The SBC 50

Saturday Dec 1st 2001 by SmallBusinessComputing Staff
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America's small businesses are smarter and more sophisticated than ever. From A to Z, from Maine to Washington, our annual list tells the stories of dozens of inspiring companies. Take away a few tips from this year's tech-savvy group - and then come back next year and teach us a thing or two.

(See profiles of selected SBC 50 businesses elsewhere in this month's feature stories)

Aaron Equipment Company
Employees: 85
Location: Bensenville, Ill.
Principals: Gerrold and Leslie Cohen
Business: Manufactures and sells heavy machinery for variety of applications
Tech: Sells online, new, used, and reconditioned equipment, and business acts as an online forum for people to purchase or sell used equipment.
URL: www.aaronequip.com

AC Antiques
Employees: 18
Location: Fairfield, Me.
Principals: Frank and John Crozier
Business: Antique shop
Tech: One of the largest antique furniture sellers on the eBay system, AC Antiques has been so successful it has closed its physical store.
URL: www.acantiques.com

Advertising Ventures
Employees: 20
Location: Providence, R.I.
Principal: Steve Rosa
Business: Advertising firm
Tech: Uses intranet and extranet to communicate with clients and collaborate with contractors all across the world.
URL: www.adventures.com

American Family Dental
Employees: 12
Location: Indianapolis
Principal: Dr. Brett A. Zimpfer
Business: Dental practice
Tech: Installed a new computing system to decrease its reliance on technical support and make all its computing tasks server-based, reducing the need for local storage.
URL: None

American Patriot Getaways
Employees: 5
Location: Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Principal: Bob Foster
Business: Property management firm
Tech: Web site includes features for renters and property owners. Renters can view properties, obtain pricing and other information, and book a reservation on line.
URL: www.americanpatriotgetaways.com

ArchivesOne
Employees: 90
Location: Watertown, Conn.
Principal: A.J. Wasserstein, president
Business: Records-management service
Tech: Uses scanners and bar codes to track the location and movements of client records.
URL: www.archivesmanagement.com

Aron & Associates
Employees: 3
Location: Wind Lake, Wisc.
Principal: Nick Aron
Business: Writes, illustrates, and produces technical publications
Tech: Uses personal computers for writing, illustration, graphics, and CD production.
URL: None

Arbor Snowboards
Employees: 6
Location: Santa Monica, Calif.
Principal: Bob Carlson, president
Business: Snowboard manufacturer
Tech: Uses Web site to inform customers and direct them to Arbor's dealers.
URL: www.arborsports.com

B&J Food Service Equipment
Employees: 17
Location: Kansas City, Mo.
Principal: Bill Mosburg, owner
Business: Food service equipment
Tech: B&J, whose revenues now total more than $2.5 million and have grown 200 percent in the last 5 years, recently upgraded its entire computer system to allow the introduction of bar codes to track equipment in inventory.
URL: None

Bishop's Orchard
Employees: 35 (80 in-season)
Location: Guilford, Conn.
Principals: Al, Charles, Jonathan, and Keith Bishop, co-owners
Business: Apple orchard
Tech: Created electronic farmer's market with own customer-loyalty program.
URL: www.bishopsorchards.com

Broad Street Bakery and Cafi
Employees: 70
Location: Jackson, Miss.
Principals: Dan Blumenthal and Jeff Good, co-owners
Business: Bakery and cafi
Tech: All managers (service, kitchen, and catering) have computers at work, computers at home, and some have portables connected by Air2LAN wireless broadband ISP.
URL: www.broadstbakery.com

Carolina Mudcats
Employees: 18
Location: Zebulon, N.C.
Principal: Dan O'Dowd, GM
Business: Minor-league baseball team
Tech: Technological renovation at its new stadium has improved customer tracking and increased fan interest.
URL: www.gomudcats.com

Carolyn Sechler Associates
Employees: 14
Location: Phoenix, Ariz.
Principal: Carolyn Sechler
Business: Accounting firm
Tech: Uses instant messaging, chat rooms, and other telecommuting technology to maintain a 'virtual' company.
URL: www.azcpa.com

Complete Concept Group, Inc.
Employees: 8
Location: Schaumburg, Ill.
Principal: William Bailey, VP
Business: Architectural, engineering, and aquatic design firm
Tech: Connects clients and employees through virtual design forums; uses private FTP sites to post and distribute up-to-date design information.
URL: www.ccgaec.com

Dakota Collectibles
Employees: 49
Location: Bismarck, N.D.
Principals: George and Jerry Westphal
Business: Markets embroidery patterns
Tech: Allows potential customers to browse patterns by downloading them from the Web or obtaining them on CD.
URL: www.dakotacollectibles.com

