ELKHART -- StrataShops LLC is one of six Indiana companies to be named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the United States for 2012.
And it's only been in business since 2007, growing 1,100 percent in sales revenue since that time.
"This year, we'll be well over $3 million," Webber said, adding that he is hoping to hit $4 million.
The company, which sells high-end outdoor furniture online, operates eight Internet-based stores each focusing on a different brand of furniture -- Lloyd Flanders, Tropitone, Whitecraft and more.
John Webber, president of the company, started the first site, Stonecrest Furniture, to sell recycled plastic furniture made by Poly-Wood Inc. in Syracuse. In the beginning, he worked alone handling all the sales and Web management.
It wasn't long before the company added a second store, Wicker Central, a resin outdoor wicker shop, which has become its most popular store. As the company continued to add other stores, it also added employees and now has about seven full-time staffers plus three part-timers.
The company has no inventory as everything is shipped directly from the warehouses. Orders are sent the day after placement.
The company arranges the freight and shipping itself. "It gives us a lot more control over the product," Webber said.
Because StrataShops is online, Webber wanted to inspire confidence in its customers.
"We signed up with the Better Business Bureau back in 2008 and we've got zero complaints," he said, and when an employee finds a bad review on another website, the company follows up with the customer to eliminate the problem.
"We get a lot of referrals," he said.
To ensure that the company's customers wouldn't undergo the same frustrations he felt when purchasing online, he focused on ways to make their StrataShop experience a pleasant one.
For example, people can customize the color of wicker furniture they buy or choose the type of fabric they want. But because it can be difficult to tell the exact shade or quality of cloth or wicker from an online picture, the company provides samples for potential customers.
And he knows it's frustrating to have questions and be unable to ask someone. The company's business hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter.
"Anytime (during those hours) that someone calls our 800 numbers, a human answers," Webber said. He tells his employees that when they answer the phone, they have the authorization to do whatever needs to be done immediately to fix any problems a customer might have and he'll back them up.
"When you make a purchase, you have us standing behind that purchase to take care of any issues that might rise," he said.
And the hard work and customer service has paid off.
After 31/2 years, sales ended last year at $2.5 million.
He's proud of the company's growth and the fact that it made Inc.'s list.
"Hopefully we will be on the list again next year too."
Staff writer Alice Culp: