Showcasing inspiring stories about Canning Businesses
Wood & Form Cabinets – A migrant success story
We recently met Azadeh Najafian from local business Wood & Form Cabinets Ltd and were impressed by her family’s story – one that many of our local businesses share. It’s a story of resilience, challenge, creativity and authenticity - one that you wouldn't want to miss.
Tell us a little about yourself – what led you to Canning?
I better start with explaining the reason of our migration to Australia. My Dad is a very talented and skillful man who loves his work. In Iran he had a very successful furniture and cabinet making business with around 30 employees, but there were lots of restrictions and pressure which limited his business growth. This led him to look for a better place to pursue his passion freely, away from a harsh environment.
My parents are very passionate about learning and communicating with other people and they always encourage us to learn and grow, so they decided to send me to a different, multicultural country to do my undergraduate studies when I was 17 years old. Since that time I've been mostly living away from my home country.
As we all know leaving the familiar things you love and everything you invested in for years and years is never easy - you can imagine how difficult the pressure was. However the decision was made to leave Iran and everything we knew, for a better quality of life and we moved to Australia.
Why Canning as your location of choice for your business?
We've been living south of river since we got to Perth. We chose Canning Vale as the place to locate our business as it’s a premier industrial area with very good transport links. It's also home to lots of different businesses and this variety makes it very active and a desirable location for any type of business.
What’s been the highlight for your family as they’ve travelled along on their business journey in Australia?
We’ve had lots of great moment in our business, but the most amazing ones are; when we receive a feedback from a happy customer and that makes us realize the provided service was valuable and helpful. That moment when they tell us how happy they are with their new kitchen cabinets, laundry cabinets or bathroom vanities etc. That's the main reason we are in this business; to be able to help others with our skills, knowledge and education.
And the future? What does it hold for you?
For the future, I believe in having a great team of creative skillful people. We really want to grow our team bigger and fill it with talented passionate people. A team which focuses on innovative ideas and customer needs, which can design and build functional and beautiful interior spaces to improve people's wellbeing and quality of life.
That is the reason keeps us going forward in this very challenging path. We believe being in a business is all about learning, and is truly a learning curve and we love it because it pushes us to try our best, evolve, and learn new things every day.
(Published: January 2020)
Catch and Realise – Geraldton Fisherman’s Co-operative
Utilising Canning's strategic location as a hub for freight, find out how this unique regional based business has grown to be the largest processor and exporter of rock lobsters in the world.
Nestled in the heart of the Welshpool industrial area lies the largest processor and exporter of rock lobsters in the world - Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative (GFC). Taking home the coveted West Australian Exporter of the Year 2019, GFC commissioned its Welshpool facility in 2016 as a staging point for all of their exports. The location was chosen as it is located only 10 minutes from the airport, optimising their supply chain from boat-to-plate, and allowing for GFC to service its largest customers in Asia.
In the ensuing decades since GFC was established in 1950, the organisation has focused on product and market development as well as quality improvements to help the industry evolve from a high volume, low-value product to a world-class sustainable fishery in demand across the globe. Today, GFC has a dynamic team located across multiple sites and countries – but stays true to their co-operative roots by maintaining over ten coastal facilities along the WA coastline that service their members who are mostly small to medium family-based fishing businesses. By embracing flexible workplace / work location arrangements and technology, the entire team continues to focus on delivering value no matter where they are in the world.
With fixed quotas of lobster available for trade each year, the WA lobster fishery is the first of its kind to be independently recognised as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 2000. Understanding the need for this regulation as a core tenet of the sustainability of the industry and environment, GFC and their members recognise they are the custodians of the fishery. They see it as their responsibility to ensure that the resource is looked after, sustainably harvested to provide enjoyment and access to all - for generations to come. That’s why GFC’s focus is on growth through increasing market share, returns and product diversification. A perfect example of meeting challenge with innovation, we are proud to have such a forward thinking and sustainable organisation within the City of Canning.
Congratulations once again to the team at Geraldton Fisherman’s Co-operative on taking out the Exporter of the Year in 2019!
(Published: November 2019)
Re-e-magining Waste & Work - Total Green Recycling
As we welcome back Total Green Recycling back into the City of Canning, we reached out to learn and share their inspiring journey as pioneers of the electronic waste industry in WA.
