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The Inner City 100

100 street-smart companies.

61. Roman Realty

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 345%
Revenue for 2003 2.9 million
Full-time employees in 2003 39

Stamford, Conn.

Frustrated by the poor treatment he received while trying to buy a home, Victor Roman started this real estate brokerage with the goal of providing fair and friendly service to Connecticut's Hispanic community. Roman counsels first-time homebuyers on everything from the importance of establishing a good credit rating to how to fill out a mortgage application.

62. Maya Viz

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 344%
Revenue for 2003 5.2 million
Full-time employees in 2003 60


Maya Viz has landed in Iraq. The United States Army's First Cavalry Division uses Maya Viz's software to maintain communication between commanders and units in the field. To implement the project, Maya Viz sent 10 staffers to Baghdad (without incident). Says owner Steven Roth: "How does it feel to come in in the morning and know what you are working on is heading to Baghdad to protect some young soldier? The sense of responsibility and excitement has changed the culture."

63. DocuVault

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 339%
Revenue for 2003 3.8 million
Full-time employees in 2003 41


Upon moving back home to Denver from Hawaii, where he worked for a file storage business, Bowen Banbury discovered that his father had a lease on two vacant floors in a downtown office building. He thought to himself: "This place is perfect for storage." Nine years later, Banbury's document and data management company houses more than a million boxes in seven offices. And if what you need is the opposite of storage, DocuVault offers high-volume shredding.

64. Educational Directories Unlimited

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 334%
Revenue for 2003 3.1 million
Full-time employees in 2003 28

Chester, Pa.

Mark Shay's company runs how-to websites aimed at students, such as The firm recently moved into a two-story high-tech building that was erected as part of a local effort to attract companies to Chester, a depressed manufacturing city. "The building is spectacular," says Shay, who has hired 15 new employees since the move. "It's so out of place amidst the crumbling row houses."

65. MetroPro Realty

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 328%
Revenue for 2003 2.3 million
Full-time employees in 2003 42


Donna Jackson and Margie Smigel established their reputation in Chicago real estate by working with developers on the city's poor South Side. These days, the partners handle listings all over the city -- from multimillion-dollar mansions to $200,000 lofts. They handle every aspect of selling a property, including appraisals, "staging" a home for an open house, and arranging financing; in some cases they even cover up-front expenses for sellers. Last year, they created a radio show, a kind of Car Talk for homeowners.

66. Extreme Pizza

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 328%
Revenue for 2003 7 million
Full-time employees in 2003 350

San Francisco

Extreme Pizza is a franchised restaurant chain with close to 30 locations in six states, mostly on the West Coast. The company offers sit-down dining, delivery, and a "take-n-bake" product line, not to mention envelope-pushing toppings like Canadian bacon and black beans. Founder Todd Parent is now considering adding a wholesale division.

67. High End Products

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 328%
Revenue for 2003 2.7 million
Full-time employees in 2003 44

Santa Ana, Calif.

The name conjures images of delicate china and precious jewels. Instead, High End Products sells motorcycle seats with names like Buttcrack and the Biatcha Pad, which suctions onto the back of a bike to make room for a second passenger. The seats start at about $150 and can be customized with extras such as purple flames and elaborate stitching. High End Products is one of Harley-Davidson's top new suppliers.

68. Niman Ranch

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 328%
Revenue for 2003 41.2 million
Full-time employees in 2003 153


Niman Ranch buys meat from family farms, not factories, then butchers and packages it in the Bay Area. Niman Ranch delivers the meat to restaurant chains and markets like Chipotle Mexican Grill and Whole Foods, and also to individuals. "They may not have time to make the trips out to rural family farms, but they are interested in fair trade and organic farming practices," says CEO and co-founder Mike McConnell.

69. Cynergy Data

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 327%
Revenue for 2003 13.9 million
Full-time employees in 2003 64

New York City

Cynergy Data processes an annual $1.6 billion worth of electronic financial transactions -- credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and whatever the technology brings next. Partners John Martillo and Marcelo Paladini plan to accelerate the company's growth through partnerships and acquisitions.

70. Four Hands

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 326%
Revenue for 2003 18.1 million
Full-time employees in 2003 53


Last winter Brett Hatton secured $6.8 million in financing from JPMorgan Chase for his furniture-importing company. He used the cash to stop factoring (the company now has the staff to handle receivables management in-house), hire a new CFO and COO, and open an office in Brussels.

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