WEST HAVEN -- A deal with the Ogden Post Office is keeping the country's largest textbook rental company local.
CampusBookRentals.com cites several significant growth milestones, including the transfer of its burgeoning business into a new 57,000-square-foot headquarters in West Haven.
The company, started in 2007 by a Weber State University graduate student who noticed fellow students struggling to pay for their texts, now employs 83 people, up from 35 last August.
Founder Alan Martin said he expects to have 100 employees well before the busy season next fall.
"We work nearly around the clock during the college season," he said.
But he said he wouldn't employ so many local people without the understanding of the Ogden Post Office.
"Most of our customer base is back East," Martin said. "People said to move back East and things like that."
But he said he and his employees decided to stay when the Ogden Post Office created a custom flat-rate box for the company.
"Since it was a flat rate, the price was competitive," he said. "We can reach anyplace in the nation in two to three days."
The company now serves more than 5,600 college campuses nationwide. Company officials said the company has grown 200 percent since last year.
In addition, CampusBookRentals.com was recently named as one of MountainWest Capital Network's "2010 Utah Emerging Elite."
Martin said he launched CampusBookRentals.com as a pilot enterprise at Weber State University.
"Book rentals were not even heard of," he said. "They didn't even exist."
But he said his idea quickly caught on with its savings of 50 percent or more for cash-strapped students like himself.
Today, he said, 10 percent of university students rent books.
"Starting in my basement in 2007, we then moved into my garage as the demand for book rentals grew," Martin said. "In 2009, we moved into our first warehouse. We're now in our fourth space in two years."
Martin attributed CampusBookRentals.com's phenomenal growth to timing, finding a previously non-existent niche market and a talented team.
"Only a year after we formed the company, the economy became unstable, causing many working professionals to go back to school," he said. "Presenting these students with the option to rent their books and save significant money found great appeal."
He said because of companies like Netflix, the idea of renting through the Internet had become commonplace.
For the last year and a half, Martin's company has worked with campus book stores to allow students to rent their books right on campus.
"That's kind of a major focus," he said. "We're doing it in more and more institutions across America."
Martin said often students who rent books on campus don't even realize they are really renting from his company.
He said a majority of customers find the company online.
For more information on the business, visit www.campusbookrentals.com. For news, tips, and promotions, follow the company on Twitter at twitter.com/textbookrentals and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CampusBookRentals.