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How a Brick-and-Mortar Furniture Shop Struck Ecommerce Gold The owner of a Missouri-based appliance and furniture store moved online and now has a national customer base.

By Gwen Moran Edited by Frances Dodds

This story appears in the March 2015 issue of Start Up.

Like many brick-and-mortar retailers during the Great Recession in 2008, Goedeker's, a Ballwin, Mo.-based appliance and furniture store, saw sales drop significantly and lost market share to big-box competitors such as The Home Depot and Lowe's. At the time, owner Steve Goedeker decided he had to expand his market to survive, and since opening new physical stores was out of the question—no one was doling out capital—he decided to launch an e-commerce site.

A DIY guy, Goedeker taught himself as much of the site-building process as possible. He attended a Search Engine Strategies marketing expo and an Inter-net Retailer design conference. Then he hired a web designer to coach him through building his site and adding some of the 2,500 product listings to the initial online store.

Fast-forward to the last half of 2014, and Goedeker's had transformed itself into a fleet-footed e-tail powerhouse with a national customer base. Goedeker says the site features more than 200,000 products and brings in 92 percent of the company's revenue. Meanwhile, the staff has grown from the 15 people the store employed seven years ago to more than 90, most of whom work on the online operation and in the warehouse, which ships products to 48 states.

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