Le Corbusier hated city streets. In the middle of the 20th century this influential French architect led his peers in a zealous critical assault on intimate clusters of small-scale urban buildings. Give us towers! cried the modernists. Give us freeways! The Inner City 100 issue gives you streets. In a unique collaboration with Harvard professor Michael E. Porter's nonprofit group, Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, we present the 100 fastest-growing businesses in America's urban cores and highlight the methods used to build them. Because of their locations, the companies honored here sometimes find life a little more challenging than many other businesses do. But that has only made them more creative. On the flip side, the CEOs who grew up in these inner-city neighborhoods often find their success -- and their consequent ability to give back to their communities -- more than usually gratifying. Great companies are born in garages and office parks and basements and incubators. And thanks to factors ranging from diverse workforces to innovative investment programs, more and more are born on city streets. Here is a list of the second annual Inner City 100. Our special Inner City 100 area has details on all the companies on the list. -Leigh Buchanan

The Second Annual Inner City 100

  1. Caribbean Shipping & Cold Storage
  2. Shore.Net
  3. Tucker Technology
  4. Construct Two Group
  5. NuStyle Development
  6. Classic Sport
  7. Thermagon
  8. Integrated Packaging
  9. Wellington/CPM
  10. Bills Khakis
  11. Pac-Van
  12. Roasterie
  13. TCG
  14. Roundhouse
  15. Plitt
  16. Axxis
  17. Candy Bouquet International
  18. Cambria Environmental Technology
  19. Fast Track Litigation Support
  20. Hamel Group
  21. MedVenture Technology
  22. Warren Associates
  23. Ameriscan Designs
  24. Give Something Back
  25. VA Construction
  26. Lone Star Direct
  27. Envios, R.D./Pronto Envios
  28. Triad Manufacturing
  29. Harvest Valley
  30. Belkin Components
  31. Wagner's Meats
  32. Bilt-Rite Construction
  33. iQuantic
  34. Cleveland Medical Devices
  35. Contract Furnishings
  36. Janitron
  37. Jade Systems
  38. Little Earth Productions
  39. Integrity Distribution
  40. Central Auto & Transport
  41. Insight Product Development
  42. Innovative Display & Design
  43. City Theatrical
  44. Sophisticated Systems
  45. Goose Island Brewing
  46. Roses Southwest Papers
  47. Seibert Powder Coatings
  48. Interface Data Systems
  49. Marion Scott Real Estate
  50. Allegheny Child Care Academy
  51. Sterrett Dymond Stewart Advertising
  52. Rysar Properties
  53. Alegre Construction Specialists
  54. Oneida Sales & Service
  55. Crystal Window & Door Systems
  56. Fischer Group
  57. Complete Payroll Management
  58. Calvert Plumbing & Heating
  59. Reprographics Northwest
  60. Pro-Terra Environmental Contracting
  61. Talbot & Associates Consulting Engineers
  62. G-Katmar
  63. On-Target Supplies & Logistics
  64. Mid-South Sales Group
  65. Lifestyle Street Gear
  66. NTI Global
  67. Color Reflections
  68. S & S Promotions
  69. ColorMatrix
  70. Lori Bonn Jewelry
  71. Gateway Security
  72. Quality Laser Services
  73. Arizona Office Equipment
  74. Intech Construction
  75. Zycron Computer Services
  76. CB Richard Ellis
  77. EDTEC
  78. Archives Management
  79. Hereford House
  80. AAA Business Supplies
  81. T3 (The Think Tank)
  82. Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell
  83. A-1 Fire Equipment
  84. Tracey/Soltrace
  85. Neil Kelly
  86. Ocho Rios
  87. Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution
  88. St. Louis Pre-Sort
  89. ECI
  90. Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse
  91. Jen-Cyn Enterprises
  92. Stripmatic Products
  93. PlastiComm Telecommunications
  94. Star Hardware
  95. Keystone Travel/American Express Travel
  96. Davies Office Refurbishing
  97. Convention & Party Decorators
  98. Titan Tube Fabricators
  99. August Packaging
  100. Leasa Industries

Our special Inner City 100 area has details on all the companies on the list.


Finding the Inner City 100

To qualify for this year's Inner City 100, a company had to--

  • Be an independent for-profit corporation, partnership, or proprietorship (not a subsidiary or
    division); regulated banks, utilities, and holding companies were excluded
  • Be headquartered or have at least 51% of its physical operations in "distressed" urban (inner-city) areas
  • Have had 10 or more employees in 1998
  • Have a five-year operating-sales history that included at least six months of revenues in 1994, an increase in 1998 sales over 1997 sales, and 1998 sales of at least $1 million

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) used several methods to verify that companies met those criteria. In general, ICIC excluded central business districts from its definition of inner city. ICIC evaluated the economic status of each company's location by using the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) Geocoding system, which uses census forms to provide economic data. In some cases, local sources supplied additional data that was used to assess a company's inner-city status. ICIC staff and partners also visited most of the top 115 Inner City 100 candidates.

In addition, applicants completed a detailed 12-page survey. They also submitted relevant parts of signed tax forms or financial statements (audits or reviews) prepared by an outside auditor or accountant for 1994, 1997, and 1998. That information formed the basis of a financial due-diligence process conducted by ICIC with the advice and assistance of PricewaterhouseCoopers, ICIC's pro bono adviser to the project. Of course, responsibility for the accuracy of the assessment belongs solely to ICIC. -Stephen Adams, manager, Inner City 100

Special thanks to the PricewaterhouseCoopers team of Jay Mattie, Mieka Driscoll, Matthew Caraco, Shawna Currier, and Susan Christie; and the Inner City 100 team of Rob Devaney, Molly Haskell, Shanika Walker, Deirdre Coyle, and Zoe Cohen.

Please e-mail your comments to editors@inc.com.