Nov 7, 2015 2:50 PM by Debbie Cobb
One of the few things actually made in Chico may, sadly, no longer be made in Chico. Woof & Poof C.E.O. and owner Roger Hart said today, the company is having to cease production. Hart made the statement today at the annual warehouse sale.
Every year on the first Saturday of November a sale is held at the warehouse on Orange Street. Woof & Poof products include everything from stuffed collector dolls, blankets and door hangers to musical Santas for the holidays.
The unique, quality products are sold to more than 600 stores in the United States and Nordstrom's. Woof & Poof has been in Chico for 40 years, but that's about to end. Hart says a raise in minimum wage and workers compensation are just a couple of issues that have made it difficult to keep the business financially afloat here. Hart said, "The high cost of doing business in California coupled with ridiculous regulatory environment makes it virtually impossible to do business." He says he has seen an 11% hike in payroll.
At the company's work peak, during the summer months, he has 30 employees. He says he hasn't taken a paycheck home in two years. A recent visit by an inspector with the Department of Consumer Affairs set the company back. The inspector from Sacramento cited him for having the wrong size font on the decorative pillow labels. He was told to take the labels out, or they would have his inventory seized. It was a costly fix. Hart says he and his wife, Sabrina love Chico. His employees also live and work in Chico and they don't want to send production to China. Production costs would be a lot less in China, Hart said, but it wouldn't be the same 'Woof & Poof' product. There is a possibility someone could buy the business and keep it local, but that decision has not been made.
Meanwhile, today, people started lining up at 4:30am for the 8am Woof & Poof annual sale at the warehouse. Items have to be snatched up pretty fast or they're gone. The Santa Claus dolls are usually the first to go. Customers today may have been to the last warehouse sale. Woof & Poof products as we know it today, may be another one for the Chico history books.
2 days ago