Updated: October 23, 2019 09:20 PM
Created: October 23, 2019 09:00 PM
CLIFTON SPRINGS, N.Y. (WHEC) —Some people were born to be entrepreneurs. Matt DuBoise is one of them. In less than a decade, he's built Carolina Coops into a million-dollar business.
"I can't believe three years ago we did a million," DuBoise said. "A year after that I think we did 1.7 [million] in gross sales, and then this year we are on track to break two million."
To say DuBoise started his business from nothing is not hyperbole. He was working as an exterminator in North Carolina and decided to raise chickens. He needed a coop and built one for himself from scrap wood he collected out of a dumpster. After it was finished, he decided to see if he could sell it.
"So I put it up online," DuBoise said. "Thirty minutes later I already got a phone call and sold."
He also said at the time, he didn't know anything about building chicken coops.
What he did have was a love of chickens, fostered from a young age when his fifth grade teacher sent students home with baby chicks to care for that had been hatched in the classroom.
"I came back Monday and I was the only one who brought them back alive," DuBoise recalled. "I'll never forget that. And I remember saying at that moment, I want to have chickens when I get older."
His passion became a business. He and his partner Gnon Choi flew the coop, so to speak, and left North Carolina, returning home to Western New York.
They eventually bought a building in Clifton Springs where they now operate.
Carolina Coops builds and sells pre-fabricated and custom-designed coops. They are hand-crafted using premium materials.
There's the basic California Coop. The most popular is the American Coop. They range in cost from $1,750 to $45,000 or more for elaborate custom coops.
What DuBoise hadn't realized when he began Carolina Coops was just how trendy raising backyard chickens was becoming. He now has customers in every state.
He even has customers in other countries. Most recently, Sweden.
DuBoise says one of the things that sets his coops apart is the innovation they bring to every design.
"All our coops we build—you ready for this—they incorporate what is called a deep litter system, and you can go over a year before you have to clean that out," DuBoise said.
He has about a dozen employees. But this is still truly a family business. It's not unusual to see DuBoise and Choi's children at the shop doing their schoolwork while they tend to business.
DuBoise wears his passion on his sleeve and gets excited by the intricate craftsmanship Carolina Coops has to offer. Still, he isn't counting his chickens just yet -- and hopes to eventually mass produce his pre-fab coops.
"You have to let go of your fear and you have to be willing to open up and expose every part of you, be ready to take the shots, take the success humbly, and never forget where you've come from," DuBoise said.
If you know of a small business we should feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company