Danville Ambulance
Employees: 45
Location: Danville, Pa.
Principal: Joel Gum, executive director
Business: Ambulance service
Tech: Uses Palms to transmit patient information from ambulance to ER.
URL: www.danvilleambulance.com

Desktop Wellness
Employees: 25
Location: Solon, Ohio
Principal: Cheryl Agranovich, CEO
Business: Medical information provider
Tech: Provides customized, daily, e-mail newsletters to subscribers, and manages and tests distribution through its own systems.
URL: www.wellcorp.com

Diane Kennedy & Associates
Employees: 20 employees
Location: Phoenix, Ariz.
Principal: Diane Kennedy
Business: Accounting firm
Tech: Developed tax software that helps consumers understand the tax process and file taxes.
URL: www.dkacpa.com

Floyd Rose Guitar Company
Employees: 5
Location: Redmond, Wash.
Principal: Floyd Rose, owner
Business: Guitar manufacturer
Tech: Uses CATIA software to design guitars; Web site also has e-commerce component.
URL: www.floydrose.com

Fox Relocation Corp.
Employees: 65
Location: Boston
Principal: Gretchen Fox
Business: Relocation and facilities planning
Tech: The $8 million (annual revenues) firm uses Internet-based time tracking from Openair, through laptops and PDAs, for 60 project managers.
URL: www.foxcorp.com

FutureVision
Employees: 120
Location: Salt Lake City
Principal: Devin Cox
Business: Service bureau and claims processing
Tech: Uses MediClaim software to bring form processing on line.
URL: www.futech.com

Greene Brother's Coffee
Employees: 20
Location: Hackettstown and Sparta, N.J.
Principals: Dave and Brian Greene
Business: Coffee retailer
Tech: Sells its specially brewed blends in two retail locations and on its Web site, which also provides descriptions and histories of coffee and teas.
URL: www.mokaman.com

Greentree Financial
Employees: 12
Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Principal: Mike Burch, president
Business: Mortgage broker
Tech: Doing mortgage processing on line has cut approval time in half.
URL: None

Hanson, Marek, Bolkcom, & Greene Ltd.
Employees: 7
Location: Minneapolis
Principal: Kent Hanson, partner
Business: Law firm
Tech: Computerized case management helps the firm mount successful defense cases for corporate clients.
URL: www.hmbgLaw.com

Hearing Planet, Inc.
Employees: 11
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Principal: Doug Hudson, CEO
Business: Medical retailer
Tech: The Web makes it easy for customers to buy hearing aids and find information and other resources.
URL: www.hearingplanet.com

Holt's Cigar
Employees: 70
Location: Philadelphia
Principal: Robert Levin, CEO
Business: High-end cigars and accessories
Tech: Web site includes value points system for customers, and cigar sampling feature.
URL: www.holts.com

Horseradish Grill
Employees: 70
Location: Atlanta
Principals: Steve and Renie Alterman
Business: Restaurant chain
Tech: Online reservation tool enables the staff to track and share information on guests' preferences.
URL: www.horseradishgrill.com

Howard Printing Service
Employees: 8
Location: Kokomo, Ind.
Principal: David Howard, owner
Business: Print shop
Tech: Howard's specialty is printing for missionaries, and it has taken its modest $500,000 (revenue) business global. It takes orders via e-mail internationally, sends proofs electronically, and arranges to ship to U.S. addresses when customers are home on furlough.
URL: www.netusa1.net/~hpsprint

IMEDIA
Employees: 25
Location: Morristown, N.J.
Principal: Eddie Enriquez, CEO
Business: Marketing & publicrelations firm
Tech: Developed Virtual Marketing Center, a Web-based communications and information sharing tool.
URL: www.imedianet.com

Lehigh Valley Safety Supply
Employees: 20
Location: Allentown, Pa.
Principal: Jim Codreau, president
Business: Safety-shoe supplier
Tech: Uses Web site to sell safety equipment throughout Pennsylvania, surrounding states, and several foreign countries; online catalog provides up-to-date pricing and product info, and regular, registered customers can log into personalized service.
URL: www.safetyshoes.com

Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson, Inc.
Employees: 80
Location: New Castle, Del.
Principal: Mike Schwartz
Business: Harley-Davidson Dealer
Tech: Developed 'Mike's Famous Radio,' an in-house and online radio broadcast with 3,000 rock-and-roll songs interspersed with promo material.
URL: www.mikesfamous.com

Moore Consulting Group
Employees: 12
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Principal: Karen Moore
Business: Public relations firm
Tech: Uses extranet to collaborate with clients by posting materials for approval and review; has doubled revenue every year for past five years.
URL: www.moore-pr.com

National Abandoned PropertyProcessing Corporation
Employees: 25
Location: New York City
Principal: Bill Slade, president
Business: Works with states and consumers regarding issues about abandoned properties
Tech: Acquired MissingMoney.com, a Web site that works to assist individuals in recovering unclaimed financial assets.
URL: www.nappco-ny.com

