Being small is hard enough. But being small and in retail? That’s like having two strikes against you before the game even begins. From setting up relationships with banks, to finding trustworthy suppliers, to building a loyal customer base, being a small retailer is a challenge many businesses can’t meet. And if you’re an online-only small retailer? Well, that adds a whole new set of pros and cons into the mix.
K9cuisine.com is one such business that’s so far been able to meet all the challenges of being a small, internet-only retailer. The nine-employee company sells premium pet foods and accessories from a warehouse in the remote town of Paris, Illinois — about 100 miles west of Indianapolis and 200 miles south of Chicago. Owner Anthony Holloway launched the company in May, 2007, because he was frustrated with trying to find quality dog food locally and online. After opening K9cuisine.com, he learned there were a lot of other pet owners sharing his frustrations. “Our business took off quickly and has grown at the rate of 50% each month for the last year,” Anthony says. The web site, he says, currently gets close to 5,000 unique visitors per day, and has generated about $2.5 million in sales in the last 12 months.