Entrepreneur takes idea for extra income and creates multimillion dollar business; selected as Runner-Up in the Small Business Person of the Year category
SANTA ANA, CA – Todd Chism, President of PatioShoppers.com, a home, hearth and patio furnishings retailer based in Murrieta is the U.S. Small Business Administration Santa Ana District Small Business Person of the Year Runner Up for 2012. Chism was nominated for the award by his employees in recognition of his abilities as an entrepreneur, having led the company from start-up with just $800 in seed money to a multimillion dollar enterprise with more than 12 employees, a 10,000 square foot building, and a number of independent contractors.
The idea for PatioShoppers.com came as Todd and his wife Rochelle sought to find a way to spend more quality time with their family and began buying items on clearance and selling them in online auctions. One day while shopping at a “big box” drug store, Rochelle saw patio umbrellas on clearance and the idea for PatioShoppers.com was born.
In 2005, the couple started PatioShoppers.com with $800 in seed money from their personal savings and grossed over $1 million dollars in sales in its first year of operation, becoming one of the top patio umbrella retailers online. After quitting his day job, Todd quickly realized they would need assistance and hired his first employee and moved the business to its first location.
The following year, Todd used his sales experience to expand into the commercial sector, acquiring accounts with a variety of hotels, property management companies, and restaurants. This strategic decision led the company to hire its second employee, with revenues growing to $2.4 million. At the same time, Todd started to educate himself in online marketing and began attending national trade shows to introduce his brand and create relationships with product manufacturers. He discovered that many of the manufacturers did not have procedures in place to accommodate a “drop ship” business model, so he allowed the manufacturers to use PatioShoppers’ shipping account so they would not incur any additional expense.
By 2008, the company developed a strong team and brand awareness. Manufacturers that were once weary of doing business with small, internet-based companies now started to seek out PatioShoppers.com because of its reputation and aggressive product marketing. The business expanded even further by venturing into a variety of internet-based advertising outlets. The same year, Todd was recognized as one of the top 5 Emerging Entrepreneurs of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine for leading the company to an increase in revenues of 360% since startup. The company started developing product marketing videos and built an in-house film studio in order to give the consumer a better user experience and product awareness.
By 2010, Patioshoppers.com Inc. had earned a top spot in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies and had grown to $5.9 million in sales. The company acquired its current 10,000 square foot facility with the help of an SBA loan.
Currently, the company is a recognized leader in the patio, home and hearth furnishings industry and Todd has become a sought-after home improvement expert regularly appearing in a variety of shows for HGTV and DIY Network. The company expects sales to increase to $7.5 million this year.
Chism will be honored alongside other Small Business Week Awards recipients at the 49th Annual Small Business Week Awards, to be held on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm at the City National Grove of Anaheim. The Small Business Week Awards recognize small businesses and entrepreneurs for their outstanding contributions. Questions regarding the event may be directed to Doug Dare at (714) 560-7467. To RSVP, please visit www.49thannualsbwawards.eventbrite.com.