In the traditional realm of business, you open a retail store first and then eventually launch a Web site. But now that we've experienced the dotcom revolution-and counter-revolution-many of the surviving dotcoms that skipped that first step are starting to realize the benefits that come from opening a brick-and-mortar location.
For some, branching out at the right time offered the chance to extend their life spans. "We realized very early that we could not exist purely as a dotcom," says Sal Perisano, 50-year-old co-founder, chair and CEO of iParty Corp., a publicly traded retailer of party supplies. "We knew we needed some terrestrial link, some other reality other than a virtual company, to bolster what we were doing."
of fast growing tech firms have aquired at least one company.
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So last year the Boston company, which started out as a pure-play venture called iParty.com, moved to correct the situation: It purchased 33 Northeastern physical retail stores from the bankrupt Big Party chain, transforming itself into a multichannel retailer with retail stores, an Internet store and a printed catalog.
Smart decision: iParty is now celebrating success. During the fourth quarter of last year, the retail stores it acquired during the third quarter made sales of $18.6 million. Online division sales totaled $395,000-a 194 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 1999.