No. 1 in Food and Beverage

Signature Foods
2,023.7% Three-Year Growth
Revenue: $28 Million
Employees: 155
CEO: Chuck McAtee
Founded: 2004
Overall RANK: No. 127
Pendergrass, Ga.

As vice president of business development for ConAgra, Chuck McAtee was constantly turning down opportunities that didn't make sense for a company of that size. So in 2004, McAtee and a partner, Tom Southworth, another ConAgra veteran, ventured out on their own to take advantage of the requests for co-packing (packaging frozen food for a smaller, third-party manufacturer) that ConAgra wasn't nimble enough to accommodate. They ran Signature Foods lean. Instead of buying costly capital equipment, they hired manual workers from Georgia's expanding labor pool, which made it easier to switch among projects without shutting down the line. In 2006, McAtee and Southworth decided to sell under their own brand, leveraging retail relationships they had built at ConAgra. The Signature Foods label now accounts for 75 percent of revenue.