Brand Studio
sponsored by:
La Cuisine

Cornering South Florida’s Luxury Kitchen Appliance Market Takes a Passion for Cooking and Kitchen Design

Pictured: Josu Gaubeka
Pictured: Josu Gaubeka

The industry-leading appliance dealer not only has partnerships with all of the top kitchen appliance brands, but brings an unparalleled standard of service to every phase of the development process, from pre construction to maintenance. It all comes down to founder Josu Gaubeka and his team’s passion for everything having to do with cooking. TRD sat down with Gaubeka to learn about La Cuisine’s evolution from Venezuelan wholesaler to international kitchen appliance leader with nine subsidiaries and fifteen showrooms in eight countries in the Americas and the Caribbean. We also spoke with Carlos Melo, CEO of Melo Group, and Rey Melendi, COO and Principal of 13th Floor Investments, about why they continue to choose La Cuisine Appliances as a partner for their South Florida developments.

Coming to Florida

Gaubeka began buying and selling kitchen sinks and water filtration systems while still a sophomore in college in his native Venezuela, and had opened two retail locations by 1994 to supplement his wholesale business. Over the next decade, his empire expanded across Venezuela, and La Cuisine was able to secure a number of exclusive product distribution agreements for luxury brands including Gaggenau, Viking Range, Smeg, Franke, Liebherr and Bosch.

Then, in 2004, Gaubeka opened the first La Cuisine distribution center in Miami as part of a Caribbean and Latin America expansion strategy which produced a pair of business models: La Cuisine International (LCI) to handle international distribution, and La Cuisine Appliances (LCA) for domestic sales.

“I always felt the need to expand the international side of the business and not have all the eggs in the same basket,” explains Gaubeka. “That’s why we started to diversify the business and go international.”

The expansion couldn’t have come at a better time for La Cuisine or for South Florida. As demand for luxury kitchen appliances in multifamily developments grew over the next 20 years, La Cuisine Appliances was positioned to deliver not only the best product thanks to a host of brand partnerships, but also the highest standard of service. To date the company has delivered and installed appliances in more than 20,000 condominiums, apartments and luxury homes in South Florida alone.

Excellent Service, from Pre Construction to Maintenance

La Cuisine Appliances focuses on new multifamily construction and luxury custom homes. The company distinguishes itself in the crowded South Florida market by offering not only top-of-the-line appliances, but also a turnkey package that helps builders from the earliest phase of construction.

“Something we do different from our competition is that we get involved in projects at the very beginning,” says Gaubeka. “We can really help them see things they might not think about, like proper ventilation.” 

Once the design phase is complete and building is underway, La Cuisine’s installation team steps in, ensuring that these luxury appliances are installed correctly. The result is beautiful appliances that support the luxe developments in which they are featured.

“Working with La Cuisine Appliances has been great for our projects,” Melo told us. “They are competitive and provide great service. We appreciate their attention to detail and how quickly they respond to our needs.”

Once a building is up and running, La Cuisine’s service department takes over, providing local warranty service on behalf of the manufacturers that ensures faster response times during high seasons. 

Not only does the La Cuisine team reduce the expected wait time for service from weeks to a couple of days, they bring decades of knowledge and firsthand experience with them to every repair. This dedication to service at every step of the building process guided the company’s international growth and has helped La Cuisine Appliances forge lasting relationships with many South Florida development leaders. Among the company’s many partnerships, Gaubeka is most proud of La Cuisine’s working relationships with Inigo Ardid of Key International, Carlos and Martin Melo of Melo Group, Arnaud Karsenti and Rey Melendi of 13th Floor Investments, Sergio and Manuel Grosskopf of Chateau Group, Scott Moss of Moss Construction, Ricardo Caporal of Mattoni Group, and Noah Breakstone of BTI Partners.

The feeling is mutual. “Working with La Cuisine Appliances is exceptional,” says Melendi. “It’s a relationship we value at 13th Floor. Knowing we have them on our team for the developments helps us know we will be on time and the product will be top notch.”

A Dedication to Service

When he first arrived in South Florida two decades ago, Gaubeka had to build a team of local professionals from scratch. Over the years, he’s developed a keen eye for talent, assembling his team of 80 loyal and skilled employees by finding people who share his passion for cooking, a love that lives at the center of both his life and his work. 

“We talk about cooking, dishes, restaurants, trends and cooking techniques all the time,” he says. “They understand not only design, they understand cooking. With that background, they are able to provide the best experiences to our clientele.”

His team cooks together, these lessons are more than a fun bonding experience; they also give team members hands-on experience with the many brands that La Cuisine sells and services, shoring up their knowledge and making them even more effective salespeople and service people.

“My team is everything,” says Gaubeka. “I’m very proud of the people who are with the company today.”

Exclusive Brands and Experiential Showrooms

La Cuisine has worked with many of the world’s top kitchen appliance brands since its days as a Venezuela distributor, and La Cuisine Appliances has exceptional brand relationships with Gaggenau, Thermador, Liebherr, Smeg, Bosch, Franke, Kalamazoo, Samsung, and Alfresco, along with many others. To support their many brands and give developers the best experience, La Cuisine Appliances maintains three showrooms in South Florida, one in Coral Gables, one in Aventura and a brand new location in Miami’s hip Design District.

“That facility will allow us to really show the ultra luxury brands for the new $30, $40, even $90 million homes,” says Gaubeka. As South Florida’s luxury market continues to mature, Gaubeka expects the demand for La Cuisine Appliances’ products to expand as well, particularly in homes with multiple kitchens.

In fact, Gaubeka expects Miami to continue to grow. As tech and private money and workers pour into the region, “the quality of construction is improving,” he explains. “We will see an explosion of vertical construction.” Looking back on 20 years of La Cuisine Appliances, Gaubeka is happy that he chose South Florida as a place to live and build a business.

“I think South Florida is just starting to grow and show its potential,” he says. “The sky’s the limit here.”

To learn more about La Cuisine Appliances, visit the brand new Miami Design District design center at 100 NE 38th St. #2. Miami, FL 33137 or reach out to 305-442-9006.