF Group prides itself on training and motivating young people. Working closely with colleges, the company has produced many talented shopfitters, cabinet makers, painters, and welders over the years. BSF has even helped some start businesses of their own. “We’re very passionate about training young people, and we like to make sure the knowledge is handed on,” says Ms Budd-Andersen. At one shopfitters meeting, she remembers looking around at a number of individuals the company trained in their youth who later became successful business owners. “We were trying to count how many apprentices we’ve trained over the years, and we got to 300, and we just stopped counting. I think the biggest legacy this company has is in the people that it has trained, and what they have been able to achieve themselves.”

The business, she says, paid tribute to her 80-year-old father about a year ago at a shopfitters conference in New Zealand, where he was presented with an award and named an icon of the shopfitting business. “What my dad has given back to the industry has been phenomenal, and we are continuing that legacy.”

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

August 18, 2022, 8:17 PM AEST