CSS group celebrates 21 years at Melbourne conference

by | Nov 20, 2023

The CSS Group’s national conference was held at the Melbourne Showgrounds and South Wharf from October 25 to 26, with the busy trade show one of the largest held by CSS in recent years.

Proceedings kicked off with a welcome dinner at Eureka Towers in Melbourne, giving CSS members and suppliers the opportunity to catch up before the trade show commenced the following day.  

With over 250 members and suppliers in attendance, CSS Group General Manager Ryan Wiggins said he was pleased to see such a thriving show which featured several new suppliers who had joined the group in recent months. 

A number of new members also attended the conference including Collier & Miller from New South Wales, Avon Valley Ag from Western Australia, and K2 Engineering Supplies who have two branches in Western Australia.  

“CSS has always had great member attendance at their conferences. Even though they are all busy and are experiencing staff shortages, they still make an effort to attend the conference.  We do not take their attendance for granted, and we are mindful of making sure members are receiving value for their time away.  This is much the same for their supplier partners. They are  investing time and resources into the CSS conference and tradeshow, so they too need to receive value from their investment.” 

Mr Wiggins said it was thrilling to see so many members and suppliers interacting throughout the show and conducting business. CSS prides itself on its inclusiveness and its ability to come together as a family, and this will be a key focus moving forward, he said.

“Seeing the new members breaking new ground with the supplier partners does give you a buzz. At CSS the philosophy has always been that ‘we build the platforms for our partners to work from’. We can only provide the opportunity for members and suppliers to conduct business, and when you get positive feedback from suppliers that they opened up new accounts, or received an unexpected order, you know you have achieved your objective,” he said.

“Without our supply partners we would not have events like the trade show and conference dinner. Members love to catch up with suppliers and their fellow members. That is the beauty of conferences. While we do have them to improve business and build relationships throughout the year, it is also such a great chance for everyone to get together and have some fun.”

“The dinner is also a good opportunity to finish off some business after members have seen all the new products and what was on offer at the tradeshow. It is also all about creating lifelong memories with a group where everyone is like a mate. This group is very inclusive to both suppliers and members and is why we do what we do,” Mr Wiggins said.

The National Member/Suppliers Dinner was held at the Aerial Function Centre in South Wharf, where CSS took the opportunity to present five, 10, 15, and 20-year recognition awards to both suppliers and members. Both members and suppliers received the following awards on the night: 

Five-year awards

Omer Tools Pty. Ltd.

Ross’s Diesel Service 

Warren Electrical Service

Impact-A Fasteners & Construction Supplies

The Tradesman’s Toolbox

Selleys

10-year awards

MD Steel Fabrication

K C Tools

WD40 Company

Metabo

Bolle Safety

Bahco (SNA Europe)

Dynaweld

Powercell Australia

Uniform Safety Signs

White International 

Nitto Kohki Australia

15-year awards

Broome Bolt Supplies

Ultimate Fasteners – Shepparton

Hordern – Stabila

Spear & Jackson

Dy-Mark

Peerless products

20-year awards

Melbourne Bolt Company

Independent Fastening Systems

TJ & H Agencies

AGM Construction Supplies

Brighton Best International 

Makita Australia 

Hitech Fasteners

Upon receiving the awards, Paul Thorpe from Independent Fastening Systems, who is retiring in December said he had experienced a fantastic journey with CSS over the past 20 years. 

“We have met some wonderful people and without our supplier partners we would not be where we are today, along with all the support from CSS and Jeff Wellard driving the group from day one.”

Another 20-year recipient, Tony Mohr from AGM, said 20 years had gone by at a rapid rate.

“We have grown into a vibrant business today but this does not happen without a good group behind us. CSS and its suppliers have stood by us and looked after us. We plan to really deliver some good stuff into the construction market in Victoria this year. There are some changes going on with the group at the moment but I still believe suppliers have every reason to believe in CSS.”

Throughout the trade show and conference dinner, members and suppliers raised over $17,000 for the national charity for children with cancer – Canteen, with suppliers donating prizes for the raffle and for the silent auction.  

CSS National Marketing Manager Paul Davy said, “As a group we are fortunate to have great support from our supplier partners, who are generous towards helping us raise money for such a great cause.”

“CSS has been in business for over 21 years, and even though there have been a lot of changes in the market, along with a change in CSS management and ownership, this has not influenced the way CSS conduct their business.  Our culture of inclusiveness and partnership still remains strong, and we are always looking for new members to join our progressive group,” Mr Davy said.