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The Journey

In their 20 plus years of marriage, Greg and Penny had often talked about starting their own company - but the question of exactly what the company was going to sell (the widget) was always the hardest part. Having years of experience in restaurants and several catalog/e-commerce companies they had strong ideas on what they wanted to put into place to build an amazing company. So, in early 2008 they started the preparation to launch SpicesInc.com. Greg acquired all the books he could find on spices and read them cover to cover (often times more than once) in order to become as close to an expert on spices as he could be at the time.

Greg's brother, Joel, and Penny began constructing the website based on their experiences working for various ecommerce companies. Having worked with Joel for many years at several previous companies, all three created the first incarnation of the website that went live in November of 2008 from a spare bedroom of their home left vacant by me, their son Rob, after I went to college.

The core business philosophy was simple: 1) Be customer obsessed. 2) Have a small cross trained team to deliver on this commitment to customer service. A smaller, well trained staff would mean higher wages (finding, developing and then paying the right good people to stay) but low turnover (hiring and training new people is expensive and counterproductive). 3) Take an educational approach when developing content for the website. The goal is to engage visitors (who would ultimately become customers) to feel like they’ve fallen into a rabbit hole of information when they land on the site for the first time. 4) Reinvest profits back into the company on people and content development and not on advertising. 5) Do these things and customers will keep coming back.

And so, side by side, Greg and Joel filled containers by hand, packed and shipped every single order, while also dealing with growing the business every day. As the business starting to take hold my sister, Glenna came on board to learn the family business from the ground up. And learn she did, she’s now our Chief Operations Officer. 

You can imagine the challenge of trying to run a steadily growing company in a spare bedroom (100 sq feet) could have its limitations so in 2010 the company moved to our first warehouse at 2 East Sixth Street in Bloomsburg, PA. That was a two story 2,000 sq ft space (that at the time seemed huge). That same year Penny left her day job and came on board full time. Sadly, just days before Penny was to have her first official day at the company Joel, very unexpectedly, passed away. He left behind him the seeds to a company that he will always be a part of.

As for me, I joined the company in 2012 after following in Greg's footsteps and working in restaurants in Philadelphia for several years. It took some convincing (ok arm twisting) to leave the city and move to rural Pennsylvania but the prospect of working and learning next to my family was an opportunity too good to pass up. As the Chief Revenue Officer, I oversee the customer service, b2b and web development teams.

In the summer of 2015, we finally convinced Greg's sister Rebecca to come work for us as Director of Purchasing thanks to her history of sourcing a wide range of products from all over the globe.

In 2016, after outgrowing our first warehouse facility, we moved into our current location at 463 Industrial Park Road in Elysburg, PA which was six times the size of our Bloomsburg location. Continued growth allowed us to add key members to our team in the production, customer service, content development, purchasing, accounting and web development areas of the business.

Through this growth we've tried to stay laser focused on maintaining the core business philosophies of our company. As of 2021 our team is up to 26 and we're proud that our success has been powered by our people as they are the true heart and soul of what we do.

We’ve added a couple of other core philosophies over the years. 1) Speed in order processing. Our goal is that 99% of all orders placed by 3:30 pm ET ship the same day. 2) Real live people answer the phone. We'll never have one of those non-personal phone prompt systems (your call is important to us push 1 for customer service, push 2 to talk to another machine, push…). 3) Deliver on our promises. 4) Treat customers the way you would your grandmother.

That pretty much brings you up to speed. We love to talk to small business owners and home cooks of all sorts so if you need something or just want to talk, drop us an email or give us a call (and yeah we’ll answer the phone during business hours). Click Here to Contact Us


 

 

 

 

Rob Patterson
Owner and Chief Revenue Officer

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Spices, Inc.

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