From Carnegie Hall to the hills of Costa Rica, in the mountains of Oregon and along the winding American coastlines, Inc. 500 companies are busy building enterprise. We caught up with some works in progress.

When Your Ship Comes In

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Every boat needs water. But just like cars, boats also need parking spots--in some cases, big ones. Fortress Marine Construction can build a custom-designed lake dock for your recreational boat--a very good business right now, says CEO Brian Hall--as well as boatlifts and seawalls. Here, Fortress Marine worker Bob Stratton walks back toward land after tightening the bolts of a bumper he just helped install on the dock being constructed on the north side of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, for the ferry Jean Ribault--also known as the Mayport ferry--part of a $5 million transportation-renewal project. --Bill Saporito

Bright Lights, Big City

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How do you get to Carnegie Hall? You know the punch line--or you could book a trip via Artist Travel Consultants. The company works in harmony with Distinguished Concerts International New York, a concert producer that pairs qualifying amateur and professional musical groups with luminaries such as conductor Lori Loftus. Both companies were co-founded by musicians Iris Derke and Jonathan Griffith. They figured out a profitable way for less-accomplished people to experience the thrill of performing on a big stage. In June, children's choirs from around the nation came together to rehearse at Carnegie with Loftus for a concert, "Songs of Inspiration and Hope" (pictured). Look, Mom, we've made the big time. --Bill Saporito

A Better Way to Brew

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Several years ago, Michael Jones was catching up with his father-in-law, a coffee farmer in Jamaica. "I found out that he received $4 per pound for coffee that's sold for upward of $80 in Japan," he says. That shocking disparity prompted Jones, a veteran entrepreneur, to co-found Thrive Farmers in 2011. Farmers such as Franklin Garbanzo Ceciliano in Costa Rica get a greater portion of coffee sales. "It's a revenue-sharing model based on full transparency and partnership," Jones says. Thrive works with farmers in Central and South America and is eyeing Africa and Asia. It may need them. A 2014 partnership with Chick-fil-A demonstrated Thrive's ability to meet growing demand. There may be a lot more sharing to come. --Sheila Marikar

A Fighting Chance Against Fire

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Design engineer and firefighter Irene Rhodes has figured out how to save property from wildfires. Her company, Consumer Fire Products, installs a foam shooter and fire detectors at clients' homes; when flames approach, the mechanism springs into action. "We infused the foam with compressed air. That made the bubbles bigger and the foam drier so that it can actually cling to vertical siding," she says. That moist stickiness prevents embers from igniting the siding. Cost: $25,000 and up, depending on property size and location. The system is sustainable and ecofriendly, designed to protect without harm to plants, animals, or water quality. --Victoria Finkle