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A millionaire before 21: Sean Belnick

Belnick, 20, who just completed his sophomore year studying business at Emory University, has added 225,000 square feet of new warehouse space, with an option to take the remaining 100,000 square feet in the facility in Canton, GA, 40 miles north of Atlanta. That more than triples the warehouse space of the company that Belnick founded in 2001 with the help of stepfather Gary Glazer, who was in the office furniture business. BizChair.com is No. 272 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Belnick says he has already expanded beyond office chairs into office furniture and computer furniture, even banquet seating, which he says is hot right now. The company is now moving into school, home and medical furniture. The latter category includes treatment tables, lab stools and reception area furniture.

BizChair.com sold $24.1 million in merchandise in 2006, up 77% from $13.6 million the year before. Belnick projects sales this year of between $38 million and $42 million. The company has 75 employees, and Belnick plans to bring that up to 100 within a year, adding call center and information technology personnel.

Belnick says customers choose BizChair.com because of low prices, good customer service and a wide selection. He says he offers 100 fabric choices for some chairs, whereas his big-box retailer competitors might offer two or three options. The company also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. “We do a lot of stuff to ease the customer’s fears of purchasing a chair online.” He says returns amount to “a couple of percentage points” of sales.

While today he ships about 40% of products from his warehouse and has the other 60% drop-shipped by manufacturers, he is expanding his facilities so he can carry more merchandise. He says he can cut 30% to 40% off the price he pays for furniture by buying it in bulk, then shipping directly to customers.

Belnick notes he has signed exclusive agreements with several suppliers in China. “That way some other fly-by-night web site can’t just come along and undercut our price by $10.”

Belnick says he expects to spend about $3 million this year on search marketing, which generates about half of the visitors to his site. He says in the past 30 days visitors to BizChair.com exceeded 400,000 and page views 3 million. comScore Networks estimated unique visitors to BizChair.com averaged 166,000 in 2006.

Belnick says he plans to concentrate in finance, accounting and management in his next two years at the Goizueta Business School at Emory, then return to work full-time as CEO of BizChair.com. Belnick says some of his classmates also have started their own businesses, but adds modestly, “mine would be one of the more successful ones.”

Source: http://www.internetretailer.com

Website: http://www.bizchair.com/

May 12, 2008 Posted by | Business, Millionaire, Television, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , , , | 3 Comments