Senso Group entered the GTA’s construction supply market in 2011. Being a young company in a competitive market, the company has established a strong client base and continues to grow the number of products and services, making serious strides in the local masonry and construction supply market. The company’s goal is to become Toronto’s premier supplier of everything that has to do with masonry and more.
The Canadian Business Journal spoke with Cynthia Prazeres, Manager at Senso Group, about the ways Senso Group continues to enhance its product and service offerings to become Toronto’s preeminent supplier to the construction industry.
“Our founder Jack Prazeres has been in the masonry business since the 1980s, and in 2011 he decided to start to do a building supply store his way, offering masonry, drywall and landscaping supplies. When we started we focused mostly on residential projects, supplying contractors working on housing subdivisions and renovation jobs, but now we are pushing our way into the commercial market.”
Senso Group provides builders, subcontractors and retail customers with the best selection of everything they may need for their masonry and landscaping projects. Besides masonry and landscaping supplies, the company offers aggregates, equipment rental, drywall and accessories, but also specialty products, bin rentals, tools, and even charcoal.
The company has grown exponentially in a very short period of time, even though the company currently competes with other well-established companies in the Toronto’s mature masonry supply sector. “Some of these competitors have been around for more than 50 years, so it’s challenging in a sense that we have to build up that customer database quickly so we can continue to be competitive and grow,” says Prazeres.
According to Prazeres, the best way to remain competitive in the market is to find the right suppliers — suppliers who provide quality products at a good price.
“We are getting to know more people in the industry, and meeting the right suppliers that can give us the pricing to make us competitive with the larger companies,” Prazeres says.
When it comes to choosing brick and stone, it is always best to see the product in person. That is why Senso Group’s showrooms display a wide range of materials and exciting ideas for masonry application. However, ability to stock all the products offered in its Toronto location has presented Senso Group with a significant challenges. Suitable space in Toronto is scarce, and the company’s 1,000 square foot yard challenged its stocking capabilities. To address this issue, the company opened another location in Mississauga and made major improvements to this location, and also executed large-scale renovations and improvements to both company showrooms. With its 10,000 square feet at the Mississauga location, the company is able to accommodate clients’ needs anywhere in the GTA. “Not having the suitable space made our yard extremely busy, with products coming in and out all the time,” says Prazeres.
Compared to fourth quarter of 2011, the company doubled its revenue during the same period of 2012. While addressing the challenges that come with this exponential growth, the company continues to expand its product base. Thinking outside the box, Senso Group takes on opportunities that align with its core masonry business and storage capabilities. The opportunistic approach has brought on products such as authentic Portuguese roofing tiles, wood-fired pizza oven building supplies (including clay tiles), and authentic Portuguese charcoal which has become a big hit with the customers, and an important mover for the company during the months that are slower for the construction industry. “Bringing in the charcoal was one of the opportunities that came our way. It seemed as a good idea at the time, and product became popular with not only individuals but also many restaurants. This is high quality, natural wood charcoal, and we received a lot of positive feedback on this product. We supply restaurants and barbeque places in Toronto, but we go all the way and deliver to places such as Cambridge and Stratford. The upside of providing charcoal to businesses is that it is in demand year round,” says Prazeres.
To accommodate its growing clientele, the company is looking to either open additional locations or a simple storage location outside the GTA that would support the demand of the company’s clients, accommodating the ever increasing product volume at Senso Group as the company continues to push into the commercial market, aiming to support larger projects, and effectively compete with the older, better established suppliers.