March 6, 2014, 12:18 PM

Fashion e-retailer BHFO builds itself a bigger mothership, and with style

The 10-year-old Iowa-based e-retailer also plans an e-commerce upgrade.

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BHFO Inc., which bills itself as an online seller of “discount designer fashions,” will bring its Iowa-based operations under one roof this month, a move that reflects company growth and promises more efficient warehouse operations, the merchant says.

The web-only retailer, which has a headquarters and three warehouses in Cedar Rapids, will consolidate all of its operations in a single 240,000-square-foot facility in the same city.  BHFO launched 10 years ago and sells via its branded online store on eBay Inc. ‘s eBay.com marketplace. It says it plans to also let shoppers buy directly from BHFO’s own web site at BHFO.com, but that site still directs shoppers to the retailer’s eBay store. The company is building its e-commerce site in-house but will continue to sell via eBay and other marketplaces.

The new facility will improve efficiency, says Jon Sefton, BHFO president, who co-owns the company with his wife, Stacie. “With all of our operations under one roof, we’ll eliminate the headaches of transporting products and employees between multiple facilities,” he says. “We will also have more room to implement state-of-the-art technology for our operations, adding more automation through conveyors and picking/packing systems.”

The new facility includes 215,000 square feet of warehouse space and 24 truck bays, along with 25,000 square feet of office space, including 9,500 square feet set aside for an “employee amenity.”  That employee space offers a cafeteria, game room, fitness center, lounge with massage chairs and TV, a computer and reading room, kitchen, lockers and coat room. The employee areas will have what BHFO calls “modern, contemporary décor with vibrant colors highlighting fashions from around the world.”

"The intent is that it will help retain our top talent and also help recruit with our upcoming planned growth," Stacie Sefton says of the employee area. "We feel that by offering our employees a great area to relax and have fun with their co-workers helps to build those team relationships which is an important part of our culture here at BHFO."    

BHFO, which also sells globally, had $25 million in revenue last year and expects to top $30 million in 2014, the company says.

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