By Doug Graham
Appliance Zone, currently the nation's fourthlargest online retailer of appliance parts and accessories, had humble beginnings. Founder/CEO Jim Allen hatched the soon-toblossom enterprise just three-and-a-half years ago in the basement of his La Porte, IN home. He was assisted by his son, Justin, already a tech whiz at the age of 16.
"We built Appliance Zone in our spare time," Allen recalls. "Justin created the original website, and soon after, the rest of the family got into the act.When we started, the site got something like 20 hits per day. Today we get 9,000 to 12,000. Last year's sales of Appliance Zone approached 8 million, which isn't bad considering the economy. Needless to say, the company is no longer operated in the basement, nor does the family do everything. At the moment Appliance Zone employs 18 full-timers, in-house, and 8 to 10 outside contractors, programmers, and public relations specialists."