About Spices, Inc.
In their 30 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 be was always the hardest part (like most entrepreneurs). Having years of experience in restaurants and catalog/e-commerce sales and distribution they both knew what it took to run a fruitful company. Having learned the dos and don'ts from several entrepreneurs (some good, some crazy), they set out to do it themselves. So in early 2008 they started the preparation to launch SpicesInc.com. As the Chief Operations Officer of a large multi-channel catalog/e-commerce company, Greg knew how to build the site from marketing, purchasing, merchandising, operations, customer service and just enough technology to be dangerous. He also 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 as he could become. He's a big believer in the Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hour Rule and lucky for him there are literally eons worth of information on spices to rifle through.
Greg's brother, Joel, and Penny began constructing the website based on their experiences with other companies and the invaluable knowledge they gained along the way. Having worked with Joel for many years at a previous company, all three were able to create the first incarnation of the website that went live in November of 2008 from a bedroom of their home left vacant by me, their son Rob, after I went to college.
They all knew that the core business philosophy was that everything they did must be for their customers. Without them the company didn't stand a chance regardless of how good the product was. From the very start, the company's goal was to "exceed customer expectations every day, with every order and with every communication". Selling something that depends so heavily on aroma and taste Greg knew we needed as much detailed information about the spices as possible. All those books he read combined with Penny and Joel's website building skills and my photography experience built a strong foundation for the website to build on. We tried to take what we loved and hated in our own online experiences as customers and tried to create a good looking and highly functional website while also providing over the top customer service.
And so, side by side, Greg and Joel filled, packed and shipped every single order by hand, while also dealing with the business side of things every day. As the orders started trickling in they eventually needed help and enlisted the help of my sister, Glenna. She began helping part time with the day to day operations. Given the opportunity to learn the family business first hand she committed to the company full time in 2009. Around the same time Glenna's boyfriend, Eric, was asked to come up to the house on Mondays to help fill the backlog of orders from the weekend. Before we knew it Mondays became Mondays and Tuesdays which then became Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and before long he too was full-time. Eventually Glenna would be given the reins to all the operations and Eric would become responsible for receiving and inventory control.
You can imagine trying to fit an entire growing company in a spare bedroom could have its limitations (plus the neighbors were getting curious about the daily UPS and FedEx deliveries) so in 2010 the company moved to our first warehouse at 2 East Sixth Street in Bloomsburg, PA. Penny also committed to the business full time leaving her job in the HR department of the hospital to fully dedicate herself to the company.
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 while he may not be able to share it's success, he will always be a part of. We are forever grateful for his contributions and devotion to getting this young company up and off the ground. While devastating on a personal and professional level the company had to continue on.
The company grew at a great pace and before we knew it we had outgrown our first warehouse facility in Bloomsburg after about 5 years. You might find it hard to believe, but there are few warehouses in Northeast Pennsylvania set up with a spice company in mind. Finally we found a new facility at 463 Industrial Park Road in Elysburg, PA which was six times the size of our Bloomsburg location allowing us some room to grow into the future. In March of 2016 we moved into this new warehouse which not only added more space to store bulk spices which brings costs down, but it allowed us to hire 50% more staff in the first year.
Who We Are & What We Do
As we've expanded we've really tried to stay laser focused on staying true to the soul of our company. We've looked into large scale commercial blenders and automated filling machines, but there is just something to be said about having your spices hand blended and filled by hand by employing people (and not looking to just maximize profits). We probably could've automated the hand-written notes on the invoices that end up in your box too, but we want you to know that each order was looked over by several real life people before it heads out the door. We're proud that Spices Inc is powered by people.
The other aspect of customer service we stress is speed. Our goal is that 99% of all orders placed by 3pm ET ship the same day and with FedEx as our primary shipper we are able to provide super fast shipping (2-3 days) for more than half the U.S. As a native born Texan I ask Greg every time it snows or dips below 15 degrees if we really have to be stuck on the East Coast and he shows me pictures like this from NASA that show the density of population in the United States. We can get packages as far west as Chicago, as far south as Miami, and as far north as Maine in just two days. Fine, I'll stick out the freezing cold just for you - the customer. It's also worth mentioning that all orders over $50 ship for free.
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.
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 (there is literally just a single stop light in Elysburg) but the prospect of working and learning next to my family was too good to pass up and not an opportunity very many people have. I take care of all of our wholesale customers as the Director of Business Development and I also oversee all of our customer service with the help of Beth (who joined us in 2014) so chances are that if you give us a call it'll be one of the two of us that answer the phone. That's right - real life people answer the phone too and we'll never have one of those non-personal phone prompt systems (push 1 for customer service, push 2 to talk to another machine, push…).
That pretty much brings us up to speed. We love to talk about our story and I enjoy talking to entrepreneurs of all sorts so if you'd like to talk to us just drop us an email or give us a call. Click Here to Contact Us
Director of Business Development