GK World

As a high school student, Greg Legnini was looking for a way to make some extra money while working part time at a local shoe store. The idea hit him that he could reach more customers online without the overhead of running a storefront. So, with an initial capital infusion of $250, he and a friend bought a supply of coloring books to sell online. They quickly sold and the initial money and profits were rolled into purchasing more products. Soon, Greg and his partner found the business expanding quickly. By the time Greg graduated from high school, he had four full-time employees handling the business while he was at school because GK World was rising quickly in the online retail world.

Greg’s partner exited the business to pursue his college education, leaving Greg to assume sole ownership of the growing enterprise. The business continued to grow significantly over the next eight years, and now features nearly 20,000 unique products.

In 2009, Greg started to feel the effects of the economic downtown on his business. Customers were just not purchasing as much, and by 2010, gross sales declined by nearly 40%. Greg knew that he had to update his business plan, consider expanding into new areas, and add additional inventory and new products to remain profitable.

Greg reached out to the Pike County Chamber of Commerce for help. They referred him to the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center, where he presented his plan to increase sales by adding new products, as well as rolling out a unique marketing plan. The key to this plan was to obtain capital in order to complete the expansion. With The University of Scranton SBDC assistance, Greg began working on his business plan and projections that never allowed him to analyze his business differently. He dissected his business model and looked very closely at his product mix and pricing strategy. Before long, Greg identified some key areas to change and expand. He had a very comprehensive business plan that he could present to potential investors. Greg was able to secure early $75,000 in financing that allowed him to add close to 10,000 new products and to roll out his new marketing plan in spring 2012.