Passionate about tackling Australia’s growing waste problems, brothers Michael and James Coghill established That Guy’s Recycling in their dad’s garage in 2008. Their focus – the relatively unknown electronic waste (e-waste) recycling industry. Having never had “real jobs” before going into business it was a huge learning curve for the young entrepreneurs. From communication, aggression in the workplace, staff relationships, hiring, firing – Michael and James believe people + culture are the hardest but also the most critical things to get right.
Michael and James have created a strong culture centred on honesty, compassion and openness that has attracted employees to join them on the three levels of their mission - people, planet, profit. This lies at the core of their business and is demonstrated through partnerships with disability employment providers. By supporting people through employment it not only helps the community but also sends a clear message to staff that on what the organisation values – caring for the community and giving back. It also provides their staff with an opportunity to learn from and help people that they would not ordinarily have a chance to communicate with.
The future is bright for Total Green Recycling. After their seventh move into a better and bigger facility, they now have two TGR locations - one e-waste processing facility in Welshpool and the second focusing on IT Asset Management and secure data destruction in Canning Vale. Their biggest challenge going forward is to activate Western Australians to recycle their electronics through their facility before they become obsolete or end up in landfills, which is their biggest competitor.
However, Michael and James remain optimistic and see opportunities to work with educational institutions, developing the circular economy and are campaigning for e-waste to be banned from landfill in WA. We are excited to see the return of TGR back into the City of Canning and if you want to learn more about this innovative and community minded organisation, click here.
(Published: October 2019)
Behind the Smile - Photogenic Dental
We recently met Ernest and Sarah Yeo, owners of Photogenic Dental, Parkwood. It wasn’t only their smiles that impressed us – their absolute commitment to being a part of the local community shone through in our conversation.
A small family run business (Ernest heads up a dedicated professional team of 20 while wife Sarah juggles the tasks of being a mum to three under 5 alongside the communications and branding requirements of the practice) Photogenic Dental has been operating in Parkwood since 2013, taking over the Parkwood Dental Centre which had served the local for 26 years prior to that. Their aim: to provide modern high-tech solutions for everyday dental problems, treating clients with old fashioned care and personalized service that is holistic and accessible to entire families.
Community is the core of their business philosophy.
Through active involvement in local community groups both Ernest and Sarah had developed a heart for the people in the City of Canning and a real desire to see its people healthy, thriving and full of life. ‘We really felt driven to commence our dental business journey in Parkwood because we felt it was an ‘older suburb’ that would both appreciate our old-fashioned ethos and personalized culture, but one that we could make the biggest immediate positive impact in through our energetic and modern high-tech dental practices. We have found this to be true plus much more, as the people in the area (a wonderful mix of young and older families) have shown to be extremely loyal, caring and understanding, appreciative of our service, culture and investment into the community, and really supportive of our practice growth and expansion plans in the area’ says Ernest.
‘We have a saying at our practice that we are going to be a business that ‘Makes Canning Cool’. We have a referral rewards program at our practice that rewards referring clients with a free gift of something that can only be found in our community, such chances to win a Whaleback golf membership, to free coffees at Lo Quay café to a free pizza at Tiramisu pizzeria or a meal at Riverton Bar and Grill, or a family pass to the Riverton Leisureplex. This is our way of being generous and giving back to our local clients as well as supporting local businesses. We recognize an essential foundation to the success of our local city and community is to have thriving businesses and are always looking for further businesses to partner with in our local community’ says Ernest. They put their money where their mouth is in others ways. Photogenic Dental were a Gold Sponsor at the City’s inaugural Mayoral Charity Golf Day at Whaleback Golf Course, generously contributing to raising funds for Zonta House who support Women’s Refuge.
This ‘Community First’ philosophy is certainly paying off, with the business looking to build a new facility opposite the existing Vellgrove Avenue premises as well as expansion into Mt Pleasant.
If you are looking for a trusted partner in family dental health care, then look no further than Photogenic Dental.
