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December 19, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Ecomom to relaunch under ownership of Washington-based business

A Spokane, Wash., e-commerce site has bought the inventory and name of ecomom.com, a Las Vegas-based online company dissolved shortly after co-founder Jody Sherman committed suicide in January.

Josh Neblett, co-founder and CEO of Greencupboards.com, said he acquired about $1 million of ecomom’s inventory. None of ecomom’s employees went with the deal since they had already been let go by the time Neblett bought the company.

In announcing the purchase, Neblett also changed the corporate name of his company to etailz.com; ecomom and greencupboards remain but are under the etailz.com umbrella.

“We looked to ecomom as a great competitor,” Neblett said by phone. “I was as shocked and sad as anyone to watch it unravel.”

The two companies, which both cater to customers looking for eco-friendly products, started around the same time in 2008, he added. Greencupboards.com sells about 25,000 products described as environmentally friendly.

Where the two companies differed appears to be in how they grew their business.

Neblett said he started his company with a small amount of money, about $280,000, and slowly built the company without infusions of large amounts of cash from venture capitalists.

With ecomom, Sherman raised some $12 million from investors and venture capital groups, including VegasTechFund, founded by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and others.

“Sometimes when you have less, you tend to make better business decisions,” Neblett said. “You’re not able to spent a lot of money on all kinds of ideas.”

While he’s based in Washington, Neblett hopes down the road to have a presence Las Vegas.

“I really believe in what’s happening there,” he said of Las Vegas.

Greencupboards has grown into a profitable $13 million company; Neblett expects that to double in the coming year. The company also employs about 60, a number Neblett said should increase by about a third this year.

Etailz is relaunching the ecomom.com website this summer. A message on ecomom.com from Neblett says the sale was completed in March and "the team at etailz will be working hard to get ecomom back online."

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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