Fresh off ABC’s “Shark Tank,” local dry-erase whiteboard startup McSquares is marking out new territory in Thornton.
The company, founded by Anthony Franco in 2016, is moving into 25,000 square feet in the Pinnacle Town Center at 550 Thornton Parkway, taking over part of what was previously a Hobby Lobby store.
The new location is four times the size of the company’s previous 7,500-square-foot space at 2150 Market St. in Denver.
“We’re anticipating a lot of growth next year, and so it was either move now and move the entire shop or have two different locations,” Franco said. “It would have been too difficult to stay in that small space at the rate we are moving.”
McSquares (pronounced M-C-squares, like the equation) offers a line of eco-friendly, reusable sticky notes, dry-erase tiles for collaborative work environments and desktop whiteboards. The company also recently launched a new line of planners, calendars and a “HomeWork Kit” with some whiteboard essentials. In addition, McSquares plans to launch a line of reusable coloring kits for kids at the end of the month.
The dry-erase whiteboard startup manufactures 95 percent of its products in Colorado and the other 5 percent in China, Franco said. The move will give the company more capacity to produce new products and expand machinery.
“I understand the economies could be better overseas, but for what we’re making that may not be true,” Franco said. “It’s certainly not true for our first $20 million in revenue.”
McSquares, which employs 14 people, also plans to hire 10 to 20 more workers in the next year, in addition to outsourcing marketing, Franco said.
On May 14, Franco appeared on an episode of “Shark Tank,” which shows entrepreneurs pitching their products to a panel of five investors, or “sharks.” Wearing a suit with colorful sticky note illustrations, he struck a $300,000 deal, which Franco said is just days away from being finalized, with an unlikely investor — Kevin O’Leary, otherwise known as “Mr. Wonderful.”
Franco, who signed the seven-year lease for the space in May, said he had been looking to expand the business for a year, and the move was not prompted by the popularity of the episode. Broker Amy Garris of Jamis Cos. represented McSquares in lease negotiations. Greg Knott and Early Duffy of Unique Properties represented the landlord.
Franco said on the show that McSquares had more than $200,000 in sales in 2018, and projected it would reach nearly $1 million in 2019. Speaking to BusinessDen in May, he said the company did hit that mark, and that it had a 600 percent increase in sales in the first quarter of this year.
On Friday, Franco said sales revenue doubled the first couple of weeks after the episode aired before dropping. Second-quarter sales were up 500 percent from the same period last year, he said.