Chico Internet success sold

Improvement Direct, started in 2000 by two Chico State grad students who got the idea they could sell faucets online and now have more than 100 employees selling a wide variety of home improvement products, has announced it’s been purchased by the British firm Wolseley.

As the CN&R noted in a Feb. 22 profile (“DIY Webmaster”) of co-founder Chris Friedland (pictured), the company, which has a custom-made facility at the Chico airport, did $55 million in business in 2006, and Friedland expected it to grow to $90 million this year.

Friedland said then that he had every expectation of competing directly with Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Wolseley is a Fortune 500 company and global distributor of plumbing supplies, heating and cooling equipment, appliances and more. It will now handle Improvement Direct’s distribution efforts, allowing the local firm to focus on Internet sales. Friedland will stay on as head of local operations. No purchase figure was given.