FatWallet jumps state line

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FatWallet founder and CEO Tim Storm accepts an open sign from Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch Friday afternoon. FatWallet moved from Rockton to Beloit on Friday.

Staff photo by Amanda Podgorny

Wisconsin, Beloit and FatWallet are all open for business.

FatWallet made the move into its new home on Grand Avenue in downtown Beloit on Friday afternoon.

The company decided about four weeks ago that it was going to move out of Illinois because the state’s new online sales tax regulation threatened its business model.

After the online sales tax legislation passed, large online retailers like Amazon and Overstock decided to cut ties with affiliates in Illinois, including FatWallet. Affiliates are businesses or individuals that refer customers to online companies and receive commissions on purchases.

Had the company stayed in Illinois and lost its ties with Amazon and Overstock, it could have lost up to 40 percent of its revenues, according to company officials.

The company was faced with the option to move to a new state, or to cut jobs and shrink its business, but FatWallet spokesperson Brent Shelton told the Daily News in mid-March the company was not willing to cut jobs.

Fast forward to late March, and things really started to come together in FatWallet’s relocation plan.

The Beloit City Council approved a one year lease for FatWallet in the old Kerry Building during a special meeting on March 25.

FatWallet is leasing 23,066 square-feet at 80 Grand Ave. and 260 square-feet at 100 E. Grand Ave. for an information technology room.

On Friday afternoon, everything fell into place. A full welcome committee of local politicians greeted FatWallet CEO and Founder Tim Storm and 54 FatWallet employees.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch came to welcome Storm, as she played an instrumental part in getting FatWallet to Beloit.

“Tim was actually the first cold call I made,” Kleefisch said.

During that call, she asked Storm if he was interested in moving his company to Wisconsin, and the rest is history.

Kleefisch presented Storm with an open sign to place in his business’s window Friday afternoon.

“It’s tremendously encouraging to see Wisconsin open for business and to see it coming to fruition right here,” she said.

State Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, was also there to welcome FatWallet to Beloit.

“I think they’re going to be a complementary fit for the city,” Loudenbeck said. “And Beloit will be a complementary fit for the company.”

Storm said having the company in Beloit will help the city.

“There will be 54 people eating in the restaurants downtown and shopping in the shops,” he said.

Storm made the move fun for his employees, letting them paint their offices and supplying pizza for lunch.

FatWallet’s lease is for one year, with the option to sign for another year. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, FatWallet will pay an additional $303 a month to account for anticipated real estate taxes. Since the property is owned by the city, it was tax exempt as of Jan. 1 of this year and thus, must remain that way for the rest of 2011. FatWallet will also be responsible for its share of utility costs for the time they occupy during 2012.

The company will be fully operational by Monday. For more information about FatWallet, visit www.fatwallet.com.

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