(Published: June 2019)
Socially Responsible and Surging Ahead - Dinner Twist & Kommunity Brew
We recently caught up with Chris Tistrand of Dinner Twist and Mason, Jarred and Beau of Kommunity Brew. Both organisations have been selected to be a part of the City’s newest addition to the Business Mentoring Program – SME Surge. Read on to learn more about their unique businesses and what motivates them to be socially responsible.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, what led you to starting your business?
Born and raised in Sweden, I am an automation engineer now running a family food business in Perth – who would’ve thought! In 2009 my engineering career allowed us to come to Perth for a three-year adventure! Well, Perth grew on us and in 2011 we took our firstborn back to Sweden to meet the family. At a friend’s place, we were introduced to the meal kit concept, which originated in Sweden, as the doorbell rang and there was a man handing over fresh produce and matching recipes.
For the busy family this was a lifesaver and we thought it would be amazing to bring this to Perth! In March 2012 we delivered our first Dinner Twist box to some encouraging friends and neighbours!
Jarred and I were both working in an organic food business while studying health science. We had great teamwork and a love of business. We thought there could be ways to impact public health positively without being clinicians and so we started to hatch some ideas. As we developed the idea of a business we spoke with friends, one of which was Beau a commercial distiller and beer brewer. All three of us shared in the philosophy of living clean and having each individually gone through a health epiphany of sorts, kombucha seemed a perfect fit. The driving vision for us was a contemporary bar with non-alcoholic options, which subsequently led to the development of a portfolio of non-alcoholic kombuchas – the birth of Kommunity Brew.
Why locate in Canning?
Canning has the infrastructure that will allow us to keep growing the business. Its location makes good sense from a logistic perspective as we deliver from Yanchep to Margaret River. Being a fresh food supplier, having Canning Vale markets around the corner saves us time as well as money. It’s also the first time we are in a business precinct and it’s great to have neighbours who all want to support each other.
Being a small business, you learn to be savvy with expenses. Rather than having a bespoke space in Fremantle we chose a pragmatic warehouse in Canning Vale. Pragmatism served us to keep quality ingredients in our products. It is expensive being a top-shelf beverage, we didn't want to be a mainstream soda, and so it is important to keep the costs of logistics, leases and the likes at fair value. This rung true when we were advised by a seasoned winemaker "your wine is only as good as your grapes". Similarly, our kombucha is only as good as our tea, so we don't compromise our ingredients.
Both your organisations have such a strong focus on ethics and culture. Can you share what was the motivation behind this and how has this culture/ethos impacted the business?
"Happy staff and happy customers" has always been our motto. We are blessed with an amazing team who care deeply about their job and take pride in the positive changes we bring families in WA. You also attract people more likely to fit your culture if it shines through in the job ad. Naming it an Administrative Assistant versus a Customer Service Superstar sets expectations for both parties. It’s also a lot more fun!
We started with the mission 'Change Australia's Drinking Culture'. After four years of being in the market, hundreds of events and sponsorships - we are glad to have achieved this mission. Our next mission is to brew 'Good Beverages for a Good Future'. This means a top quality beverage that improves the society we live in. We don't just want a healthier body for our customers, we want a healthier planet and society! This means we are creating direct partnerships with not-for-profit and charitable organisations. Our first chapter in this new mission is carbon neutrality. Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2021 by planting trees with The Trillion Trees project in Hazelmere, WA.
Sustainability is at the core of both organizations. However, many businesses find being sustainable challenging and costly. What would your advice be to them?
I’d say we are all now aware that we are putting an unsustainable pressure on our planet. As business owners, we have the opportunity make impactful choices. At Dinner Twist, we continuously make more sustainable choices to our supply chain, sure it comes at a cost but it’s also a great differentiator. Customers now come to us for reduced plastics, reduced food waste, clean ingredients and fair farming.
Today your customers will look favourably on conscious sourcing but soon it will be the norm, if you are not starting that journey I believe you’ll fall behind.
Focus on win-win and have real discussions with stakeholders. We talk to our suppliers about our company values and we find ways to become more sustainable without hitting the bottom line (too hard). We are also very clear with ourselves, we are not in this to fill our pockets. Our workforce is mostly part-time, including directors, because just about everyone has a family or study or a hobby they want to do. We are quite inspired by social issues and so we see the company as a vehicle to do good. Sustainability is only costly if you prefer the money in your pocket over the environments. We want a balance.
