Joe Polo's hot sauces, salsas, and mixers can be found on the shelves of upscale specialty food markets and grocery stores. Thanks in part to prize money he won in a contest for entrepreneurs that was sponsored by Visa, Polo recently moved Original Juan into a 60,000-square-foot facility in an area once known for strip joints.
32. Integrated Management Services
761% 8.5 million 46
This civil-engineering and consulting firm focuses on inner city projects in the South: road design, water-systems improvement, and bridge-building. It's also building bridges within the community: The company runs a center that tutors 250 teens in math and science. In the six years the center has been open, 85% of its graduates have gone on to college.
33. Oakleaf Waste Management
745% 165.8 million 235
East Hartford, Conn.
Oakleaf thinks big, hauling trash for multilocation companies like Pier 1 Imports and the Gap. The customers get one bill, and can manage scheduling via the Internet. The company also runs equipment-leasing, facilities-management, and trash-compacting divisions.
34. Long Wave
743% 5.5 million 70
This defense contractor specializes in military communication, from submarines to satellites. CEO Phil Miller just upgraded to a 9,400-square-foot office with a view of the brand-new Triple-A ballpark that is home to the Texas Rangers affiliate.
35. Rego Realty
717% 5.4 million 45
Jose Reategui, originally from Peru, has refurbished a substantial number of buildings in Hartford, most of them residential. Some 90% of his staff is Latino. Because they come from several different nations, Reategui holds work celebrations all year long: The Colombians mark their national holiday on July 20, the Peruvians on July 28, the Mexicans on September 16, and so on.
688% 5.2 million 57
1-888-OhioComp manages medical cases for employers and injured workers throughout Ohio's 88 counties. The company is part of a family-run empire: The father of CEO Jay Lucarelli started a staffing company in 1968 and a payroll-processing business with his sons in 1999.
628% 22.2 million 125
MobilityWorks modifies and sells vans for elderly and disabled people. Last year, the company sold more than 800 vehicles through 10 retail stores in the Midwest. Akron is a great place to have a factory, says founder Bill Koeblitz, because the city's blue-collar workers "know how to use their hands to make things."
38. Environmental Demolition
620% 9.8 million 120
Environmental Demolition specializes in asbestos abatement and mold remediation, and prides itself on inventing its own tools to get the job done. Among its creations: a covered conveyor system that moves asbestos-contaminated soil from the ground into trucks without letting toxic fibers fly away.
The biggest job to date for this commercial moving company involved the transport and installation of 800 computers over one weekend for Microsoft's Silicon Valley branch. When it came to getting her company into new digs, CEO DeeDee Towery took advantage of Oakland's downtown revitalization program. Her firm was the first tenant to move into the rehabbed 1906 Tribune Tower.
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.