Company Builders

Survived a Rocky Century
Will your company last? Graniterock celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. The company is a lot bigger than when it started, and its third-generation leadership has learned a lot about dealing with change.
Putting Meals on Wheels (and Rails and Water)
From a 120-square-foot office to a shipping giant, Paul Robbins has built the fastest-growing company in America's inner cities.
Wowing Warren Buffett
What does it take to get the nation's preeminent investor to buy you out? For two brothers running a furniture chain, it took breaking the rules and having fun.
Life on Nantucket with the Juice Boys
Tom First and Tom Scott expanded Nantucket Nectars by listening carefully to their critics.
Creating an E-Consulting Giant
Bob Gett, fueled by his understanding of what made him want to quit consulting, has built Viant by pushing his employees to acquire new skills.

Starting from Nothing

Making Every Dollar Count
Edy Bedoya fights hard for every dollar he makes for his $13 million computer hardware business. It's that spirit that helped an immigrant go from cleaning bathrooms to the CEO's office.
Building a Mutual Fund Giant
The founder of American Century Cos. describes how he started the company, brought in outside investors, and ended up (40 years later) with hundreds of millions of dollars.
Unsentimental Journey
Hadi Mahmoodi has earned his Mercedes and his fancy house. He arrived here from Iran with nothing, and built a thriving distributorship.

Inc. 500 Stars

Here are some of the stories behind companies that have soared into Inc. magazine's annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

The Hall of Fame
These are the companies that started small but have grown to be household names: Microsoft, Oracle, Timberland, Fresh Samantha.
The People Business
Roth Staffing, the #1 company on the 1999 list, achieved its staggering growth by sticking to a simple growth strategy: Find out what customers want and give it to them in spades.
The Marketeer
John Streep calls himself a "dumb salesman." But he was smart enough to see opportunity in the breakup of AT&T's long-distance monopoly.
Sonic Boom
The #1 Inc. 500 company in 1997 transformed a toothbrush into the mouth that roared. It managed to make its good idea stick through a sense of mission and a focus on basics, fostered by cofounder David Giuliani.
Touchy Subject
A weird idea and a "if you build it, they will come" attitude took SensAble Technologies to #211 in 1999.