J Notaras and Sons - 60 years of success in North Coast Forest Industry

Image Spiro Aerial View November 2014_0.jpgThe Notaras story is one of two brothers of Greek heritage, Brinos and younger sibling Spiro who, in 1952 with the help of their father bought the Lawrence Sawmill in Grafton, NSW.
In somewhat tragic circumstances, Brinos was killed in a car accident on the treacherous Pacific Highway near Woolgoolga, in 2005. Despite this enormous setback, Spiro decided, in true unrelenting family fashion, to continue the family hardwood business which by this time had established itself as one of the leaders of hardwood timber production throughout NSW.
Recently Spiro celebrated his 80th birthday, 60 years of which have been spent in the hardwood industry. As a family business, the Notaras family have survived the forest assessments over the last 40 years finding new approaches to stay ahead and thus providing crucial economic and social support to the township of Grafton. To grow the business Spiro recognised inefficiencies in some existing production processes. He felt that, not only were high energy costs threatening the firm’s future he needed to find new markets that matched the changing nature of the available resource.
Markets in Japan were developed, supplying North Coast hardwoods, particularly spotted gum and blackbutt, for walkways, floating pontoons, seats, decks and boardwalks. Closer to home gymnasiums in Victoria, art galleries including the prestigious Adelaide Art Gallery and even the Speaker’s Wall at Parliament feature North Coast timbers, milled and supplied by Notaras. The Company also opened up a branch in Queensland supplying, for over 20 years housing frames. Later came the installation of a pressure plant (supplying treated timber) and a kiln drying facility to guarantee moisture content (in some cases down to 8%) to exactly match customer specifications.
large_Image Spiro Factory Nov 2014.jpgOver time investments of more than $7.8m were injected into value-adding machinery including kilns, planers, moulding and specialised joinery equipment, all of which helped to secure the jobs of 38 skilled workers and their families, even during the toughest of times.
Nothing gave Spiro and Brinos more satisfaction than knowing their employees were getting ahead.
Today 80% of production comprises flooring, decking and fencing. A by-product of these ‘long-board’ applications were lots of short off-cuts. Spiro was not prepared to waste these and so established a parquetry plant to this day.

Spiro’s tenacity shines through. His many long-term staff members reflect his underlying business philosophy – treat your staff like family and embrace quality, right down to the smallest detail as, after all, quality will always find its own doorstep