The Inner City 100

People

Employment agency, staff thyself. That's the challenge for Team 2000 Staffing Services (#62), which on an average day deploys 400 to 600 workers in distribution centers and light manufacturing companies around Columbus, Ohio. Faced with formidable competition and a local unemployment rate hovering below 3%, CEO Keith Stevens decided the best way to find workers was to make like Mohammed and go to the mountain. In a Winnebago.

Stevens bought his Winnebago for $4,000 from the Columbus school board, which had been using it as a mobile classroom. Having outfitted the beast with a generator, computers, and phones, the CEO bade his managers to go forth in search of able-bodied labor. "We'll just pull up on the street or in a parking lot," says Stevens. "We'll give away free food or sports bottles. And we'll take applications."

Applicants for clerical jobs can take a proficiency test right in the Winnebago, using software set up on one of the computers. For jobs that don't require background checks, placement is sometimes immediate: workers climb out of the Winnebago and into a Team 2000 van parked nearby, and from there they are whisked to a job site. On a recent foray the company signed up 35 people; 20 had jobs the next day.

Stevens estimates that his RV (recruitment vehicle) reached out to about 5% of Columbus's available labor pool in 2000. The Winnebago still makes monthly scouting trips, and a Team 2000 employee drives it around town once a week "to raise our visibility," says Stevens. And risen it has: the Winnebago has become so well known that it now makes command performances. "We'll get a call from an apartment complex with a lot of low-income people," says Stevens. "They'll ask if we can drive on over and give them some of our time."


The Inner City 100

City Lights
There are a million stories in the inner cities. These are some of them.
Winnebago Take All Team 2000 Staffing Services (#62)
Visible Signs of Relief Robinwood Inc. (#29)
In the Bank Sherman Assembly Systems (#95)
The English Impatient Crystal Window & Door Systems Ltd. (#86)
Fish Fry Clearwater Fisheries (#21)
Border Fulfillment Miratek Corp. (#22)
My Customer's Customer, Myself Integrated Packaging Corp. (#75)
Take My Franchise, Please Candy Bouquet International Inc. (#37)
After-School Special GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. (#27)
All About Eaves Aztec Roofing & Sheetmetal Corp. (#58)

Comeback Markets
Most companies have taken a pass on the huge inner-city service market. Some smart CEOs are eagerly filling the void.

Who Wants to be a Milliner?
The story of this year's #1 Inner City 100 company.

The Inner City 100 Almanac
Fast facts about the Inner City 100 CEOs and their businesses.

The List
The fastest-growing private inner-city companies.


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