As with most other businesses in the UAE, Summertown Interiors was soon confronted with the impact of the financial crisis of 2008, prompting Marcos Bish to re-evaluate the company’s positioning in the market, value proposition and focus. “We decided to pursue what we do best, and that was fit-out and joinery. Which is why today, we execute but we don’t design.”
Despite market conditions at the time, he was optimistic. Even today, Marcos believes there’s enough opportunity in the market if you’re smart and realistic about your business model. As the market expanded and matured, the team identified a need and scope for sustainable products and services in the industry. Fortunately, the construction of Summertown Interiors’ new HQ in Jebel Ali presented an opportunity for the company to show clients, and the industry in general, a firm commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. The building was constructed in 2008, and achieved LEED Gold certification in 2009 becoming the first contractor in the Middle East to achieve this. Just recently, they added two additional feathers in their very sustainable hat; the first being the Corporate Social Responsibility Label awarded by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) for its ongoing commitment to sustainable business practices award; and the second, Gold LEED Certification for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM) for the ongoing operations and maintenance of its HQ. Marcos points out that, “sustainability is now at the heart of our business.”
The sustainability trend that started a decade ago is still going strong, most notably the need for LEED and WELL certified projects. The HQ was only the start, and Summertown Interiors decided to go full steam ahead towards becoming a sustainable contractor. For many large and well-known organizations, sustainability and wellness as well as a solid dedication to the environment are critical when picking a contractor to partner with. The business model and culture within Summertown Interiors has sustainability written into it, making it an easy choice for clients. The model is inclusive of all aspects of the project and takes into consideration how sustainability includes not just the final outcome, but the entire supply chain in general – from the sourcing of raw materials to the manner in which the end product is installed and used. As contractor, this expertise allows Summertown Interiors to add a layer of value not easily found in the market; a value that goes far beyond price competitiveness.