The Greater Peoria regional economy rests on a stool with three legs: manufacturing, health care and agriculture.That isn’t likely to change any time soon — and we don’t want it to! — but our region has diversity that often gets overlooked. For example, we have a nice “mini-cluster” of insurance companies, including RLI, Pekin Insurance, Pearl Insurance and Illinois Mutual. Could e-commerce be next?
That might seem like an odd statement, but I recently heard Paul Singh, the Chief Revenue Officer for Bump Boxes say that exact thing. If you haven’t heard of Bump Boxes, you soon will. The company, co-founded by Christine and Lee Deehring just a bit over three years ago, is the world’s largest pregnancy subscription service. The company organizes boxes of items tailored to each month of pregnancy and new motherhood. From a smallish warehouse in Peoria, tens of thousands of boxes are packaged and shipped all over the world. Bump Boxes has expanded to provide boxes to expecting dads, too, and is growing its presence in the business-to-business world. Here, Bump Boxes partners with other corporations to offer the service as a benefit to employees when they become pregnant.
Recently, Bump Boxes took the amazing step of creating an Employee Stock Option Purchase (ESOP) to share the company’s success with their employees, who seem more like family. Bump Boxes has grown tremendously fast. Just three years ago they had 3 employees and brought in about $1 million in revenue. This year they will eclipse the $20 million revenue mark and have over 40 employees (and they are hiring!). It was in reflecting on that tremendous growth that Mr. Singh mentioned how Greater Peoria could be a hub for e-commerce. He noted two things in particular.
First, our location in the middle of the country made their shipping costs lower. Singh said they can ship a box anywhere in the country for just $3. You cannot do that from the coasts. Second, Greater Peoria has tremendous logistics talent. That is no surprise to those of us familiar with Caterpillar’s operations here, not to mention companies like G&D Integrated and Trigo-SCSI. They are supply chain experts, a skill set that translates well into e-commerce operations. These facets, combined with easy access to transportation options and low cost of doing business make us an attractive option.
We are so excited about the growth of Bump Boxes in our region and look forward to our future. But we are just as excited about Greater Peoria becoming the next great e-commerce hub.