John Arrix of Wilton is expecting to score big with a recent acquisition.
Arrix, a marketing professional with 25 years of experience, has partnered with George West, a Wall Street financier from New Jersey, to buy Lax.com, an e-commerce Web site for the sale of lacrosse equipment.
Arrix said his goal is to use marketing expertise to increase Lax.com’s Web site sales, which, he said, already command 40 percent of the $100 million industry’s annual e-commerce market of $10 million.
“One of the things that intrigued me about Lax.com was its e-commerce play,” said Arrix, who attributes the activity to the sport’s growth in popularity. “Lacrosse has been very strong in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, but now it’s growing big time in the larger states, such as Florida, Texas and California.”
Arrix’s career in marketing began in 1985 when he joined Capital Sports, a Stamford-based marketing firm founded by his father, Robert Arrix. John Arrix in 1996 became president of Capital Sports, which he sold in 1999 to Kaleidoscope Sports and Entertainment. He left Kaleidoscope a few years later as its senior vice president to start another marketing firm, Arrix Sports.
Lax.com, which was founded in 2000, by 2006 had closed its five brick-and-mortar stores, including one in Greenwich, to avoid space rental costs during the sport’s slow retail season from July through October, Arrix said.
“What became apparent was the profit was with the e-commerce side,” he said, adding that the company’s year-over-year revenue has grown 10 percent from January 2009 as the economy shows signs of stability. “We see people spending again on their kids.”
Sales through Lax.com, which sells 3,500 different lacrosse products from a 23,000-square-foot warehouse in Carlstadt, N.J., where it’s headquartered, are expected to jump another 10 or 15 percent this year, Arrix said.
“That will be from the growth of the sport and being more proactive in marketing,” he said. “We hope to see long-term growth of 30 percent with the growth of the sport.”
The sport of native American origin involving the passing of a rubber ball with a netted stick is growing quickly at the high school and collegiate levels, in large part due to a strong, national, grass-roots campaign, said Leo Karl, vice president of the girl program for the New Canaan Lacrosse Association.
“Unlike some sports, it’s high level action and movement for every player,” Karl said, adding that some of the nation’s best programs are found in lower Fairfield County. “It’s a hands-on sport with running and hand-eye coordination.”
A large part of Lax.com’s marketing effort will be focused on further developing the Web site, which already shows statistics and information on high school and college lacrosse, Arrix said.
“We have significant content on our site,” he said.
Arrix said he plans this summer to move the company with seven employees, including him and West, to a location in lower Fairfield County after the lease on the New Jersey warehouse expires in June.
“We’ve started looking at spaces in Stamford and Norwalk,” he said.
To drive sales, a company Web site must be functional, interesting, easy to navigate and, lastly, advertised via traditional marketing, links on other sites and other means, said Kevin McEvoy, a marketing professor at the University of Connecticut‘s Stamford branch.
“You’ve got to get people to it,” he said. “That’s the part that people who start this business tend to forget.”