CNW – an electrical wholesaler committed to community & culture

In the world of independent electrical wholesale, it’s commonplace to see support for community projects, teams, and events. CNW goes further.

In this Article:
For CNW, connection to the community goes beyond logos on footy jerseys
Throughout the business’s 70-year history, good people have been at the core
Adding value where customers need it is a driving principle

While such involvement is often vital for the survival of many of these initiatives, it’s become almost expected for a local electrical wholesaler to have its name proudly displayed on a jersey of a nearby club.

However, for Simon Baynes, the CEO of CNW, the connection to the community goes far beyond logos on football jerseys. He challenges his team not just to sponsor local clubs but to be actively engaged in them, too. To him, having a name on a jersey is important, but knowing the people behind that club and fostering relationships is equally crucial.

Simon explains:

 “Does a name on a jersey mean that much? I don’t know. But if the people involved in that club know who you are and what you do, you’ll have good conversations, and there are potential long-term benefits.”



“People will have some context to the logo on that jersey. You're putting a face to a name, and from there, things can develop."

You might get more customers, sure, but you also might talk to a parent whose child is looking for employment, for example, and that’s the value that is often overlooked.”

CNW – powered by over 70 years of innovation 

This commitment to the community is deeply embedded in CNW’s DNA and is reflected in its approach to business. Established over 70 years ago in 1952 on Stanley Street in East Brisbane by Cameron, Nielsen, and Walters, CNW has grown significantly under the leadership of the Webb Family, who purchased the business in 1982. Today, it boasts an impressive network of 66 branches across the country.

The key to CNW’s growth, according to Simon, lies in finding exceptional people, fostering a culture of clear communication, and having a well-defined understanding of CNW’s role within the supply chain.

“The question we always ask ourselves is, 'Where do we add value?'” he says.

“There’s our technical expertise, our inventory management for customers, our design capabilities, and our cash flow management. But then there’s the service piece – the relationships built with our customers in every branch are crucial. Different things matter to different customers – our people create connections that go beyond industry service standards.”

How CNW makes a positive community impact

What sets CNW apart is a culture that genuinely aims to make a positive impact on individuals and communities.
“We want our people to care for the business, their community, and the industry,” Simon explains.

“We support them in being engaged in the local community; we want a culture where people are proud to say they work for CNW.”

A testament to this commitment is CNW Balcatta (WA) store manager Ryan Veitch, who manages a popular Facebook community for electrical contractors to share industry insights and hold constructive conversations.

The strength of that community is underlined by Ryan’s initiative to kick off a fundraiser for the family of Matthew Milner, a young Perth-based electrician who tragically lost his life while working in a roof space. To date, it has raised more than $52,000 for Matthew’s family, and underlines the strong sense of community that underpins the industry.

Simon summarises CNW’s ethos by saying, “As a business, we’re all about leading from the front. This principle applies to everything, from how we work with our customers to our involvement in the local community.”

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