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50 top private companies in Arkansas: food product companies, grocery chains dominate list of top private firms.


In 1988, the first year Arkansas Business published a list of the Top Fifty privately held corporations in the state, the reactions to our inquiries ranged from flattered, to surprised, to mildly outraged, that we had, and were about to publish, information about private companies.

We understood - this was new terrain that no one had plowed before. We explained that our information was obtained from public sources, that the call was just a courtesy to give them a chance to correct us if we were wrong. And when some refused to confirm, we went to press with the most accurate information we could find from various sources, indicating with a (*) bullet that the information was estimated - not provided by the company. Even the ones that did not provide information on their own company admitted they eagerly read the list to see what everyone else was doing.

But we sensed a different attitude this year. Many companies are proud to be on the list, seeing it as an accomplishment, and some who were the most upset before were the most cooperative this time around - even one company representative who for two years growled, "I don't care what you publish. I don't even care if it is wrong. I'm not telling you anything."

In fact, this year the response was excellent - so good that we had to "bullet" only two companies - Stephens Inc. and Allen Canning. We don't know what happened with Allen - they've confirmed information for two years.

We'll try you next year.

And Stephens? They're so difficult to research, we're not embarrassed to bullet them. Stephens' officials were contacted, but they said gross revenues are not a meaningful figure in evaluating their operations. We wish we could see the books to decide for ouselves.

There remains one hold-out though, a company that warrants the distinction of being the most secretive and elusive. The only thing remarkable about their response this year was that they were polite when they declined.

They are Dyke Industrial of Little Rock.

Last year we listed Dyke at No. 38 with unconfirmed sales of $55 million. This year our source pegged them at $91 million. We looked at a lot of other information on them and concluded that the real figure is probably somewhere in between. We opted to leave them off the list rather than publish what seemed to us to be unreliable.

We can tell you that they are located in Little Rock, employ approximately 500 people, and sell lumber, plywood and millwork in Arkansas, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas and have annual sales somewhere between $50 million and $91 million. The company is owned by James Dyke, who resides in Florida.

Another company we'll be tracking is Jungkind Photo-Graphic of Little Rock, but not because they're elusive. They just don't qualify yet. Jungkind purchased Southwestern Camera Inc. of Houston earlier this year and Robert L. Bumgardner, president, estimates that acquisition will put their sales up to $45 or $50 million for 1990, possibly enough to qualify them for our list.

There was some juggling in the top ranked positions of our Top 50 list this year because several of our top companies sold - out, and some new players joined the field.

PHOTO : TOP PRODUCER: Riceland Foods Inc., comes in at the top of our list with a No. 2 ranking. Chefway is one of the brands the company produces.
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Title Annotation:includes information on companies off the list, new to the list, oldest on the list and companies not listed
Author:Gibson, Carolyn
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:directory
Date:Jul 16, 1990
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