NS&G Integrated Marketing
Employees: 44
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Principal: Lee Bussell, president
Business: Marketing firm
Tech: The company uses personal virtual-assistant service to forward calls anywhere and tracking software to help record billable hours; its employees can use their cell phones to check e-mail from behind the firewall.
URL: www.nsandg.com

Paws Inc.
Employees: 56
Location: Albany, Ind.
Principal: Jim Davis
Business: Cartoon licensing
Tech: Maintains database of licensed products, and gives access to current and potential clients.
URL: www.garfield.com

PlattForm Advertising
Employees: 66
Location: Olathe, Kan.
Principals: Michael and Tamie Platt
Business: Direct-response advertising agency
Tech: The company creates e-mail, print, and online recruiting campaigns for educational institutions.
URL: www.plattformad.com

Reliant General Insurance Services
Employees: 64
Location: San Diego
Principal: Dana Dodds, CEO
Business: Insurance services
Tech: Virtual private network allows insurance carriers, adjustors, vendors, and other partners view policy information; online imaging center organizes digitized documents; Web site allows brokers to obtain up-to-date price quotes.
URL: www.reliantgeneral.com

S. Bryan Whitaker D.D.S.
Employees: 4
Location: Fayetteville, N.C.
Principal: S. Bryan Whitaker
Business: Dental office
Tech: Uses Linux operating system on office computers.
URL: None

Sanda Communications
Employees: 19
Location: Portland, Ore.
Principal: Jerry Saveriano, CEO
Business: Marketing-communications agency
Tech: Uses technology throughout its two offices, including virtual file sharing, e-mail enabled cell phones, and video conferencing.
URL: www.sandacom.com

Senator Theater
Employees: 30
Location: Baltimore
Principal: Tom Kiefaber
Business: Movie theater
Tech: Automated ticket sales and e-mail marketing efforts represent the future for this historic movie theater.
URL: www.senator.com

Simple Gardens
Employees: 2
Location: Richmond, Vt.
Principal: Jill Martin, owner
Business: Online and mail-order gardening supplies
Tech: Creates custom Web pages for customers, allowing them to view colors or other features of products they're interested in.
URL: www.simplegardens.com

Siskind Susser Haas and Devine
Employees: 48
Location: Memphis, Tenn.
Principal: Greg Siskind, partner
Business: Law firm
Tech: One-stop shop on immigration- law information; firm also produces Palm-downloadable newsletter.
URL: www.visalaw.com

SitStay
Employees: 5
Location: Lincoln, Neb.
Principals: Kent and Darcie Krueger, owners
Business: Cool dog toys and accessories
Tech: Its online specialty boutique for dog-related items has helped the company remain profitable even in an e-commerce downturn.
URL: www.sitstay.com

Steven Zuckerman, M.D.
Employees: 5
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Principal: Steven Zuckerman
Business: Neurology practice
Tech: Uses handheld device to fill prescriptions, transmit billing codes, and check patient's insurance coverage.
URL: None

StoryPeople
Employees: 14
Location: Decorah, Iowa
Principal: Brian Andreas, founder
Business: Sells original stories, hand-crafted books, prints, sculptures, furniture, and other artwork
Tech: Created a Web site that allows employees to have quicker access and better management of information including appointments, e-mail, contacts, and to-do lists.
URL: www.storypeople.com

Sussex & Reilly
Employees: 50
Location: Chicago
Principals: Sean Conlon and Frank Parkinson
Business: Residential real estate
Tech: Agents use handhelds to coordinate scheduling and provide clients with feedback from potential buyers.
URL: www.sussexandreilly.com

Time Graphic Arts Repair Services Inc.
Employees: 17
Location: Beverly, N.J.
Principals: Brian and Sean Solomon, owners
Business: Services and sells paper-cutting equipment
Tech: Uses Web site to provide information on equipment, including quotes, images, and digital video of machines in operation.
URL: www.papercutters.com

Total Vending Services Inc.
Employees: 23
Location: Suisun, Calif.
Principals: Jamie Edmand and Gene Muzzio, owners
Business: Automatic merchandiser
Tech: Handheld computers and software allow the company to track and manage inventory information from vending machines at locations across California, including each item's popularity.
URL: www.totalvendingservices.com

TrendSource
Employees: 26
Location: San Diego
Principal: Rodney Moll
Business: 'Mystery shopping' firm
Tech: Collects, organizes, and gives clients online access to results from thousands of undercover shopping trips.
URL: www.trendsource.com

ZipCar
Employees: 17
Location: Cambridge, Mass.
Principal: Robin Chase, CEO
Business: Online car reservations
Tech: Uses wireless data services to operate a car-sharing business.
URL: www.zipcar.com


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