PEORIA — Like a toddler undergoing a growth spurt, Peoria-based Bump Boxes is poised for more growth — and it's bringing its employees with.
The company in its fourth year of operations produces and ships monthly boxes of products to expectant and new mothers as a subscription service, and has become so successful that owners rolled out an employee stock ownership plan on Friday.
"It takes one person to have a dream and a passion, but it takes a team to make it a reality," said CEO and founder Christine Deehring.
She and her co-founder husband started the company shipping a handful of boxes in their car, and grew it into an operation that is outgrowing its North Peoria warehouse off Pioneer Parkway. They're hoping to move to a bigger location in the coming year, officials said during an open house tour at the facility that planned to ship between 6,000 and 7,000 boxes Friday afternoon.
Terrell White, who has worked with the company since May 2016, fought back tears as he signed his ESOP agreement. He praised Deehring and her husband for taking a chance on him despite some blemishes on his record when he was younger.
"I want to be able to show somebody else that you can come from nothing and become something," he said after the signing. "... It's just a fun thing to see this (company) grow from where it started to now."
The numbers behind that growth are impressive, Chief Revenue Officer Paul Singh said. From three staff and $1 million in revenue in its first year to 32 staff and $8 million in revenue last year, they are now poised to grow again. The goal is to almost double the staff, ending up between 50 and 60 employees this year, and to hit $20 million in revenue with sales in about a dozen countries — but primarily the U.S. and Canada.
Operations all take place in Peoria, from processing the sale of the boxes that cost consumers an average of $33 a month to packing the box with material appropriate to a mother's month of pregnancy or month of their infant's development to shipping it out in a semi truck. They plan to remain local to Peoria, where the logistics chain is manageable and affordable, officials suggested.
"It is this intersection of online and offline" that makes the area attractive, Singh said of the building that houses tech, sales, customer service, packing and executive staff.
That's music to the ears of city leaders, who see the benefits of local employment and revenue from the sales, but also an example of what can make the area attractive to other businesses.
"What we see here today is the hard work, innovation, cost of doing business and ease of logistics that have been and will continue to be, the reason Peoria can hone for the new economy," At-Large City Councilman Sid Ruckriegel said.