What is the future looking like for your business? Challenges and opportunities?
The biggest challenge is the influx of overseas global players. They are very clever with their marketing and change the expectations of the customers who now seeks discounts and flexibility that leads to increased waste.
On the flip side, this is also our biggest opportunity as more people come across our concept but seek a more sustainable and conscious alternative.
Bright! Our challenge and opportunity is to get our voice out there, be heard, viewed and enjoyed. We feel like custodians to fermentation and kombucha brewing, and so while we are confident in our capacity, our process and quality, equally we could use more support in getting our voice out there. We have spent five years understanding medium-to-large scale production and specialising our supply chain, which has bred real confidence to support our tenacity. We do everything in-house which, to our surprise, is rare for food business. Now with all this wonderful process, quality assurance and knowledge, we need to share this with the market and get our presence out there.
(Published: June 2019)
We recently caught up with one of the owners of WA Health Group in Canning Vale - Chris Carr for a short interview. Chris was a sponsorship winner of the City’s Business mentoring program for Curtin Ignition in 2018 and previously, the Curtin Growth Owner Program.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to starting WA Health Group?
I am a Perth local having grown up in Willetton and Salter Point, I went to Curtin University to study Physiotherapy and gained a graduate job working with an Orthopaedic Surgeon who started an allied health business. His passion for holistic care planted a seed early on in my career and after working in the UK for 2 years I came back to Perth inspired to start a clinic that didn't just offer Physio service but looked at health problems through the lens of the whole person. I was lucky enough to align with my good friend Lennon Corriea who has a natural entrepreneurial streak. Everyone told us starting a business with a friend was going to end in a disaster. However, 5 years on the business has gone from strength to strength and we are still great friends. He was even one of my Groomsmen for my wedding in December!
Can you talk us through some of the milestones of the journey thus far, where WA Health Group is currently and what the future plans are?
The biggest milestone was in April 2015 when we opened our clinic in Canning Vale. We moved from a small shared room in Hilton to taking on a big lease without an established business – a big gamble. Along the way our team has grown from Lennon and me to a team of 20. There is opportunity within the health care service - becoming modern, understanding what clients want and providing consistent value allows growth. It is great to lead a business that improves the health of a local community - I couldn't see myself doing anything else.Personal growth through education has been a catalyst for business growth for both Lennon and me. There have been small milestones each month but over 5 years they all add up to be something we both are incredibly proud of.
Can you shed some light on both your experience at Curtin Ignition, Growth Owner and some of the learnings from it?
There have been so many - I don't know where to start. The Growth Owner program taught me you don't have a business without your team. They are your biggest asset in business so look after them. This is something I will never forget. Curtin Ignition was one of the most enjoyable learning weeks I have ever had. I learnt to ask your customers what they value - and look at ways to innovate to provide more value. Before Ignition I used to think I knew what customers valued by viewing it through my own experiences – but after, I realised I wasn't the ideal customer for my business.
Lastly – you’ve chosen to locate your practice in Canning Vale, Canning. What was the reason for locating the practice here?
Canning Vale is a very happening place and there is a real sense of community here. Canning Vale locals have supported our business because they care about their health. People are busy juggling their work and family commitments and benefit from the expertise of health practitioners at WA Health Group.
(Published: May 2019)
Franchising - Driving Success in Local Business
Located along the bustling Albany Highway in the heart of Canning, Drummond Golf Cannington is one of three Western Australian franchises operating under the national umbrella. Founded in 1974 in Bendigo Victoria, the franchise now includes 48 stores nation-wide and is Australia’s biggest golf retailer, as local franchisee Chris Harris says ‘It really is like being part of a big family’.
There are horror stories out there about some franchise operations but that’s not the case with Drummond Golf – for Chris it’s being a great partnership from Day One. ‘Being a Drummond Golf franchisee has been a great experience for us’ says Chris. He cites an array of benefits including Head Office support in the areas of IT, marketing and branding, promotional campaigns, legal and employment advice and support. But the biggest benefit is being part of a nation-wide purchasing chain where the benefits made in purchasing are passed directly onto his customers.
‘Twice a year all the franchisees meet up – that’s a great forum for sharing problems and successes’ says Chris. Chris recommends that anyone looking a franchising should go into it with their eyes open. ‘Talk to other franchisees and make sure you understand what support Head Office offers’ he says.
