CSS Industries Paves a Path to Success

CSS IndustriesIn 1977, Gene Stacy started out in the pavement maintenance and asphalt repair business before branching out into sweeping four years later. So, when he and Terry Pireaux started CSS Industries, it was no surprise that they would incorporate more than 45 years of experience into their new venture.

Stacy had a thriving business until things dried up in the early 90s and he decided to sell. He went to work for Neal Manufacturing in Georgia and worked his way up the ladder. In 2000, he moved back to Connecticut to be with his family and went to work for his friend that had bought his old business. Stacy spent five years growing the business before it was sold to an investor.

In 2007, he and Pireaux decided to go out on their own, taking 30 years worth of Stacy’s contacts with them. In a short amount of time, they have built their business to include 34 pieces of equipment, including nine active and two backup sweepers, 25-40 employees, two locations, as well as an enviable and diverse customer list.

Sweeping

“We acquired a small sweeping company right off the bat to help build the business,” says Stacy. “Two years later, we acquired the one that I had worked for that had folded.”

Through those acquisitions and new purchases, CSS Industries runs regenerative air sweepers from NiteHawk, Schwarze, Silent Night, and Victory. “NiteHawk was a brand that we got through another company and they are running nicely,” says Stacy.

For their broom sweepers, they use Mobil. “We just keep rebuilding them,” says Stacy. CSS has three full-time mechanics to maintain their equipment. “Well-maintained, clean, good-looking equipment works better, brings you more work, and increases your productivity. It also saves you a lot of money down the road.”

Having both regenerative air and broom sweepers helps them to meet the needs of their varied customers: municipals, construction, property managers, corporate work such as privately held industrial parks and office complexes, and national accounts such as BJ’s, Kmart, and Stop and Shops.

“For a new organization, we’ve gotten a fair amount of work,” says Stacy. “We are a certified sweeper through NAPSA. We also bid independently as a member of 1-800-Sweeper on national accounts and have also generated business through them.”

Paving

When it comes to paving, CSS does asphalt and concrete repair, sealcoating, striping, joint replacement, and installation. They tend to stay out of new paving and really big jobs. “Not many people want to do the small jobs, but we’ve had a bigger success rate and higher profit margins with them,” says Stacy.

To get the work done from April through Thanksgiving, CSS uses Internationals and F550s, Marathon or Cimline for crack sealing, as well as a variety of dump trucks, asphalt oilers, compressors, walk-behind saws, Bobcats, trailers, and “strong backs.”

When repairing asphalt, Stacy prefers to cut out the damaged asphalt, remove the bad asphalt and base, stabilize it, and repave it with Class II asphalt. They also have a special machine to do asphalt curbing.

Maintenance

CSS Industries has a designated employee that generates preventative maintenance schedules for their three in-house mechanics to keep their equipment up and running. “We work hard on it and it saves us money down the road.”

In addition to that, CSS Industries participates in an oil program. Each time a mechanic changes the oil, they send it in and the manufacturer tests the oil and sends them a report. “It tells us what is in the oil and more importantly what isn’t in it,” says Stacy. “The oil is more expensive, but instead of changing it every 3,000 miles, we wait until 7,000 miles, reducing our labor and oil costs and extending the life of our filters and engine. We do things like that to keep equipment running and be more cost efficient.”

Building A Business

CSS doesn’t do residential work. Their focus is strictly commercial, industrial, construction, and municipal. This has paid off for them because they may have a property manager that needs sweeping, then that same property manager may need the asphalt in their parking lot repaired or re-striped. CSS is their go-to solution instead of having to call several different people. They are able to get more work from one customer.

The obstacle in this formula is letting their current customers know about all of their services. “If every customer was aware of everything that we do, then we could triple our business,” says Stacy. “We do have flyers, a website, and sales people on the road to constantly remind them of the things we do. Sometimes I’ve seen one of our sweeping customers getting a new sealcoat on their parking lot, and we have to remind them again about all of the services we provide.”

Stacy has been a member of NAPSA since its inception so CSS became a certified sweeper through the organization. “Not everyone is a certified sweeper and we feel that it’s important,” says Stacy.

Last year, they also became one of the founding members of 1-800-Sweeper, a co-operation of independently-owned sweeping companies throughout the United States that provides smaller sweeping companies the buying power and commercial visibility of a nation-wide company.

CSS also relies on their contacts, the three sales people on the road, and their reputation to keep growing. All of these efforts has helped Stacy and Pireaux to do well over the years. “When you do quality work, you keep getting repeat business,” says Stacy.

Story by Jennifer Taylor

Resources

For More Information:
CSS Industries, visit www.cssindustriesllc.com
NiteHawk, visit www.nitehawksweepers.com
Schwarze, visit www.schwarze.com
Silent Night, visit www.skasweepers.com
Victory, visit www.victorysweepers.com
Marathon, visit www.marathonequipmentinc.com
Cimline, visit www.cimline.com
International, visit www.internationaltrucks.com

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