Business North Article – Master Joiner Awards 2023

Business North magazine published an article in their Nov 2023 issue about our recent Master Joiners award win (Best Region Waikato-Bay of Plenty) for Bar Central, Queenstown. To view the article in the  Business North magazine, click here or read the article below.

Established Company at the top of its game

Radical changes in the joinery market in the wake of the Covid pandemic saw 70-year-old multiple award-winning Tauranga firm Gartshore’s retail work plummet from 80% of its business to 40%, with the slack fully taken up by bars, restaurants and shopping malls. “We could see it coming,” Gartshore’s third-generation owner Rob Gartshore says. “The joinery market for the retail sector was always going to be hit at some stage by on-line sales and an oversupply of retail space given large scale mall redevelopments. “Not that it had any effect on our bottom line: we went from doing retail fit-outs to food and accommodation services, and our 80-odd staff were kept fully committed throughout.” Nor did the retail slump have any impact on Gartshore’s propensity for winning top industry awards.

For the third year running the company won the Best Project Workmanship and Expertise Award for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region at the Master Joiners Excellence Awards earlier this year, right on top of earlier success at the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards. The joiners award was for Gartshore’s work on Bar Central in the O’Connell’s Shopping Mall in Queenstown. The recently-completed mall was closed for two years while it was re-developed with Bar Central in the middle, adjacent to the Duty Free Store’s three-storey complex, a food court and nine commercial tenancies. Gartshore worked in with South Island contractor Naylor Love to deliver the project with a joinery services price-tag of $1.8m.

Bar Central has a vintage look with the centrepiece being a halo-shaped sculpture drop-feature of bronze architectural chain-mail mesh suspended above a 21m curved bar built from white Attica stone. The bar is constructed around 150 heavy age-stained Metalier battens individually joined round the whole of the bar as both an element of interest and as a structural component holding up the stone bar leaner. The centre of the bar itself features a stainless steel drinks trough with a polished brass trim, while three polished stainless steel columns in the middle of the drinks trough support the chain-mail halo. Gartshore controlled all the logistics required to deliver the componentry for Bar Central from the company’s 30,000 square foot Tauranga headquarters and warehouse to Queenstown, with such long-haul deliveries being par for the course for the company.

“We’re recognised as the go-to people for custom and bespoke joinery for larger projects, and we have a warehouse and office in Auckland and another In Phillipstown, Christchurch, that we work through, along with our Tauranga headquarters,” Rob says. The company, which has an annual turnover of between $26m and $29m, was founded in 1956 by Rob’s grandfather, Bill Gartshore Snr, a year after he arrived as an immigrant from Scotland with nothing to his name but a skilled pair of hands. Working on his own as a builder during the day and a joiner in his basement at night, Bill rapidly grew the business which he passed on to his son, also called Bill, whom Rob, a quantity surveyor by profession, bought out in 2018. The Tauranga workshop is a model of state-of-the-art computer-controlled Biesse joinery machinery, though the company’s several apprentices are still taught their trade as they continue to re invest in the future.