Whanganui Chamber of Commerce members were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at GDM Retail's Gilberd St operation on August 30.

GDM director Sandra Eden told the group her husband Michael Eden started the company 39 years ago, initially doing wrought iron work. He then worked with Warnocks, a Whanganui-based nationwide clothing retailer, on shop fittings and these were rolled out nationwide to 60 stores.

GDM (Good Design Matters) now custom-makes shop fittings for stores throughout New Zealand and Australia. It previously had offices in China, Hong Kong and Europe but is now concentrating on the Australasian market.

Prototypes, including joinery and metalwork, are developed in its Gilberd St premises before being manufactured in the company's factory in China. It makes custom furniture as well as floor and wall displays and point of sale fittings. There are no stock items; each product is made specifically for a customer's needs.

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The local team of 55 people operate on the lean approach to manufacturing, ensuring the business maintains optimum productivity while minimising waste.

The company produces shop fittings for a diverse range of clients. Chamber members saw fittings being made for lingerie brands Heidi Klum Intimates, Bendon and Pleasure State. GDM's clients include, amongst others, The Warehouse, New Zealand Farm Source, Carters, Nood, Peter Alexander, Mitre 10 and Warehouse Stationery.