We will be closed for Stocktake this Saturday 22 June. 

Celebrating 40 Years of Knocking on Wood!

Richard Everist, Founder

Owner Andrew Everist looks back over 40 years of timber, trials, tribulations and triumphs!

It’s an honour to be leading a company that is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. Given that something like 50% of businesses fail within the first couple of years, it’s quite an achievement and one of which we are rightly proud. Huge credit goes to the staff and customers that have enabled us to not only survive but thrive during that time.

Old butcher shop come hardware storage warehouse

1981 - 1991

The story of Everist Timber began in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Richard Everist was carving out a successful career as a fencing contractor. He ran a team of six fencing contractors and built rural and domestic timber fencing. Strong’s Timber was his merchant of choice and whilst having a chat with the owner learnt that the business was coming up for sale. Being somewhat of an entrepreneur, he jumped at the opportunity and Everist Timber was born.

That was 1982 and in those days the business was purely focussed on fencing supplies. In fact, Richard Everist continued to run the fencing business whilst operating Everist Timber. Business was soon going well enough that Richard was able to give up the fencing side and focus solely on being a timber merchant. The eighties and early nineties were a period of consistent growth for Everist Timber, with the recession of 1991 providing the only hiccup.

Switch to building supplies

During this period Everist Timber began expanding into general building supplies rather than just fencing material. This meant a greater investment into infrastructure was required to store all the different materials whether they be fibre cement, ply sheets or cedar weatherboards. The business was expanding in more ways than one.

The trucks were a bit more rough and ready in those days, no crane deliveries back then, a tip truck was a bit of a luxury. everything was either barred off the side or if things went well a straight tip off the back.

The yard was a lot more rough and ready too. Lots of mud in Winter and a dust bowl in Summer. We didn’t have a lot of racking so pretty much everything was stacked on ground bearers. Lucky that half the building materials were green off saw.

One existing shed held saws and thicknesser. We soon built sheds to house KD hardwood, framing pine, ply and fibre cement. Importantly, we were able to bitumen significant parts of the yard. Whilst these changes probably didn’t look like much, we were still running the office and shop out of a converted house, which enabled us to run the yard a whole lot more efficiently.

Late 90’s

Competition increased and we became more focussed on builders and particularly those building larger architecturally designed homes. These customers have remained our target market to this day. We also had some significant staff arrive. One in particular stands out - Heather Hardy came on as finance and administration manager way back in 1998. It’s fair to say that Everist Timber would not have grown to the level we have without Heather’s dedication and attention to detail. Every business needs a “Heather”. Someone who runs the office like a military operation! Whilst I’m sure some of our customers groan inwardly when she calls chasing account payments, her efforts have allowed us to run as best as we possibly can.

Whilst on the subject of staff, we have been fortunate to have had some amazing and dedicated employees over the years. From the early days with Gary Wilson and Chris Blacker. Peter Maxwell started as a yard hand, departed at one stage to run his own fencing business and returned as yard and despatch manager. We had our very own Indonesian connections - Tony, Ridwan, Anang and Rizal. They ran a great Saturday morning BBQ! Kim Hare was a customer favourite on the front counter. Peter Millar and Peter Vander Leuw’s sterling management has allowed us to weather the challenges Covid has thrown at us over the last couple of years.

BIGger they said!

Back to the timeline though, we made some big changes from an infrastructure perspective. We purchased the corner block that had an old butchers shop on it. Whilst this wasn’t ideal it did give us much more hardware storage space which allowed us to increase our range and stock on hand. The other thing it did was make us realise that having our shop and office in a little house and hardware in a separate area wasn’t going to work long term.

Office in its 1990-2009 incarnation

2008 - 2009

So, in 2008/09 we went through the plans and permits process to purpose build a larger shop, office and storage shed. We were just about to pull the trigger on construction when our next-door neighbour, the Independent News, came up for sale. Perfect timing! Office, shop and shed in one, ready to go. We moved in late 2009 and never looked back. Having a decent size shop allows us to fully display the hardwood cladding, decking and large section post and beams that we specialise in.

We’ve worked slowly and methodically around the rest of the yard, concreting here and there, improving our racking. All to improve the ease of getting things done and improve our customers experience on site. OHS factors were very much front of mind. We’ve now got a purpose-built machining shed. Unlike some other merchants we’re still committed to providing cut to size and dock to length services. It also houses one of our valued added services, an oiling machine that we use to pre-coat all our Aussie hardwood products.

Current Store & Office

Gratitude

No business gets very far without good staff, but you need good customers too. We’ve been fortunate to have some of the most amazing and loyal customers over the years. Names like Cronin Builders, Simon Mantell, Graeme Alexander Homes, MRB Constructions and Neil Williams and Sons spring to mind. Right now our customer base include companies like S. Smith Builders, Matt Johnson Builders, Remato Constructions, Swell Constructions, Kabsav and a veritable who’s who of high-end Mornington Peninsula builders.

“Our guiding principles over 40 years have been to stock the best quality material we can get our hands on and providing friendly, efficient and knowledgeable service.”

We like dealing with these businesses because they appreciate the level of knowledge and service we strive to provide.

We’ve been very fortunate to have had great support from the local Hastings and Mornington Peninsula communities over the years. Whilst we now travel far and wide across metro Melbourne and even interstate, the vast majority of our business remains right here on the Peninsula. We’ve been closely involved with a diverse number of sporting clubs from Crib Point, Tyabb and Balnarring Junior Football clubs to the Mornington Field and Game Gun Club. And, of course, the Hastings Football Club.

The building industry can be challenging and we’ve all had to weather some difficult times. The early 90’s recession, the GFC and now Covid all raised, and continue to raise, a range of challenges. What is certain is there will always be great opportunities. We hope that we can continue to rise to the challenges and take advantage of whatever opportunities come our way in the next 40 years!

Andrew Everist
Proud Owner, Everist Timber

Richard and Andrew at Everist
Back yard and original storage shed, now middle yard section
Original delivery truck
Redgum sleepers in front of original office
Richard Everist