SMG Construction/Millwork expanding reach on its home turf
SMG founder Darren Ginns relocated to the Bahamas from Australia 18 years ago as a partner in the Whistler Development Company, to help develop a condominium project in Lyford Cay known as Sunnyside Estates. At six stories high with 21 units, the condos were to be one of the highest quality projects in the Caribbean, with some of the apartments being as large as 10,000 square feet.
He and his team began working on renovations and custom homes based on the level of detail and finishes they had achieved at Sunnyside estates in Lyford Cay, and became the company now known as SMG construction and SMG millwork in 2001 after settling in Nassau. The millwork, or cabinetry, division of the company began soon after and offers custom pieces for kitchens, offices, closets and even entertainment spaces. However, the construction and millwork operations remain separate, with over 100 employees split between the two.
On the construction side of things, SMG has built high-end custom homes in Lyford Cay, Old Fort Bay, and Albany, and within the Ocean Club estates. It also specializes in beautifully designed pools for the homes, and has recently completed several commercial projects—including the big laundry for the Baha mar project, an equestrian club, the new Fresh Market, Mahogany House restaurant and Old Fort Plaza.
The split has changed somewhat over the years, but is currently at about 40 percent commercial and 60 percent residential because the company is most well known for custom homes. However, Ginns is optimistic that as people understand the quality and service they provide, more requests will come in for work on commercial projects.
The custom home building market has become competitive in terms of who can provide the better quality and service, and all contractors have had to step up their game for the expectations of the client.
Ginns said there’s no doubt that other contractors have improved their services, but SMG will continue to strive to provide the best it can. One of the reasons clients come to SMG, he said, is because it is able to provide a full service – from the architecture all the way through the construction to completion, including millwork.
“People like the idea of being able to go to one company for all of their needs,” he said.
“While they do offer design build, they still enjoy working with many local architects as well and utilize their services often.”
The past 12 months were difficult thanks to a large fire that destroyed the entire millwork building and offices in August. The company has been in recovery mode since then, but a new building is under construction and Ginns hopes to have everything back in the same facility imminently.
“Last year was the worst year of my life,” he said, “and turning into it, this year will be the best.”
In fact, the company is using the loss as an impetus to build bigger and better.
The millwork operation has a new canvas from which to start and more advanced and higher-tech machinery to work with, and Ginns said the possibilities have led to a lot of excitement and new growth.
The millwork operation does a lot more work with major contractors on the island that want to support a Bahamian-made product. Despite the fire, the company maintained a “business as usual” policy and was able to keep going strong. It looks forward to even greater growth, but not so much that the millwork operation becomes oversized. Construction will always remain the bigger operation, with the millwork as the “baby brother,” Ginns said, in an effort to stay in the custom niche.
Going forward, another main focus is to build more of a business culture within the company for all its employees, provide the best service possible from a contractor in the Caribbean and the best quality of construction and millwork possible. Its goal is to take clients’ visions and use expertise to make them a reality through integrity, innovation and quality.
“We’re a believer that people come to work for 8-10 hours a day, so they better enjoy their job,” Ginns said. “The company hopes to grow both the construction and the millwork operations over the next five years, but the Bahamas will remain their home turf.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: SMG Construction/Millwork WHAT: Bahamas-based company with operations related to custom home building and renovations, alongside millwork/cabinetry work commercial and residential customers WHERE: Corporate headquarters in Nassau, Bahamas WEBSITE: www.SMGConstruction.com