By Annie Rhoades
Few are able to say they started their own successful business before the age of 30 – not once, but twice. For alumnus Addison Edmonds (BBA 09), founder of Gunner Kennels and The Indoor ADvantage, it’s been a fun process filled with hard work and dedication.
“I never would have thought I’d have two businesses already,” Edmonds said. “But I definitely know after starting the first one, it made me realize that I always wanted to be my own boss. My passion was hunting and fishing, but I knew I wasn’t going to try to make a career out of that. Looking back it makes sense that I ended up doing something like this.”
A native of Brentwood, Edmonds graduated from Brentwood Academy in 2005 and enrolled at Ole Miss the following fall.
“I didn’t apply to any other college,” he said. “The first time I went down I fell in love with the town and everything about it. It’s just a better way of life to be in Oxford, and I’m so jealous of everybody that’s still there.”
Having an interest in being an entrepreneur like his father from an early age, Edmonds began his studies in the School of Business Administration.
“I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur like my father who started his own company 30 years ago,” Edmonds said. “I didn’t know what type of company that was going to be so I focused on business management, and it turned out to work great. We had a lot of entrepreneurial and small business classes that helped prepare me to start my first company, sell it and then start my second one.”
A member of Kappa Alpha Order, Edmonds began to form his first company, The Indoor ADvantage, during his senior year in 2009. The company specializes in advertisements placed in the restrooms of bars and restaurants.
“I knew I didn’t want to leave Oxford when I graduated,” Edmonds said. “I saw a need, and I knew there were a lot of restaurants and nightlife in Oxford. I had seen a similar type advertisement in Nashville and just came up with the idea to do that, and ran with it. I learned a ton from it including how to manage people. Oxford was a great place to get started and plugged in.”
After a successful three-year run, Edmonds sold the company in 2012. He soon got married, moved back home and began forming his next venture, Gunner Kennels.
“While I was at Ole Miss I bought a hunting dog named Gunner,” he said. “I grew up hunting and was able to hunt him most every day. The plastic dog kennel I was using was pretty much the only thing available at the time. I always felt really uneasy that he could be harmed in that kennel, because it was so flimsy. That’s when I came up with the idea while I was still in Oxford to make the best plastic dog kennel out there.”
Edmonds began ordering all of the tools and parts to make the first prototype in the summer of 2014. The company’s website went live on March 1, 2015, and orders soon came pouring in.
“It’s really starting to take off, so much so that we’ve had trouble keeping up with orders,” Edmonds said. “Dogs and hunting have always been my passion, and our goal is to make the safest plastic dog crates out there.”
While his success has been hard earned, Edmonds knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without Ole Miss and the help of several influential people along the way.
“Ole Miss really shaped me as a person,” he said. “Everything about living in Oxford and going to Ole Miss made me who I am today. Dr. Andy Mullins (PhD 92) and Larry Sparks (BAccy 84) both helped guide me with the advertising company. They were very approachable and always took time to have meetings with me to help point me in the right direction with The Indoor ADvantage, which really meant a lot to me. My father Darryl Edmonds has been a big mentor to me as well. The fact that he started his own company really helped me start my own.”
The future for Gunner Kennels looks bright as Edmonds is expanding the company’s offerings to meet growing market demand.
“We’ve had so much demand for both a larger and smaller size kennel that we’re going to be moving to all different sizes,” Edmonds said. “We’re also getting into designing different accessories and dog products all with the theme of the best you can possibly make to mimic the feeling of the kennel – the safest and best for your dog. We’re going to try to grow a major brand of premium pet products mostly targeting the gun dog or the hunting dog world, but all dogs apply.”