SBDC at JCC Success Story: Westburgh Electric, Inc.
Westburgh Electric Inc., founded in 1919, is the oldest electrical supply and motor repair facility in Chautauqua County. Roger Blixt, a lifelong employee, and his son, Dave, purchased the company in 1962. It has been operated by the Blixt family ever since. Roger retired in 1978, and Dave bought out his father and expanded the business to include motor sales as well. In 1998 Dave retired and two of his sons, David Jr. and Dan, took over the business. Currently, Dan is president and David Jr. is vice president.
In September 2012, Dan Blixt was assisted by Curt Anderson of the Small Business Development Center and discussed launching a new company website for Westburgh. After several discussions, Dan followed the selection criteria to hire Jason Deering, owner of Jamestown Internet Marketing, to build a new e-commerce store for the company. The site went live in February 2013. The second online order received was for $9,000 and the business’ first order from New Zealand. That single order paid for almost the entire website and allowed Westburgh to begin shipping internationally. The company’s goal for 2013 was to surpass $50,000 in new business via the Internet. As of December 1, 2013, the company had exceeded $120,000 in e-commerce revenue.
Westburgh owners are extremely excited about e-commerce opportunities in 2014 and feel that Internet sales could exceed $350,000 in the year. The company has added thousands of products to the website and is working on an aggressive marketing campaign to attract new business. Strategies include search engine optimization, pay per click, blogging, and utilizing additional social media such as Linked-In and YouTube.
Westburgh’s commitment and determination have led to the incredible return on their investment for the company. This early success at Westburgh encouraged the SBDC to reach out to local manufacturers to explore e-commerce. The SBDC has launched the $1 Million E-commerce Club as a challenge for companies to make the investment. Ten regional companies have signed up, representing over 350 employees. The SBDC is working to protect these manufacturing jobs while helping companies grow through e-commerce opportunities.
Partnership Program with the SBA, administered by the State University of New York. Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. All SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.