You might think they’re just another golf store but what stands out is their unique ‘MiMatch’ fitting service – a real value-add service for all their customers from beginner to pro. ‘Customers come into me with a problem – they don’t know what to look for when choosing clubs’ says Chris. Using ‘MiMatch’, customers are measured and matched to the right club head, shaft length and flex – even the correct grip thickness is calculated. ‘Our biggest thrill is to see a person’s game improve after going through the ‘MiMatch’ program with us’.
Chris and his team are winners too, taking out the Drummonds Golf Store of the Year award in 2011 and numerous Salesperson of the Year awards as well.
If you’re thinking of becoming a franchisee, then look no further than Drummond Golf Cannington – a franchisee success story.
(Published: April 2019)
Growing Together - Instilling Trust in Your Business
As you enter the Reception of Odeum Farms in the Canning Vale fruit and vegetable precinct, you will see twelve values that underpin its operation hanging with pride. These values are made up of short, easy to understand phrases such as ‘talk straight’ or ‘confront reality’. Built on a foundation of trust, these values exemplify the way Odeum Farms goes about its business. Trust has allowed Odeum Farms to grow (pardon the pun) from its beginnings in 2000 as a fresh produce supplier to retail chain stores, onto venturing into Exporting produce as well as supplying the Hospitality and Food Service industries.
Since buying into the business in 2009, Managing Director John Travers has further diversified the company with Odeum Farms now offering finance to its growers. Valuing trust in the supply chain, Odeum Farms has loaned in excess of $5 million over the last 6 years.
Known as the ‘Grower Assistance Package’ or GAP funding, a high number of loans have gone to members of the culturally and linguistically diverse community who often struggle with the procedures and protocols associated with traditional financial institutions. With an in-house culturally and linguistically diverse team Odeum Farms have been able to assist these growers through the application process to open the doors for investment into new technologies, improving quality and yield (See video on the GAP here).
If are looking for a trusted partner in your supply chain, then look no further than Odeum Farms.
(Published: March 2019)
Rack Your Brains
Blending in with the surroundings of the Canning Vale Industrial Area, Pier DC Pty Ltd is the only Tier III Data Centre located South of the River. Whilst most businesses have considered the digital aspect of cybersecurity, most over overlook the physical risks to their digital hardware and data storage. This is where Pier DC’s unique offering of security plus hardware reliability really comes to the fore.
Don’t be fooled by the deliberately
purpose built non-descript frontage. Within the secure premises is a state-of-the-art facility that has been recognised by the prestigious Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunications Alliance (WAIITA) as the Most Effective Infrastructure Solution in the 2018 WAIITA Awards. With ample racks to house data Pier DC has a wide range of technologies that aim to provide security and reliability to its customers. These include closed-loop water-cooling systems, free-air chillers, hypoxic fire prevention, contiguous CCTV coverage and a biometric authentication system. In other words – they’ve got your back.
Although the site is camouflaged in the neighbouring industrial area, the facility itself is extremely accessible being open 24/7 and near to major thoroughfares. Importantly, this strategic location in Canning Vale allows it to have dual grid power with the ability to access power from two independent substations. Not to mention they also have their own generators as a backup. So don’t rack your brains over choosing a data centre, check the in with the team at Pier DC here.
(Published: February 2019)
The Ferox Way
Growing up under the influence of his father’s technology background the CEO of Ferox Advanced Vehicles Corporation, Troy Wheeler, was determined from an early age to further build on and define their own unique process for innovation. After building a solid foundation in business skills by starting his career in the financial sector, Troy seized on a ‘perfect storm’ of opportunities to start Ferox. His goal: not to compete with others who were venturing into autonomous vehicles and alternatively powered vehicles, but to focus instead on an area of the automotive industry where he saw little evidence of innovation – vehicle architecture and design.
Strategically located in the City of Canning’s Welshpool Industrial Area, Ferox has capitalized on the location’s proximity to major transport routes including Perth Airport. The area’s cluster of supporting industries, skilled labour, and being only a short drive from home made choosing Welshpool a no-brainer.
