CORYDON, Ind., Dec. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Jim Allen was sitting at his desk around 9:30 a.m. one Monday not long ago, drinking coffee and reading emails, when his shipping manager brought in a package Allen had been waiting for. "I started getting nervous when I saw the label was from Inc. (magazine)," said Allen, CEO of ApplianceZone.com in Corydon. "I remember my hands were kind of sweaty opening the package." He pulled the information out of the overnight box. "On top was a letter saying congratulations," Allen said. "I was really shocked. I did not think we were going to be that high on the list." Appliance Zone, which sells appliance parts and accessories online, had been named to Inc. magazine's 500 fastest growing U.S. privately held companies for 2010, coming in at 39th overall and third in the retail category.
A Company to Watch
The Inc. recognition is the kind of success that fast-growing Appliance Zone has garnered in a few short years as an emerging company that processes roughly 400 to 800 orders per day for household appliance parts though its Web site at www.appliancezone.com. "It's got us a lot of telephone interviews with newspapers and magazines." Allen said he also has been contacted by about two dozen venture capitalists and bankers since the announcement. "I always ask them, 'where were you two years ago when I really needed some help?' " Allen said. Allen, who had run his own appliance repair business for 14 years with his wife, Paula, launched Appliance Zone a few years ago. He originally ran the company from a computer in the basement of his home in LaPorte, Ind. Allen, who moved the company and his family to Corydon in 2007, said he started the company with less than $1,000.
Poor Economy Created Do-It-Yourselfers
"With the downturn in the economy, it's more feasible to repair your own appliances rather than buying new ones or calling a repair company," Allen said. "People really seem to enjoy the satisfaction of being able to do it yourself." Appliance Zone's Web site receives 10,000 to 12,000 visitors each day, Allen said. Ninety percent of company sales are domestic, and 10 percent are international. International sales have tripled since 2009, Allen said. "I get a lot of personal satisfaction in going back to the shipping department," Allen said. "I just love seeing those packages going to France and Germany and the United Kingdom. I feel very proud." The company works with multiple suppliers and distributors who ship parts from 30 warehouses across the country.
Founder's Character Led to Success
Mike Furois, president of The Planning Associates Inc., a financial and investment firm in Phoenix, has known Allen since 1992. Furois is Allen's personal and business financial adviser. Furois credits Allen's "tenacity and perseverance" for Appliance Zone's rapid success. "He's very, very driven," Furois said of Allen. It's just a personality trait." "He plows forward and makes his own trail. He'll do whatever it takes to make things happen." Jim says he won't rest until he gets his company becomes the #1 appliance parts company in the world.