October - December 2020


Hi everyone. Great to be back with our hard copy version of the F.A.T. Mag after a short hiatus bought about by the Covid-19 situation. We certainly did not put the ‘cue in the rack’ but we did take the opportunity to try a change with the last edition being produced in a digital only version.

Interestingly this caused us a bit of flak from many of our readers who apparently like a hard copy, tactile mag they can grab a hold of and take with them wherever they want to go, to do whatever they want to do. We were quite ‘chuffed’ to get that bit of ridicule as it shows the mag has a following and serves a purpose or two out there.

This was one of those pleasant positives we have been experiencing even though there are the chaotic changes being brought about because of COVID in our workplace. While the country is currently coming to grips with changes to what were normal business routines, border closures and restricted travel, companies all over are finding ways and means of doing business in the changed conditions and positive feedback is something we all relish.

Interestingly, independently owned and operated small businesses are not represented all that well at the top level of government at the best of times, yet they remain a VITAL component of the economic engine room that drives this country forward. More consideration of their needs and wants is required by the policy makers rather than just listening to what the big end of town thinks needs to be done.

Independent small business owners, like those in the CSS Group and others right around the country, are up and about, staying the course, being brave, innovative, imaginative and entrepreneurial while working within statutory requirements, and keeping the wheels turning. The stresses and strains of business have increased appreciably over the past few months, but the resolve of many small business operators has been outstanding as they rise and meet the challenges.

‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’, is a maxim that our members are all familiar with and we are immensely proud of their resolve in working hard to keep the supply chain moving along and people working.

Here are a few examples of how our small business member partners are moving forward:

● Tim Maddison, of Maddison Safety in NSW, is a partner in the Enviros Mask Company who have developed/designed and are locally manufacturing high quality, re-usable, anti-bacterial, face masks for a broad base of market segments. Early on, Tim and his business partner recognised the emerging critical need for seriously SAFE, COMFORTABLE, HIGH-QUALITY, EVERYDAY FACE MASKS and took the task on. Their distribution model is based around small businesses like ours and supporting Australian manufacturing.
● Chris and Linda Waring, of the Bolt Barn in Lismore, started looking at expanding their operation by opening a new branch at Grafton way back in April of this year and while many might have ‘put the shutters up’, they forged on with their plans. Having faith in their own abilities and knowing there was a need for an operation like theirs in Grafton, they forged on and opened there in September. Sensational to be involved with people with the guts and determination to continue to move forward when others are watching things happen around them.
● Duane Sullivan from Sullivan’s Mining & Hardware (Parkes, Orange & Cobar) also took a massive leap of faith in August/September and relocated the Orange operation into an impressive 2,000 square metre plus warehouse/office site. This will become the HUB of the growing operation and word has it that Sully is looking for further expansion soon.

Right now CSS and its members are vigorously looking at the opportunities on offer to buy more Australian-made product and use Australian-based services so that we help our fellow business operators work our collective way through to the other side of this pandemic. We have increased our awareness of the need to ‘shop local’ and have introduced several locally manufactured, new (and replacement) lines to the system.

Whenever I get a little melancholy or down in the dumps, I think about the people behind small businesses everywhere and the chances they took/ take, the hard work they put in and the value they add to our economy. Not just in my field of operation but all over. They ought to be congratulated, applauded and more importantly, supported.

To understand it is inspiring. To be part of it is exciting.

Knowing that you are reading this article and that it was provided to you by one of our members leads me to believe you are a customer of ‘ours’, or maybe will be one very shortly and that makes me feel good. Hopefully, knowing that when you buy from a CSS Member you are supporting a small business operation that is an enormous part of the economic ‘big picture’ of this country.

Thanks for taking the time to go through our magazine and supporting independently owned small business operators.