Community spirit was the driving force behind the success of the 2023 i98FM Illawarra Convoy.
Raising a record $2.85 million for the Illawarra Community Foundation, the money will be distributed to local charities and families who are facing life-threatening and life-limiting illness.
As local businesses and community members pitched in for fundraising, a local skip-bin business went above and beyond to raise funds.
Tiny Tins, a Wollongong skip bin company contributed $261,000 to the cause.
Owner Karlie Zec says they strive to smash their own records every year.
“The first year we did it, we raised $8,000. Last year, we raised $30,000. And then this year, we raised $261,000,” she says.
Getting creative with their fundraising ideas, the family-owned business successfully pulled off their biggest event yet.
“We held a boxing fight called battle of the businesses,” she says.
“There were 22 fights, with 44 people from all different businesses.
“We raised $100,000 just from that one event.
The family commits to the Convoy year-around, hosting a Halloween disco, Easter night with an outdoor cinema, and good old fashioned cold calls.
Karlie says the family wants to use their success to help in any way.
Tiny Tins has been in the family for nearly 30 years, originally owner Adrian Lamacchia’s fathers.
“Adrian has grown up working for him his whole life. But we bought it seven years ago now. And then we made it our own,” Karlie says.
“Since owning the business we have grown over five times what we started with.
“Once we took over, we started sourcing new builders, landscapers and grew from 2 trucks, to now seven trucks and 100 bins.
The business has five Isuzu’s in their fleet with incredibly punny names.
They have an Isuzu NKR 200 named Binboy, a NPR 400 named Binman, Binday the FSR 140, Bins2u the NPR 300, and an NQR 450 called Ubinit.
Joining along is Abin2u the Hino FE 1426, and Stinky the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter 7/800.
Karlie and Adrian’s little ones; Jordan, 10 years old and Knox, seven years old, have already been gearing up to take over the business.
“I’ve actually started training Jordi on the phone already and she does some of my phone calls for me,” Karlie says.
“She’ll call the customers to tell them we are on our way, just basic stuff, but she loves it.
Knox loves machinery and being at work with his dad and is already saying he will take over when he is older.
The kids even have their own kitted-out mini truck which was a big hit at the Convoy.
“We bought it off a kids toy site during COVID. It was something to do during that time,” she says.
“We’ve got an onsite boilermaker who fixes our bins, and we asked him to weld it up for us. He even fitted it with an extra battery and did all the auto electrics for us so it actually works.
Karlie says the business has brought the family closer together.
“It brings us all together as a family because they have to work with us and they’ve grown up with it.
“It makes it fun for the workplace. Knox is like a little dad and drives around.
“Even when we’re not like at work he will be out the front driving his little truck around down the street and pretending to pick up bins.
Karlie says they want to keep growing the business, and they can’t wait to start fundraising for next years Convoy.