Two new investors and board members will help spur the rapid growth of high-end office supply company Robert Mason. Brett Kaufman, CEO of Kaufman Development, and entrepreneur Jeff Wilkins will join Founder Robert Grimmett in efforts to bring back the store’s retail presence in Columbus.
“I knew he was going to be a great partner in the business because he’s very brand centric and very marketing driven, and RM is brand that needs to have that kind of belief behind it,” Grimmett says of Kaufman.
Kaufman and Wilkins will be heavily involved in helping Robert Mason raise the $500,000 to $1 million needed to push plans forward.
“Where our other investors are silent, they are active participants,” Grimmett says. “They are now in charge of our fundraising. They are motivated for rapid growth.”
Funds will go towards an operations rebuild including a physical storefront in Columbus and e-commerce fulfillment.
Robert Mason established its presence in Columbus with a 200 square-foot pop-up space on Gay Street before the location was shut down by a fire last April. Although the retailer has retained an online presence, a larger Columbus store was always in the plans. Grimmett hopes that with the fundraising, a new location will finally be open by the end of the year.
“The way we look at it is if we are able to finish the the fundraising in the next 90 days, and we are able to build the store out in the next 90 days after that, then we’re at six months,” he says.
While no official location has been announced, Grimmett is deciding between Short North and downtown. He’s eyeing locations with a little more exposure for the rebuild.
“We do know that the retail floor will be around 2,000 square feet,” he says. The store will stock over 200 brands, including an ever-expanding list of local partners.
“The pop-up store was like a preview of each category,” Grimmett explains. Ten times the space means an expanded offering in each category, all centering around the company’s signature pen bar.
Funds will also go towards expanding Robert Mason’s e-commerce platform. All products will also be online, matching what’s in the store. With plans to house everything in the same location, from their investory and offices to the physical storefront, customers will also be able to reserve inventory online to pick up in-store.
“Furthermore we’re going to expand pen bar into its own app and its own microsite so that there’s a big experiential side to that, too,” Grimmett says.
Until the perfect storm of funding and available space happens, Robert Mason is focused on maintaining their brand presences without a storefront. While they do have an e-commerce platform, some customers are looking for that in-store experience – something the brand is very much about.
“It’s making a brand experience and taking it back out of bulk and warehouse and into a better shopping experience,” Grimmett says.
Once Columbus is off and running, Robert Mason plans to take its pop-up concept into other markets, looking to replicate the initial store’s success.
For more information, visit robertmasoncompany.com.