Our reputation for excellence and brand recognition is underpinned by our heritage. From humble beginnings to a market leader, this is our story so far.
From a garage brothers Andrew and Tom Reiner established Tomkin Enterprises in 1975. Tom’s background in the hospitality industry in Canada provided the industry knowledge, and, despite Andrew not even knowing what a basting spoon was, he did know business, and before long they had outgrown that garage.
The Reiner brothers were joined by Peter Reismann in late 1976 and the growing kitchenware business moved into a small warehouse in Sydney’s CBD on Kent Street in 1977. The first shipment of mixing bowls, ladles, basting spoons and whisks was imported and on-sold to Sydney wholesalers.
We welcomed Perry Rabin to our business at the beginning of 1982 and the new decade saw the growing business relocate to ‘The Hub’ on Jones Street in Ultimo. The booming ‘eighties’ also allowed us to diversify our portfolio, with the manufacture and importation of cutlery. Our first cutlery pattern, ‘Austwind’, came to life thanks to a misinterpreted telex in Japan. The order was for ‘Windsor’ (a very popular pattern overseas) but the name was fused with ‘Australia’, resulting in ‘Austwind’, now the well-known Australian version of Windsor.
By the mid-1980s, our strength in cutlery led to the introduction of crockery to our portfolio and in 1986 we started selling into the retail market, with the early orders of cutlery coming from the big department stores (Grace Bros and David Jones) and gift shops. In October 1987 we suffered a major setback with a fire caused by an electrical malfunction. Our entire Jones Street building was damaged and stock was severely water damaged, resulting in major losses for our business. We relocated to new premises at 148 McEvoy Street, Alexandria (our home today). Despite the losses, we managed to bounce back in full force by December 1987 and by 1988 business was operating as usual.
We continued to thrive and grow well into the early 1990s, although Tom Reiner left the business in 1993. In 1994 we changed our name to Tomkin Australia in homage to our proud Australian heritage.
The infamous Sydney hailstorm of April 1999 caused us another major setback with a collapsed roof causing most stock to be damaged and written off. Reconstruction lasted until Christmas that year. Not all was lost however, as we’d decided to expand into glassware and the first containers were luckily delivered the morning after the hailstorm.
2000 to today
With the turn of a new century came new opportunities for us and we increased our services and range of goods, moving into all hospitality categories - Kitchenware, Cutlery, Porcelainware, Glassware, Buffet and Servingware, and Barware (including glassware, up-market crockery and a broader range of cutlery).
In December 2009 we acquired JAB Design Australia and bought on melamine and PC drinkware, allowing our expansion into innovative and colourful retail brands. These product additions are complemented by exciting new enhancements to the company with expansion in staff, a new website and a doubling the size of our Sydney showroom.
Tomkin has grown exponentially over its four decades of operation whilst remaining true to our core focus of customer service, and we have cemented stability in our staff, partners, products and pricing, proving the value and quality of Tomkin as a company is assured for the future.