Optimum provides management, technology, and outsourcing advice and services to small companies. The company's chairman and CEO, Monica Pleiman, is developing a division that will offer Spanish-language call-center support and staffing services.
23. Click Wine Group
910% 27.1 million 27
Peter Click got his start importing wines from Australia and has since expanded his list to include vintages from Spain, Chile, and Germany. Though Click sells only to wholesalers, he uses his downtown Seattle office as a tasting center for sommeliers.
24. eMarket Group
894% 4 million 45
EMarket Group builds online shops to sell merchandise for media and entertainment companies -- often for limited-time releases such as the Spider-Man films. It handles payments, shipments, and customer service. Clients include Sony, HBO, and the Professional Bowlers Association.
25. DDM Direct
878% 5.9 million 97
Religious groups that want to get the word out and the donations in often turn to Carl Falletta's company, which designs, prints, and mails all sorts of materials, including church envelopes.
26. Chesterfield Health Services
876% 9.7 million 1,200
The mother of an autistic son, Stella Ogiale founded this company to provide home care for disabled and elderly people. She's had a tough year. In February, four employees filed a lawsuit against Chesterfield, claiming they were not paid overtime properly. To counteract the bad press surrounding the lawsuit, Ogiale is increasing her focus on a company-funded nonprofit. "Doing good for the community is better than spending thousands of dollars on a marketing campaign," she says.
27. Compass Environmental
854% 32.8 million 185
This company cleans up hazardous waste from contaminated sites, primarily former manufacturing facilities. One such site in New Jersey is now a golf course and resort hotel. In October, Compass acquired a competitor, Williams Environmental.
28. L.S. Brinker
837% 48.9 million 24
In 1995, Larry Brinker moved his contracting company from downtown Detroit to an abandoned factory on the city's outskirts. Today, L.S. Brinker tackles a variety of challenging renovation projects, from Ford Field Stadium to Detroit's historic Paragon Building.
29. Pangea Group
824% 30.2 million 80
Most of Pangea's contracts for environmental cleanup and construction come from the government. That means its status as an 8a firm (8a is a government program that encourages government entities to direct a percentage of contracts to minority-owned and "socially disadvantaged" businesses) is a big advantage. CEO Michael Zambrana strengthened the company's position even more last year by moving it from the suburbs to an old St. Louis bank building. Now, Pangea can qualify for another special-status category: the SBA's Historically Underutilized Business program, which steers contracts to companies that are located in inner city or very rural areas.
30. K.O.O. Construction
818% 22.9 million 36
West Sacramento, Calif.
This construction company specializes in government projects and renovation jobs. CEO Keith Odister says the firm is flourishing in part because West Sacramento's local government expedites contracts and permits.
Are Things Happening in Detroit?
Kwame Kilpatrick, the optimistic mayor of Detroit and winner of this year's ICIC Mayoral Leadership Award, believes the Motor City is becoming a hotbed of entrepreneurship, despite what others say.
2005 Inner City Almanac
Why do companies locate in the inner city? What was the average valuation of companies on the 2005 list? And what contributed most to their growth over the past five years? Discover answers to these questions and more in this collection of interesting facts and statistics about the companies that made the 2005 Inner City 100 list.
2005 Inner City 100 Hall of Fame
Three companies will appear on the Inner City 100 for the fifth time out of the seven years that the list has been in existence. Here are this year's inductees into the Inner City Hall of Fame.
2005 Inner City 100 Countdown
Inc.com counted down to this year's list by profiling several Inner City honorees in the Fresh Inc. weblog.