The Savannah area’s economic recovery is often tracked through visitor spending, container traffic and housing starts.
A more subtle measure of growth is the number of local companies in Inc. magazine’s 5000 fastest growing private companies in America list. Five Savannah-based businesses made the 2012 list, ranging from manufacturing to retail to service sectors.
Inc. ranks the fastest growing based on three-year revenue increases. The magazine classifies those businesses that make the list as “scrappy enterprises kicking into gear when others were hunkering down for the Great Recession.” The top 500 were featured in the September issue of Inc., and the full list is available online at www.inc.com/inc5000.
“That’s great recognition for those entities as well as the community,” said Bill Hubbard, president of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is interesting the combination of good quality products and good management skills that are pervasive on the list. Those companies have great customer service skills and provide great experiences for those they serve.”
Daniel Defense topped the local companies on the list. The firearms parts manufacturer based in Bryan County posted a 190 percent growth rate over the last three years and $23 million in revenue. The company employs 128 workers and opened a new plant in Ridgeland earlier this year.
Daniel ranked 1,556 nationally.
Two local businesses have been Inc. list regulars throughout the downturn and recovery: Savannah Bee Co. and Spine & Sport. Both made the list for the fourth straight year.
Savannah Bee, the specialty foods retailer founded by Ted Dennard in 2001, claimed 116 percent growth in 2010, 2011 and 2012 while Spine & Sport, which offers physical therapy and personal training services, is up 97 percent in the last three years.
“This award is a testament to the fact that small businesses can thrive in a less than desirable economy if they deliver a high-quality service or product,” said Spine & Sport co-owner Jacques Beauchamp, who started the company in 2004 in the back room of a local gym. “We’ve had to push harder to grow, but the fact that we’ve made the list four years running speaks to the quality of our staff and the care they provide our patients.”
Parker’s convenience stores and Stage Front Presentation Systems also made the list.
Parker’s opened six new stores in 2012 and now boasts 28 locations. The business, run by local entrepreneur Greg Parker, did $212.6 million in revenue in 2012, a 72 percent growth rate, according to Inc.
Stage Front, the audio, visual and lighting design company founded by Steve Stephens more than 30 years ago, added 55 percent in revenue.
Florida-based payment processing service provider Unified Payments topped the Inc. 5000 list. Founded in 2003, the company enjoyed 23,646 percent growth in the last three years. The top Georgia company was Alpharetta-based IT provider Edge Solutions.
Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies
Five Savannah-area businesses landed on the magazine’s list of America’s most thriving privately owned companies. Visit www.inc.com/inc5000 for more information.
Nat’l rank|Company|Revenue growth (3-year period)|Revenue 2012|Employees
2201|Savannah Bee Co.|116%|$5.1M|48
2488|Spine & Sport|97%|$4.6M|97
3450|Stage Front Presentation Systems|55%|$21.7M|84
Source: Inc. magazine