1926 The Beginning
The Kailis Family harks from the small Greek Island of Kastellorizo which sits on the edge of Asia minor.
This small island has been recognised as the birth place of many successful business operators. George Peter Kailis, who immigrated to Australia at the age of 14 from Kastellorizo in 1914, started it all when he established a retail fish shop in Perth, Western Australia in 1926.
George developed his business by establishing close working relationships with fishermen, Importing seafood to meet the demands of the predominantly Anglo-Saxon community, wholesaling to other retailers, caterers and food service operators.
Supported by his sons, George’s business grew and he established a processing factory, importing facility and warehouse to support his burgeoning wholesale business. His retail business flourished and he proudly displayed the emblem ‘Under Vice Regal Patronage’.
1962 – Changing of the Guard
After George’s passing his son Michael took over the retail business, growing it into the largest buyer of fresh fish in Western Australia.
In 1962 Michael pursued an opportunity to purchase the ailing Perth Fish Markets which traded under the name A.J. Langford Pty Ltd (still trading today under this name as a sister company to Kailis Bros).
Michael recognised that the commission based business needed to provide fishermen with steadily growing prices if it was to grow its volume and return to profitability. Michael sought to create a secondary market for excess volumes so that prices could be maintained through the auction process. He built processing facilities and pursued the sale of frozen fish into the remote mining sector which was beginning in Western Australia. The business grew and Michael established a wholesaling arm trading as K.F.M. Fisheries Pty Ltd (since 1989 trading as Kailis Bros Foodservices & Logistics).
By the mid-1960s, Michael decided to concentrate his efforts on A.J. Langford and K.F.M. Fisheries and he sold his retail business (by that time trading as International Fisheries).
1970’s – Boom Times
The 1970s saw continued economic growth in Western Australia with the establishment of international hotels and a burgeoning food service market in the affluent city of Perth.
Michael’s business grew with his reputation for outstanding service – nothing but the best quality and a range to meet the needs of a diverse customer base.
Mining Camps and Foodservice operators were impressed with Michael’s high standards of service and they asked him to source a broader range of products including; poultry, vegetables and frozen foods.
Kailis Bros Food Service and Logistics expanded through the 1970s and into the 1980s to include distribution service agreements with major Quick Service Restaurants, global industrial caterers, airline caterers, government institutions, armed forces and the entire foodservice market.
In 1980 Michael decided to re-enter the retail arena by establishing Kailis Bros Fish Market which quickly became the standard for seafood retailing in Australia. The fresh market atmosphere captured the imagination of the public with a range of seafood to meet the needs of any recipe or budget.
In 1982 Kailis Bros established subsidiary Black Swan Ship Supply which targeted the supply of comprehensive ships provisions to ships visiting Fremantle port. Blanket Supply Agreements with the United States Navy saw the company grow rapidly and a duty free retail shop which target retail sales to crew members was added to the business. A long term decline in ships visits to Fremantle saw Kailis Bros reevaluate its involvement in Black Swan Ship Supply and a decision was made to divest the business to existing management.
Kailis Bros maintains a strategic ship supply business targeting high end cruise liners including 6 Star Cruise Line, Crystal Cruises visiting Australian ports.
In the mid-1980s the opportunity arose to purchase a West Australian Rock Lobster export processing license and Kailis Bros entered the Lobster industry trading under the subsidiary National Fisheries. The business has developed industry leading Live Tanks facilities, in line programmed cooking systems and has expanded to become the second largest Western Rock Lobster processor in Australia. National Fisheries today exports Western Rock Lobster to China, Japan, Taiwan, France and the United States.
1990 – 2000 and Beyond
After many years of successfully trading and supplying products into the NSW, Victoria and Queensland markets, Kailis Bros decided to establish its own trading office.
Michael’s eldest son, George moved to Melbourne in 1990 where he established Kailis Bros Seafood.
Tapping into established relationships in the recently recognised Socialist Republic of Vietnam as well as strong trade links in Thailand, Indonesia and across the globe, Kailis Bros Seafood grew rapidly, supplying major wholesalers and restaurant chains.
By the mid-1990s Kailis Bros Seafood strategically positioned itself to support supermarkets as they pushed into the fresh seafood market. Today, Kailis Bros supplies a comprehensive range of fresh natural and value added seafood to supermarkets for sale both Behind the Counter (Deli-style) or in a case ready pre-pack.
Kailis Bros Seafood training and merchandising team members work closely with the supermarkets to improve the knowledge base of supermarket staff and reduce customer purchase hesitation. The Kailis Bros partnership has been recognised with 3 National Awards for excellence (the only company to be so honoured).
In 2001 Kailis Bros Food Service & Logistics was a founding member of Australia’s largest food service buying group Combined Foodservices of Australia which comprises 11 of Australia’s largest and most successful food service operators. As one the most awarded and successful food service operators in Australia, Kailis Bros has a sustained and long term growth profile.
Securing supply and assuring quality is a priority in the seafood industry, and Kailis Bros Seafood opened an office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2004. The rapid growth continued and Kailis Bros Trading became the largest importer and supplier of frozen seafood into both retail and food service markets and offices were established in Sydney and Brisbane. In 2008 a Strategic Marketing Alliance with Sealord of New Zealand (the 7th largest fishing company in the world) saw Kailis Bros Trading secure the Australian marketing rights to the Sealord portfolio which today includes; New Zealand Hoki, Dory, Orange Roughy and ancillary species.
The Present Day
In 2016 Kailis Bros entered into a strategic partnership with Legend Holdings Corporation whereby Kailis Bros seafood processing, wholesaling and exporting business forms the base of a new venture between the two companies: KB Food
Today, we purchase and handle around 70% of all commercial fish caught in Western Australia. Direct from vessels to our modern facility we are able to produce a range of products suitable from retail to wholesale. Our high standards mean we are the provider of choice to the major retailers in Australia for the freshest fish fillets. Kailis Bros over the last decade has developed and produced a range of value added products for the Australian retail market. These items have become top sellers in their category and with improvements in packaging we are able to offer this range to Asian markets.