Although he didn't have any experience in the pet sales industry, Stan McCright was 'paws-itive' his new venture would turn out well when he acquired it two years ago.
McCright purchased PurrPacks, a subscription gift box company centered around cats and cat owners that was based in California. He immediately moved home it to Chattanooga, then to Soddy-Daisy a year afterward in pursuit of more warehouse space.
While his experience in the internet marketplace before he bought the company was limited, he said learning the ins and outs of a niche product like PurrPacks has been some of the most fun he's had in his 30 years in business.
The process is simple: Customers sign up to receive a monthly box full of cat toys and treats. The toys are either from specialized boutique dealers — not things found in a box store — or brand-new products not yet available in stores, and the treats can be customized so the owner can ensure even their pickiest cat will enjoy them. The boxes come in four sizes depending on how many cats the owner has, and always contain a small present for the cat owner.
"So they get a treat to look forward to as well," explained McCright.
The smallest box starts at $17 and prices goes up to $40 for the largest subscription offered. The company ships around the country, and has been featured on the "Today Show" and in Wired magazine.
"We don't take ourselves too seriously. I like to think we have fun with it," McCright said.
He said the company, located at 8701 Dayton Pike, focuses on organic growth.
"We've found great growth through friends shipping friends boxes as a gift," McCright said. "We always deliver more value than what the customer paid for. I think people notice the quality and like what they receive."
Even the box itself is a cat toy; the underside of each box functions as a scratching pad for cats, preserving table legs and couches.
McCright said it isn't uncommon for his social media team to receive pictures from customers of boxes that were gnawed into while the owner was away in a desperate bid to get at the new toys.
"They know they're getting something good," McCright laughed.
After decades in the home inspection business, McCright said he knows the importance of giving back to the community, too. His team coordinates giveaways to local shelters, such as the Pet Placement Center and McKamey Animal Center, for adoption days, both as a way to encourage people to adopt and to ensure some cats get a host of new toys to take with them to their new home.
Naturally, PurrPacks has its own office cat.
"We just named him Office Cat," laughed Ann Billingsley, a creative director with the PurrPacks team. Billingsley is a member of the creative team which chooses the products that go in each month's boxes. For ideas, she said she attends major pet conventions in Las Vegas and Orlando every year.
"I told Stan [McCright] when we first looked at the business that if he didn't buy it, I would," she said, adding that the first day she drove out to California to see what the business was all about, she fell in love.
"It's fun and people get something special every month," Billingsley said. "What's not to love?"
When McCright purchased the struggling business, he said, the sales were minimal. Since then, they've grown multiplicatively.
"It's easy to grow in multiples when you start with next to nothing, of course," laughed McCright, adding that now, PurrPacks has months where several thousand subscriber boxes are purchased and shipped out.
For more information, visit purrpacks.com.