Entrepreneur Finds Success in St. Louis
Wes Pickering founded Pic the Gift, LLC, in 2012, believing there was a growing desire in the marketplace for on-demand printing.
Here’s how it works: Pic the Gift allows customers to choose from a variety of printable products through an online design portal. Their customers, both individuals and corporations, customize the item’s look. They can select its color or a pre-created pattern, then add logos and photos.
Some of their printables are relatively small (mouse pads, holiday ornaments, and no-show socks). But some are comparatively large (lounge chair covers, shower curtains, blankets, and beach towels).
They also print on a wide variety of surfaces: cloth, glass, stainless steel, and ceramics, among others. The production process requires a range of large printers able to handle any scale and media.
Since they’re in the center of the country, Pic the Gift can ship to anywhere in the US in fewer than four days. Their market niche, location, and excellent service have made them an in-demand vendor for potential buyers throughout the country.
About the company’s growth, Pickering says, “We’ve been busting at the seams for eight months, growing much more quickly than we projected.” He needed a short-term solution to handle his inventory while he looked for a larger space for his business.
Commercial Industrial Warehouse Space in Overland, MO
The staff at Pic the Gift was only twenty people in July of 2017. By the beginning of June 2018, they had grown to fifty, and expect to bring on another thirty to forty employees over the next six months.
At the time, they were leasing two spaces totaling 15,000 square feet, much of it occupied by large production equipment of various kinds. They were dependent on their properties because their equipment requires more electrical service than most buildings can handle: 1,200 amps and 480-volt power.
Lacking the space to continue to grow his staff, Pickering had to turn down projects the business didn’t have the resources to handle. He didn’t want to have to do that again. For him, the growth has meant “a fun ride, but it certainly is challenging.”
It was near the end of 2018 when Pic the Gift realized it had an immediate need, which was to find space to store seasonal holiday inventory. They already had leased auxiliary warehouse space, but it had filled up much more quickly than he had expected.
After looking at approximately twenty separate buildings, he got a tip from a friend.
Picking Space with Help from Hilliker
The friend, who leases a portion of 10838 Ambassador, had seen a 20-year tenant vacate their space in the same building. The friend put Pickering in touch with Jeff Altvater of Hilliker Corporation, who represents the landlords.
Altvater showed Pickering the building. At 30,620 square feet and with 16 feet of ceiling clearance, it was a little larger than Pickering needed at the moment, but that wasn’t a bad thing, given their rate of growth.
When he toured the space, he liked the layout – 15% office, 85% warehouse with five loading docks. Only a half-mile from his current building, it maintained continuity and convenience for his staff, local customers, and vendors.
In fact, it offered everything a business like his needed except for one thing: enough electrical power for his equipment. Regardless, he could envision the building as a long-term office and warehouse for his whole operation.
For their part, the owners of 10838 Ambassador were highly motivated to win over Pic the Gift. They liked the story of the company—that it’s local, growing, and operating a smart and lucrative business model.
They offered to upgrade the bathrooms, as well as the previous tenant’s old fluorescent lights to LED.
But most of all, 10838 Ambassador’s owners were prepared to make a substantial investment in bringing the requisite power to the building. That included bringing in Ameren to put in a new pole and a dedicated transformer. They were also willing to pay to have the trench dug to deliver power to the building.
Pickering said, “This has been an easy, straightforward process and overall good experience. Which is what we needed, because we didn’t have a lot of time to go back and forth. We couldn’t afford to play games.”
Looking Forward to Growth
Most of Pickering’s staff has been able to tour the building. They’ve expressed excitement about the move. He says, “We’re looking forward to stretching out.”
Planning to move in August 2019, Pickering is personally overseeing construction of the new space while his staff prepares for the move and incorporates new technologies.
He’s proud of his workers, saying, “They treat people well. They do a great job.” That, along with an in-demand service and properly proportioned new office and warehouse, is what positions Pic the Gift to keep growing.
Entrepreneurs: Are You Looking for Light Industrial Warehouse Space in the St. Louis area?
When a business starts growing faster than projections, it can feel like “the best of times and the worst of times.” Though the company may be prosperous, it leaves owners with little time to consider how to deal with the sudden influx.
Hilliker Corporation understands this. We’re the entrepreneur’s choice, coming alongside to advise you. We make it our goal to improve your life, making your work more manageable, and your real estate transactions as smooth as possible.