The NSW/ACT Harvey Norman Commercial Division hosted around 500 long-standing and loyal business partners including architects, builders, developers and major kitchen, bathroom and laundry suppliers, at Sydney’s Town Hall on Friday evening to celebrate 30 years since the NSW/ACT Commercial Division was established in 1994.

The formal gala evening commenced with a presentation from Harvey Norman NSW/ACT proprietor, David Cramond.

“Good evening everyone, I’d like to formally welcome you all to Harvey Norman Commercial’s 30th anniversary. I thought I take you back to when it started,” Cramond told guests.

“In May 1994, I was the warehouse manager of the then Harvey Norman Miranda when a young Kent Jordan became employee number one. Our first sale was to D&W Plumbing run by Des White. In one of the early months, we turned over $30,000 and Alan came to the team of four asking if we thought we could do $300,000 by the end of the year. By the end of December we hit around $3 million in sales.

“We started getting business around the Sutherland Shire and the inner west with the three storey walk ups (as they were called back then) 30 apartments with no lifts just stairs. A sales representative job in those early days was mainly walking on building sites, doing the deal in the sheds and writing orders on a piece of paper.

“Being a one stop shop and being able to supply all front of wall bathroom and kitchen products in these apartments gave us a boost. At the time no competitor could match our offer. In the coming years, the Sydney Olympics were announced, and the market went crazy. Customers who were doing 30 apartments were now doing 300.”

Cramond then shared the three ‘ingredients’ he believes has contributed to Harvey Norman Commercial’s success.

First ingredient: Customers

“Many of our customers past and present have become great friends over this journey. Last year, when I arrived back we had around 5,500 active accounts. Thank you for your support, patience and understanding, especially through the COVID period and some growing pains of late.

“Our state-of-the-art Casula distribution centre is up and running and performing better everyday. Since we started operating there in January 2023, we have completed over 85,000 deliveries with 99% being completed before 3pm. We have received over $350 million of stock averaging around $1.5 million per day. Thank you again and here’s to a successful future.”

The second ingredient: Suppliers

“Our suppliers, most of you have been with us from the start. Thank you for 30 years of support, partnership and in many cases friendship. Many years ago, Alan said: ‘The best products from the best brands at the best price’, and this still stands today.

“I’d like to mention a few legends of the industry. Firstly, Allan King (formerly at Smeg), who sent me a message saying: ‘I was around when Harvey Norman Commercial started and with the commitment shown by your company and the people involved, we felt that it was bound to be successful and we wanted to fully support that. This was not necessarily the view of everyone in the appliance industry… how satisfying to prove them wrong’.

“Another legend, Tony Clarkson (formerly at Electrolux), who was instrumental  throughout the journey and last, but certainly not least, Sue Larkin (formerly at Caroma/GWA), who I believe has been asked many times by her superiors who she actually works for.

“These three legends are all retired now and I wish them all the best.”

Third ingredient: Staff

“Our staff are the engine room to our success. We have 13 staff with over 25 years of service, 20 more with over 20 years of service and in total around one in four of our staff have served over 10 years with Harvey Norman Commercial. In 1994, we finished the year with six staff and today, we employ around 450 people.

“A special mention to Mathew Harvey, Steve Chrissimos, Joe Pulvirenti and Brendan Rowley, all with over 30 years of service with Harvey Norman/Harvey Norman Commercial. Without their dedication throughout the journey, I doubt we would have been as successful.”

Alan Stephenson

“I have the pleasure of introducing a message from our founder, leader and friend, Alan Stephenson (pictured above), who had the foresight and courage to create Harvey Norman Commercial NSW all those years ago. He was never afraid to give things a go. Alan retired in March 2023 and he captained the Harvey Norman Commercial business for 29 years and achieved over $4 billion in revenue. He is a mentor to many including myself,” Cramond concluded.

In his video address, founder and former NSW/ACT proprietor, Alan Stephenson, reflected on his time with Harvey Norman Commercial and the 29 year journey after presenting the idea of a Commercial Division to chairman, Gerry Harvey.

This was later followed by a Q&A with home builders’ sales representative, Karen Benson and former (retired) sales representative and one of the first NSW/ACT Commercial employees, Kent Jordan (pictured above), sharing their experiences with the business.

There were also video presentations from a number of key NSW/ACT Harvey Norman Commercial Division business partners including Caroma, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, Miele, Parisi, Phoenix and Smeg, congratulating Harvey Norman Commercial on this milestone and thanking them for their partnership.

Guests enjoyed a three-course sit down dinner and entertainment by circus performers and Brazilian dancers.