Unbridled confidence in their Fluidification Technology gives the team at Ferox an unhindered mandate to creative inspiration and they have embraced the challenge to bring it to life. This is in stark contrast to current industry practice and is evident from the incredible theme boards that were formed right at the start of Ferox’s journey. Couple this with a culture of always pushing the limits and the company’s first fully operating prototype - Azaris - was brought to life.
It is this culture and the ability to integrate this array of unique, individually designed pieces into something greater (as seen in the Azaris) that really defines Troy and his leadership. He has fostered a strong support network for his team that inspires them to keep pushing the limits. Keep track of Troy and the team at Ferox here – this is a journey you’ll want to share in.
(Published: February 2019)
AGRIFresh – Citrus Success!
We recently caught up with Joseph Ling, Managing Director of AGRIFresh to hear his story on becoming one of the largest citrus producers in WA. Originally from Malaysia, Joseph sought to fill what he saw was a gap in the local WA fresh fruit market and has since grown AGRIFresh to become a key supplier, both locally and internationally. AGRIFresh is headquartered in Canning Vale, the location chosen for its proximity to home (for Joseph and his team); wholesalers and distributors; and both sea and air ports.
Technology has been a key component to AGRIFresh’s growth with Joseph stressing its necessity in modern farming. ‘Knowledge and data helps make better and timelier decisions’ Joseph emphasised. Investments into fertigation, robotic vision, data metrics and more recently a desire to become paperless by 2020 are some of the ways technology has set AGRIFresh apart. Drone technology is also being trialled, ensuring AGRIFresh continues to match advances in technology with business growth.
With the focus firmly on exports, AGRIFresh has also ‘invested heavily in the packing shed with a focus on accommodating throughput volume’ says Joseph. While China and the Middle East are the core markets for AGRIFresh Joseph believes that ‘exporting to multiple destinations spreads risk across markets’. With this focus and philosophy, AGRIFresh has claimed top honours in being recognised as Western Australian Exporter of the Year 2018 and the Hong Kong Australia Business Association’s (HKABA) Business Excellence Award 2018.
While labour costs, climate change and the fluctuating currency remain top threats to AGRIFresh, Joseph’s resolve remains strong. He sees value adding, diversification and partnerships as the core areas of focus in AGRIFresh’s future. Growing networks like those in HKABA and upskilling staff through programs such as those being offered by WA Leaders are also areas where Joseph and his team place emphasis. We are proud to have such innovative and leading businesses within Canning and are delighted to share AGRIFresh’s accomplishments with the Community.
Congratulations once again to Joseph and the team at AGRIFresh!
(Published : December, 2018)
From Zimbabwe to Canning – A migrant success story
We recently sat down with local migrant residents Arnold Nyamhamba, his wife Tanya Goromonzi and their eleven week old baby boy Micah to hear their amazing success story. They both came to WA initially to study, progressing to work and have since settled in Canning after meeting each other through a mutual friend.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Arnold is currently working for the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and is a recent recipient of the City’s Business Mentoring Program to Curtin Ignition. Describing his experience of Curtin Ignition, Arnold highlighted the intensity and ‘hands on’ nature of the five and a half day program.
“In short, it was like University on steroids” he recounted whilst also highlighting he was most impressed by “the high calibre of the Ignition cohort”. When asked about the main takeaways of the program, he mentioned “It was the learnings from people who have done it all before and the relationships made with like-minded entrepreneurs that was most valuable”.
Tanya is also from Zimbabwe and is a local business owner having invested in the audiology side of the Specsavers franchise in Carousel and Riverton. When asked about the choice to live and do business in Canning, she said the decision was simple.
“Canning is a multicultural area and has easy access to shops that we can get goods from home that are not widely available”. She says when she lived outside of Canning, she would often have to travel into Canning to access those same shops. When the opportunity arose to offer the first audiology services through Specsavers, she jumped at it saying “it is extremely convenient being able to work so close to home”.
Arnold and Tanya are Canning converts. “Our hearts are well and truly in Canning - we have a strong desire to remain within the community to give minority groups the self confidence that it can be done”. The future remains bright for Arnold and Tanya’s young family and we are ecstatic that they are here to stay.
(Published: October, 2018)
To receive our eNewsletters direct to your Inbox click on the subscribe button below.