About the author: Ryan Cardarella is a freelance writer who recently moved to Rochester after spending 12 years in Milwaukee.
This series is in partnership with Ambient House Productions, a Rochester based full service video production company specializing in high quality corporate, commercial, & promotional videos.
After nearly 15 years in the software business, PayGo founder Chris Peterson has proven able to consistently adapt in a market that continues to evolve.
Formed in Buffalo, Minn., PayGo is a point-of-sale (POS) software business that has served independent brick and mortar retailers since 2002. In addition to handling POS payments and many additional services, PayGo offers businesses the ability to track and control their inventory, provides robust data on customer interactions and purchases, and integrates stores with their website via the PayGoCart feature.
Through their diverse service offerings, PayGo built up a strong customer base and grew to employ 20 team members by 2008. However, just as the company introduced a product that addressed the emerging need for cloud-based software solutions, a crippling recession that hit small businesses particularly hard during that period knocked PayGo on its heels.
“Things happen in business and you just need to find a way to persevere,” Peterson said.
He responded by downsizing, as many of his clients were forced to close, and eventually relocated the PayGo office to Rochester, a move that has reinvigorated the organization.
After operating remotely for a time, PayGo joined downtown Rochester’s Collider Coworking space in November 2016, a move that appealed to Peterson as his company was once again ready to grow. Peterson has spent much of the last year updating PayGo’s cloud-based software and exploring additional IT services as the company continues to add staff and expand the breadth of their offerings.
“The flexibility of the space was appealing. It has everything we need,” Peterson said. “We feel like a startup again.”
Collider is an entrepreneurial hub that allows occupants to work, learn, and collaborate in a dynamic office setting. The open workspace includes desk and conference room areas, quiet rooms, and perhaps most importantly, a collaborative environment comprised of innovative, like-minded people that are helping to fuel entrepreneurial growth in Rochester.
“Operating out of Buffalo began to feel a bit isolating and there’s more programming in more relevant areas here,” Peterson said. “It’s been great to be around so many other like-minded people who are experiencing some of the same challenges.”
PayGo currently services a wide variety of clients, primarily independent retailers and owners of boutiques, arts and crafts stores, and consignment shops, which includes companies such as Happy Sleeper, Nina, Everyday Wines, and many more.
Looking ahead, Peterson is focused on developing a mobile app, increasing their customer base and providing additional value to that base, and continuing to improve the customer experience for the small businesses they serve.
“The industry continues to shift and we are exploring new ways for our software to appeal to and improve the customer experience,” he said.