October 15, 2013 in Business

Etailz opening Wollnick’s natural products store in South Perry District

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Map of this story's location

After five years of selling natural products online, Spokane retailer etailz is ready to open its first brick-and-mortar store.

It’s taking about half of the building that’s under construction at 11th and Perry, adjoining the soon-to-open Perry Street Brewing.

Called Wollnick’s, the store aims to be a modern version of the classic general store, CEO John Neblett said.

He said the goal is to open Wollnick’s next month.

The company’s fast rise and steady profit have made it one of Spokane’s most successful e-commerce companies.

Originally named Green Cupboards, the company acquired another online retailer this year, called ecomom, and renamed itself etailz.

Its headcount has risen to more than 70 workers, most of them at its office inside the McKinstry Innovation Center.

The company generated $13 million in sales in 2012 and expects to exceed $24 million this year.

The company has been profitable since its second year, said Tom Simpson, who helped start Green Cupboards and sits on the board of directors.

Neblett said a retail store is a new way to reach customers.

“I promised our team early on that we would never stop innovating and we would never stop evolving, always positioning our company for long term,” he said.

Etailz sells close to 100,000 products through its own sites as well as through Amazon and eBay. Opening a physical store is also a way to validate and recognize etailz’s major suppliers, Neblett added.

There is no immediate plan to open other stores, Simpson said.

“This is definitely an experiment. We’re not even starting to think about a second store. It’s way too soon to think about that,” he said.

As for its South Perry location, Neblett said, “We definitely see this area as a fun and cool neighborhood.”

Wollnick’s will fill about 1,500 square feet of the new building; Perry Street Brewing will take the other half.

Etailz focuses on selling products that are environmentally beneficial, organic or natural. Neblett said the store will give the company a chance to highlight selected items and feature them in what he calls the Costco style of marketing.

“Inventory will constantly be shifting. Some items will be consistent but, in the Costco model, you know you’re buying quality, getting the best price and receiving exceptional service, but the product you saw three weeks ago might not be there the next time you shop,” he said.

To start, the company plans to operate the store only Monday through Friday.


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