Posted Nov 7, 2020 by Anastasia Prokofieva

From a Family-Operated Store to a Seven-Figure Business

In the shuffle of Black Friday, don’t forget about another big day in November — Small Business Saturday! This is a day that encourages shoppers to support small and local businesses instead of large retail companies.

Small Business Saturday takes place on the last Saturday in November. To celebrate, we’re spotlighting a different Ecwid merchant every Saturday this month. Stay tuned for inspiring stories and entrepreneurial advice from those who know what running a small business is really all about.

This week we share the story of Atlas46, a premium manufacturer of tool vests, tool belts, tool rolls, and workwear — all made in the US.

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How It All Started

Atlas46 was founded by John Carver. Previously, Carver owned a company called Eagle Industries, which specialized in tactical gear for the military. When John sold Eagle Industries, he decided to take some of the expertise he learned there and apply it to items for everyday DIY-ers and construction workers.

These days, Atlas46 is run by John Carver’s son, Brian Carver. All their products are made in the US, and are used mostly in the construction industry and by tradesmen.

In less than five years, Atlas46 has grown from a company of seven people to over 250, and counting. In 2019, they opened a second facility in Hillsboro, Illinois for manufacturing, and added a storefront. This brings their grand total to three facilities, with plans to open another ten facilities in the coming years.

Small Business Challenges

As a fast-growing company, one of Atlas46’s first challenges was finding a large number of employees with a variety of technical skills, including sewing. They overcame this challenge by reaching out to small towns with large workforces in need of employment. The success of their Hillsboro facility proved the effectiveness of employing locally, a strategy they hope to bring into their new facilities as well.

Surprisingly, the global pandemic has boosted business for Atlas46. They’ve seen a jump in demand for their products, perhaps due to an increase in home projects as well as people wanting to support local businesses.

Choosing Ecwid for E-Commerce

Eventually, Atlas46 decided to take their business online, and started a search for the right e-commerce solution. After looking at several different options, they decided that Ecwid E-commerce gave them the flexibility needed for their business model.

Carver and company liked that it was effortless to set up an online store with Ecwid, and the fact that Ecwid’s selling tool could be added to any website. Plus, from the start, Ecwid worked well with Atlas46’s production programs, and their shipping programs as well.

One Ecwid feature that the Atlas46 team finds especially helpful is the ability to set up specific discounts for different dealers or customers with a code, and then have all the details of the deal automatically applied, saving them the headache of having to manually input discounts.


The online store of Atlas46

They also actively use Ecwid features like Mailchimp for email marketing, HelpfulCrowd for customer reviews, and ShipStation for automatically calculated shipping rates for USPS & FedEx. They also like the customization options available, in case something they need is not built into the software.

Atlas46’s decision to focus on online selling seems to have been the right call: now, 99% of their sales are made online, with customers from across the globe.

Their Recipe for Success

Atlas46 believes that great marketing is essential to success. They use an in-house design and marketing team — which creates all their items, and manages their platforms internally — so the company keeps its homespun aesthetic.

To reach customers all over the world, Atlas46 takes advantage of social media. They even credit social media ads with propelling the company’s fast growth. They also use customer testimonials to speak to the ways in which their customers use their products, and to channel yet another way to get the word out about their brand.

And their approach is working: Atlas46 used to net $40 thousand a year, but now they make three million dollars a year. Talk about a small business success story!

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Want to read more Ecwid merchant success stories? Check out the Success Stories section on our blog. And if you’d like to give a shout out to an Ecwid store you know and love, feel free to drop us a note in the comments!

About the author
Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.
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