After acquisition, SitStay to stay in Nebraska, modernize and expand
A pair of Nebraska investors have purchased Lincoln-based SitStay and plan to modernize and expand the dog supply website while keeping the company from leaving the state.
Monte Froehlich, the Lincoln-based president of US Property, and Ron Osborne, the Omaha-based co-founder and president of SharePlow, last month purchased SitStay from Sumit Birla, the Florida-based co-founder of BarkingDeals.com. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Osborne said in a phone interview Wednesday that Birla purchased the 16-year-old company earlier this year, becoming its third owner in a short span, and Froehlich, who was leasing warehouse space to SitStay, learned of Birla's plans to move the company to Florida.
Froehlich and Osborne were interested in the company and didn't want to see it leave Nebraska. So, after visiting with Birla and doing due diligence, Osborne said, they reached a decision: “Let's buy the business. Let's keep it here. Let's keep the jobs. Let's keep the story a Nebraska story and really bring it into 2013, 2014 and update a lot of the infrastructure and update a lot of the brand and really take it into modern ecommerce.
"And that's what we've been doing."
Since purchasing the company, Froehlich (far left) and Osborne (near left) have focused on revamping the website — in the future it will have something of a Pinterest feel, Osborne said — and engaging and expanding SitStay's user-base.
"The people that go to SitStay are actually part of a very deep community," he said. "And actually the community is a lot of breeders, a lot of bloggers, veterinarians, trainers and sort of a variety of people in this very tight community. SitStay is a perfect portal to be able to provide more education, more stories — you know, connecting people" through their shared interest in dogs.
To that end, SitStay plans to make two immediate hires: one community-focused employee and another with ecommerce expertise. Those hires would bring SitStay's employee count (a number that excludes Froehlich and Osborne) to six.
Osborne said other investors have expressed interest in getting involved with SitStay, and he's clearly bullish on the dog site's potential.
"I'm predicting — I'm hoping and predicting — that we'll be doubling and tripling revenues within 12 months," Osborne said. "I think that's very, very reasonable."
Credits: Photo of Froehlich courtesy of Froehlich. Photo of Osborne courtesy of Osborne.