Rochester, New York Transcription services
G 409.4% R $3.4 million E 24
Until voice-recognition software approaches 100 percent accuracy, we'll need transcription services--not least in the health care industry, which is the focus of Linda Yaniszewski's company. She sees a threat from outsourcing because while technology can't do transcription well, offshore workers can. ExecuScribe is countering with buffed-up internship and training programs aimed at inner city women who want to work from home.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Natural body-care products
G 406.7% R $2 million E 25
The owners of Raining Rose believe theirs is the best-smelling company in any inner city. The business makes lip balm, shampoos, soaps, and other products in more than two dozen scents ranging from apple oatmeal to vanilla toasted almond. Chuck Hammond and the late Art Christoffersen bought the business from its family owners in 2003.
Salt Lake City Networking and Internet services
G 390.6% R $30.4 million E 320
Five-time Inner City 100 company Ikano provides private-label Internet services. George Naspo joined as CEO last summer and announced his intention to move aggressively to a broadband and VoIP model, with the goal of doubling revenue in 12 months. The company also operates a Utah-based call center service--"an American voice on the line," says Naspo.
Denver Environmental cleanup and demolition
G 378.2% R $14.4 million E 150
Colorado is famous for natural beauty, but it's seen so much development lately that Environmental Demolition rarely goes beyond the state's borders to find mold, asbestos, and lead that has to go. Gene Elliott and Pat Lindsay launched the business in 1999 when the engineering company they worked for was sold. Among this year's projects: mold-prevention work on the season-finale home for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Phoenix Retail furniture
G 366.4% R $7.1 million E 17
Chuck and Denise Haney believe, contrary to conventional wisdom in their industry, that customers don't need to see a piece of furniture in a roomlike setting to picture it in their own homes. So they keep prices low by displaying their offerings in no-frills warehouse settings; shoppers are encouraged to go on a furniture safari for great finds. The business--which started as a weekend distraction for the Haneys--now has retail locations in 17 cities, most with local partners who own 49 percent of the stores.
Philadelphia Health club membership sales
G 366.2% R $8.4 million E 35
Companies want fit employees, health clubs want paying members, and John Cassady wants to satisfy both. Global Affiliates (known as GlobalFit) proposes that businesses buff benefits packages with discounted memberships at one of more than 1,600 clubs in the company's network. Cassady signed on Philadelphia's Thomas Jefferson University Hospital as customer No. 1 in 1993. Today GlobalFit has more than 1,200 corporate clients.
Seattle Home health care
G 362.2% R $12.9 million E 1,600
Some people start companies because they want independent lives for themselves. Stella Ogiale wanted independent lives for her clients. Her company delivers health services to elderly and disabled patients in their homes, allowing them to steer clear of institutions. Ogiale recently started a pilot program that helps high-functioning patients released from mental institutions reintegrate into the community.
Sun Valley, California Patio and driveway installation
G 355.8% R $5.7 million E 87
You may know Terry Morrill from his appearances on cable network HGTV. He has been a guest on programs such as Weekend Warrior and Landscaper's Challenge, where he does stuff like arrange stones for a backyard pond and waterfall. Morrill started Pacific Pavingstone with one son in 1999; his second son joined in 2001. The family later launched three related businesses: Morrill Landscape Group, California Waterscapes, and Pro Ponds West.
Denver Document storage and management
G 355.7% R $5.3 million E 62
Nine years ago, Bowen Banbury's father wanted to unload 12,000 square feet of office space in downtown Denver. Banbury took the building off his hands and started a document management firm. DocuVault has since expanded physically--it now fills 200,000 square feet of space--and into many new businesses, from shredding to scanning.
Baltimore Technology consulting
G 351.9% R $4.5 million E 47
If federal agencies are among your best clients, it pays to be near Washington, D.C. Baltimore has been economically and logistically favorable to Nigeria-born Ade Adebisi, who counts the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Navy among his customers. In 1996 the former KPMG consultant launched his company as Comptech; he recently changed the name to convey that the company's approach to technology is broader than mere computer services.
Leigh Buchanan is an editor at large for Inc. magazine. A former editor at Harvard Business Review and founding editor of WebMaster magazine, she writes regular columns on leadership and workplace culture. @LeighEBuchanan