Just because a company's name implies that it's situated on the prairie is no reason to look for it there. Hardly immersed in amber waves of grain are Prairie City Bakery and PrairieComm (#396 and #25, respectively, on the 2000 Inc.500 list).

The bakery, which produces frozen, thaw-and-sell confections, is located in the Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills, although it may have been a tad closer to the sod when it was started, seven years ago, in nearby Libertyville. No matter the location, Prairie City CEO William Skeens says that the name captures the idea of "wheat and goodness," which, he says, is what the prairie and the company are all about.

And PrairieComm, a maker of cellular telephone chips, owes its name not to its location, in Rolling Meadows, Ill., northwest of Chicago, but to founder John Diehl's fondness for Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie School of architecture.

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