Company: Lixit Corporation
Address: 100 Coombs St., Napa 94559
Phone: 800-358-8254; 707-252-1622
Products: Animal care products
NAPA -- Lixit Corporation, as its name implies, is the largest small animal watering device manufacturer in the world, with a 70 percent market share in its category and revenues in excess of $10 million annually. The firm has been growing at a double-digit rate for the past couple of years, despite a five percent decline during the recession.
The company also produces feeding devices, animal care accessories, pet houses, pet exercise equipment and has a number of new product innovations in various development stages.
Lixit recently acquired and relocated Equitex, a company originally based in Petaluma, combining a number of textile products for horses shows into the firm’s total product mix.
Lixit is also a leading manufacturer in the overall U.S. pet products industry, estimated to generate total consumer expenditures of $52.8 billion annually, according to the 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
[caption id="attachment_57766" align="alignleft" width="284" caption="Linda Parks (left), president and CEO of Lixit Corporation, Elizabeth Dennis, inventory and purchasing manager and Joy Wood, production manager"][/caption]
The firm is unique in several other ways. President and CEO Linda Parks heads this business recognized by National Women’s Business Enterprise Certification as a woman owned, operated and controlled enterprise.
Ms. Parks came to the firm in 1971 when she answered a newspaper want ad for a buyer to source products for Lixit (a facet of the business that she continues to enjoy). She was named President and CEO in 1994.
The Napa Chamber of Commerce honored Lixit in 2009 as the Family Friendly Business of the Year because of the firm’s flexible policies that make it easy for employees to enjoy family time.
The firm has a playroom for employee children, two covered and well-landscaped outdoor dining and break areas, and a pet-friendly environment where dogs and cats are welcome – one cat lives in the factory 24/7. There is even a crib in the CFO’s office to care for an infant while on the job.
Lixit numbers approximately 900 SKU’s in its product line marketed under 32 brands, including the largest pet franchise chains, the nation’s leading retailers as well as mom and pop pet shops. The company is planning to move its products into mainstream outlets, such as drug store chains, in the near future.
The firm’s market is 97 percent U.S.-based, and despite many offers, company management and shareholders for this employee-owned firm have consistently resisted manufacturing and assembling its products offshore – as well as fending off buyout and merger offers over the years.
[caption id="attachment_57767" align="alignright" width="405" caption="Linda Parks, president and CEO of Lixit Corp., and assembler Chase Toboni hold the reversible-base feeding and watering dish for poultry designed by the company."][/caption]
“Lixit was founded in the garage of geologist, Dr. Frank Achley, back in 1968,” said Ms. Parks. “A year later the ball-point tube watering system for animals was introduced and the firm really took off.”
Dr. Achley retired in 1994 and his employees purchased Lixit through an Employee Stock Ownership Trust Fund.
“Our goal is to ensure that Lixit has a happy and homey atmosphere while maintaining a 24-hour on-time order-to- shipping schedule to satisfy our customers. Everyone here loves being able to live and work close to home. We have no intention of moving.”