Photo by Curtis Comeau Photography
Fernando Meneses, Jorge Nunes and Austin Nunes.
AJ Interiors: 25 Years of Building Dreams (Including Their Own) By Nerissa McNaughton
orge Nunes is a man on a mission. Before he launched AJ Interiors, he worked for a general contractor in Edmonton where he furthered his knowledge of the commercial construction industry. When he opened for business, he was the sole employee. Twenty-five years later, things have changed – dramatically. “Jorge initially started off doing small renovation projects, says Austin Nunes, manager. He joined the company fulltime in 2011. “Today AJ Interiors has 50 employees in partnership with its sister company, Nova Millwork. Together, they have successfully completed multiple million-dollar projects.” Jorge started AJ Interiors because he always dreamed of having his own company. Rather than go head to head with Edmonton’s many other general contractors, he explored a niche he identified in the market. Austin explains, “He knew a general contractor and millwork shop would be the perfect combination, and due to him being a cabinet maker by trade, he had the millwork knowledge as well as the general contracting knowledge to make it work.”
With their 25th anniversary, AJ Interiors reflects on their journey. “When AJ Interiors first started, we did whatever work came to the table,” laughs Austin. “Then we got connected with our first big contract building the first Booster Juice when they started their concept, and from there it was basically word of mouth and quality that got the ball rolling.” Three years after their opening, and with a firm foot in the commercial construction industry, Jorge had the time and capital to expand the millwork division, realizing his dream of a combined general contracting/millwork shop. “The advantage of having our millwork in house is that we personally have complete control of every millwork aspect of the project. This not only allows us to be very competitive in pricing, but we also have developed, within our staff, our own quality A.J. Interiors • 25 Years • 1
The Canadian Brewhouse
We also have our employees from both companies trained to meet our own quality control standards. control and standards, particularly when the millwork costs alone can be worth half of the value of the entire project. We also have our employees from both companies trained to meet our own quality control standards. This also allows things to be coordinated with ease as there is no need for a middle man. Our staff work together and communicate as a team, and this means excellence in service, quality and products every step of the way.” Booster Juice was the first major commercial project and other well-known franchises quickly followed. AJ Interiors constructed the city’s first Bad Ass Jacks as well as the Triple Five® head office at West Edmonton Mall and multiple Liquor Depot locations. “We don’t like to single out any project in particular, as each project is equally important to us,” admits Austin, “but to note some key projects on our firm’s behalf, we thank the Century Hospitality Group for allowing us to successfully complete all of their restaurant locations, as well as The Canadian Brewhouse for their 15+ locations. We also thank Triple Five Group for their continued loyalty and patronage over the years, and The 2 • A.J. Interiors • 25 Years
Workshop Eatery Photo by Curtis Comeau Photography
Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group for allowing us to complete their multiple restaurant and cafe locations as well. We would also like to recognize Hesco Kitchen Equipment for working handin-hand with us on many of our hospitality projects. Other industry professionals we frequently partner with to help us deliver outstanding work for our clients are Bold Design, who has a passion for designing ‘experiences’ and Protint Inc., Edmonton’s glass tinting specialists.” Austin continues with what distinguishes their company in Edmonton. “AJ Interiors strongly believes in quality and finishing the project to our client’s 100 per cent satisfaction. Due to our reputation in the industry, projects are sent directly to us without going through the tendering process. Our clients know that when they want a project done properly and professionally, they can count and rely on us each and every time, and our extensive portfolio reflects this.”
Your Commercial Kitchen Design & Supply Specialists
CONGRATULATIONS, A.J. INTERIORS We at Bold Design offer our heartfelt congratulations on 25 years as one of Edmonton’s most esteemed interior contractors, we wish you all the best for the next 25!
Food equipment supplier to the commercial food industry. Edmonton: 13421 St. Albert Trail NW • TF: 1.866.924.2727 Calgary: 6023 4th Street SE • TF: 1.844.475.3300
Congratulations to everyone at AJ Interiors! We are proud to be a part of your success!
F O R T H E B U S I N E S S T R AV E L L E R
ates start at
Complimentary Benefits: Hot Gourmet Breakfast at L2 Grill In-room Coffee Upgrade Bottled Water (2) Garment Pressing (2 items) Newspaper Delivery upon Request Parking WiFi Join us for a reception every Wednesday at L1 Lounge. 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For stays Sunday through Thursday.
To qualify for Platinum Rates, please complete the attached application and return to Kimberley Wilmer at firstname.lastname@example.org
A.J. Interiors • 25 Years • 3
MKT Beer Market It’s not just the clients that AJ Interiors invests in. They also invest in their staff. “An ideal staff member for AJ Interiors is someone who is willing to be a team member to our group; someone who is able to listen to and accept guidance from management and the onsite foreman. We employ all different kinds of employees from heavily experienced tradesman to staff with minimal construction knowledge but have a drive to learn. We are proud to provide ideal working conditions and training for willing tradespeople in the city. Our staff is constantly working hard, long hours to get projects completed properly for our valued clients. The staff’s dedication shows in their quality and production. We couldn’t be more appreciative and pleased with all of them. Keep up the good work!” Although Edmonton’s cyclical economy keeps AJ Interiors balancing staff and inventory with project demand, the company is happy to rise to the challenge. “Sometimes we just don’t have the staff to take on a project because we are so busy and then two or three months down the road you are thinking, ‘it’s slower now. Shoot, I should have grabbed those jobs’,” laughs Austin. However, he knows the importance of delivering on their promise and in that spirit, AJ Interiors would rather decline work than disappoint a client with a rushed job that falls behind schedule. No matter what the economy is up to or how busy the team is, AJ Interiors takes time to support the community. The Stollery Hospital Foundation, breast cancer awareness, Crime Stoppers 4 • A.J. Interiors • 25 Years
Buco Pizzeria Photo by Curtis Comeau Photography
and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are just a few of the many worthy causes in which the company invests. Jorge will never forget the drive and ambition he had to open his own company and he and his team delight in helping others do the same. “The biggest reward is leaving a finished project on opening day, and looking at the entire place from the entrance and thinking wow, this place looks fantastic, and seeing the customer is happy that we were able to help them fulfill their dream of opening up a business,” concludes Austin. “At the end of the day, that is what matters the most.”
#8 – 12920 156 Street Edmonton, Alberta T5V 1E9 Phone: 1.780.425.4187 • Fax: 1.780.453.0051 www.ajinteriors.ca