Austin-based Wondercide relocates HQ to Round Rock amid swift growth

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May 21st, 2024

Company plans to add employees in bigger office, manufacturing facility

An Austin-based company that makes natural products for pets, which rose to prominence nearly a decade ago after an appearance on the television show “Shark Tank,” has moved its headquarters to Round Rock.

Wondercide LLC announced on May 20 that it relocated its operations and 62 employees late last month to a 62,000-square-foot office, manufacturing and fulfillment facility at the Settlers Grove industrial park at 2200 Chisholm Trail Road. In doing so, it has tripled its office space and quadrupled its manufacturing capacity compared to its previous headquarters at 3106 Longhorn Blvd., and the company plans to hire more people.

“We are thrilled to be part of the vibrant Round Rock community in the greater Austin metro area for many reasons,” Wondercide President Brad Locke said in a statement. “This growing city has an influx of talented people and ideas. There’s a friendly, inclusive, and creative culture combined with natural beauty, parks, and many other opportunities for outdoor recreation. It has all the elements of a great place to live and work.”

The HQ move marks a notable milestone amid continued growth for the company. Wondercide was founded in 2009 by Stephanie Boone after her dog, Luna, became gravely sick after the use of conventional tick-and-flea products, prompting her to create a line of plant-based pest control products to offer alternatives for pets, families, homes and yards. The business received a major boost in 2016 when “Shark Tank” investor Lori Greiner pledged a $500,000 investment in the company, although Boone later said Wondercide walked away from the deal.

In an interview, Locke said it was that appearance on Shark Tank that drove visibility among millions of households and allowed them to continue the company’s upward growth. The team has moved into new spaces each time it’s outgrown its footprint — that’s been the case since Boone began making products in her garage in Houston in 2009, followed by a move to Austin in 2011 when she sold the product at local farmers markets, to Wondercide’s recent homes in North Austin.

Locke said it was that philosophy that was the impetus for the move to Round Rock. While he couldn’t provide specific revenue numbers, he said Wondercide has experienced year-over-year double-digit growth since its inception. That’s included a notable spike over the last five years due to the coronavirus pandemic when more people adopted pets and e-commerce surged.

“(Wondercide) was really well positioned before” the pandemic, Locke said. “It’s allowed kind of the brand to continue to drive awareness among more and more households.”

Wondercide’s products are available on its website as well as through Inc. and Chewy Inc. Beginning this year, products can also be found in select retailers such as PetSmart Inc. and Pet Supplies Plus.

Locke labeled the facility and the move as the company’s biggest challenge. All three facets of the company — production, facility and office — were reaching their limits to the point where they didn’t have enough space to store product or enough places for employees to sit. Plus, the company never considered moving from the Austin area, where demand continues to outpace supply.

He added that it was difficult finding a location that wouldn’t inconvenience employees who live all over the metro and a building that wasn’t too big or too small. The space also needed the right infrastructure and would allow them to design and build it out. Company officials looked near The Domain in North Austin, as well as other locations north and east of the city. Ultimately, the company chose to move to Round Rock because of the site’s access to highways — which was important because of the company’s wealth of outbound trucks — as well as the housing and entertainment options for employees.

The team settled on the $38 million, 631,000-square-foot Settlers Grove that was developed by Blackstone Inc.’s Link Logistics Real Estate LLC. Wondercide’s facility was “designed with wellness and environmental considerations in mind,” according to the announcement, and includes amenities like a white noise system and a wellness and nursing room. Dogs are allowed in the office. It also has designated a “Luna’s Lounge,” which is a large space designed for company-wide huddles, in honor of its canine inspiration.

Wondercide also plans to add employees, although company officials said they don’t have a target number in mind. The company’s website currently lists a number of job openings for positions such as controller, accountant, production leader and seasonal fulfillment.

Locke added that the other big challenge was moving at the current time of year, which is the busiest for the company. But they were able to do it in a week and only missed one day of fulfillment.

“Pest is a seasonal category. Bugs like it when it gets warm out, as you can tell when you go home each night and look at what’s around your lights. This is a very difficult time of year because the orders really start to ramp up, so it’s a challenging time to move your physical production and that happened,” Locke said.

Locke said the new space allows them enough growth runway to innovate, make new products and add staff to support for the business for “quite a while.” They’ll do so without Boone, who left the company last year to pursue other interests like philanthropy.

Wondercide is the latest company to move to Round Rock, which is Austin’s largest suburb. Round Rock is home to high-tech companies like Dell Technologies Inc. and Emerson Automation Solutions. Other companies that have recently set up shop in the city include Flex Ltd., Inc. and Samsung suppliers iMarket Korea and MSS International.

“We are honored Wondercide has chosen Round Rock for their new facility, and we eagerly anticipate the positive impact they will bring to our thriving business ecosystem,” said Round Rock Chamber President and CEO Jordan Robinson in a statement.

Ed Latson, CEO of Opportunity Austin, added that the expansion “underscores the region’s economic vitality with Wondercide’s growth and excellent employee environment.”

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