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Manitoba's 50 fastest growing companies.


New faces make big impact on top 10

Although the number of new faces on this, our third annual roster of Manitoba's 50 Fastest Growing Companies is down to only 18, their entrance in to the line-up can only be called dramatic. No less than six first timers found their way into this year's elite Top 10, including the top two finishers.

Heading the list of Manitoba's 50 Fastest Growing Companies is a firm that is similar to readers of Manitoba Business, as it appeared on our annual Top 100 this past summer. R.M.K. Enterprises Ltd. was founded by local entrepreneur Bob Kozminski. Under this banner, he owned a variety of operations, including Budget Rent-A-Car (in partnership with his brother-in-law Glen Cross). In 1986, he purchased the Keystone auto dealership and moved it out to Regent Avenue in Transcona. This acquisition immediately transformed his company into a $40 million enterprise and catapulted him to the top of our Fastest 50 listings with a revenue increase of some 766 percent. In addition, the company now goes under the name Keystone Ford Sales Ltd.

Our second ranking company is not quite as well known or as big as Kozminski's interests, but it is one that definitely bears watching in the future. Lo-Cost Student Painting Inc. was founded in 1978 by Winnipeg teenager Bob Sudermann. The original concept was to market painting franchises to local college students who wanted to earn extra money during the summer months. Business was so good that in 1984 he took his show on the road. he established an outlet in Minneapolis/ St. Paul and lauched the American version of the company, Paint America. Then came offices in Chicago, Milwaukee and San Francisco.

Sales in the first year operation were scant $22,00; today Sudermann's booming business generates nearly #3 million (US), and his company paints excess of 200 homes in Canada and the United States each year.

"Within five years every major city in the U.S. will have a Paint America outlet and we should be employing 10,000 students every year," says the 25-year old Sudermann, who states that Winnipeg will remain the corporate head office, despite the rapid growth south of the border.

Our four other new entrants in the Top 10 include Air Unlimited Inc., a four-year old company that sells and services a line of air compressors; Lincor Properties Ltd., one of the city's most active and visible real estate/land development companies which has two major commercial office projects on the go at the time of writing; the Rice Financial Group Inc., a company headed by local financial expert Tom Rice, which provides a variety of financial services, products and analyzes; and Dimark Marketing Services Inc., which has founded in 1984 and is active in the competitive field of direct marketing.

However, some "old faces" also make their presence felt throughout the Top 10, highlighted by two-time number one Mind Computer Products. Although knocked from the top perch to third place for the first time since the inception of the Fastest 50 two years ago, Mind continues to register an impressive growth record. During the 1985-86 fiscal year, this manufacturer and distributor of computers and computer-related products had sales of $975,000; its most recent fiscal year, which ended last May, showed revenues in excess of $6.1 million. According to president Brad Fry, all signs point to yet another banner year when final figures are tabulated in the rate spring for the 1988-89 fiscal.

Fifth place on the Fastest 50 goes to National Equipment Leasing; ninth and 10th spots are occupied by Fanfare Communications and Rescom Ventures Inc. respectively, both repeaters from last year's Top 10 as well.

Along with the impact from our newcomers on this year's rankings, the 1989 edition of Manitoba's 50 Fastest Growing Companies reflects the strength and development of companies.

This has resulted in a much higher percentage growth being required in order to be recognized as one of the province's fastest growing companies. Two years ago, on our first ranking, a 15 percent growth rate over the previous three years was good enough to make the grade. Last year, a 24 percent growth rate captured 50th place; however, this year, it took more than double this figure, a full 50 percent growth over the past three years to earn a spot on the Fastest 50 roster.

Overall, it appears the companies on our listing are growing in size and stature. While total sales for the 1989 Fastest 50 (41 companies reported their annual revenue this year) remained about level with those of last year ($8.4 billion this year versus $8.6 billion in 1987), the number of people employed by these firms increased sharply from 8,596 to 10,589. This 25 percent jump means that the average number of employees per individual company has risen from 171 last year to 212 this time around.

However, this is not to suggest that the "small guy" has been left out--on the contrary! This year's tabulation of 50 Fastest Growing Companies features 29 firms with 50 or fewer employees and 10 with sales under 2 million. In fact, the smallest entry this year, Air Unlimited, has but two employees who generated an amazing $400,000 in revenue. This represented an impressive 500 percent growth since 1986.

The diversity of the Manitoba economy also shines through when dissecting this year's edition of the Fastest 50. Each of the six industry groupings are well represented, with the manufacturing sector leading the way with 13 companies, or 26 percent of the overall total. Right behind is the service sector with 12 representatives, or 24 percent share. Financial and computer related businesses rank third with nine, or 18 percent of total.

Of the 32 returnees from last year's line-up, several showed significant movement within the ranks. making the biggest leap forward is the family-owned U & R Tax Services, which moved from 43rd place a year ago all the way to 19th this year. Next among the "fastest of the fast" is Winpak Ltd., an international packaging specialists, which moves up 23 spots from 38th to 15th; real estate magnate Sandy Shindleman has taken his company Shindico Realty Inc. from 33rd spot to 21st this year; and, Investors Group continues to show the way among the corporate giants with nine-spot climb from 19th to 10th.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Manitoba Business Ltd.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Bain, Don
Publication:Manitoba Business
Article Type:directory
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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