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Inc. The Handbook of the American Entrepreneur

Inc. Magazine Reveals Its 25th Annual List of America’s 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Visual Apex, Inc of Bainbridge Island, WA Ranks No. 389 on the 2006 Inc. 500 With Three-Year Sales Growth of 370%

New York, August 23, 2006 – Inc. magazine today announced its 25th annual Inc. 500 ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the country. Visual Apex, an industry leader in the sale of plasma displays and projection systems, ranks No. 389 on the list, with three-year growth of 370 percent.

Since its inception in 2001 Visual Apex has distinguished itself in the display products industry by providing expert advice, on-time delivery, outstanding technical support and competitive pricing. Visual Apex’s elevated level of customer service is more consistent with upscale retail than today’s Internet-based businesses. As such, they enjoy a loyal base of repeat customers in numerous market sectors including home theater corporate, education, government, and home theater and have gained a strong industry foothold resulting from their subsequent referrals. Web-based and Web savvy, Visual Apex’s rapid ascension in the industry represents pure strategy combined with raw talent.

The 2006 Inc. 500, as revealed in the September issue of Inc., reported the most robust bunch of companies the magazine has ever compiled, with aggregate revenue of $19.7 billion, up from $16.5 billion last year and $12.9 billion in 2000. The two largest companies on this year’s Inc. 500 are the biggest ever to make the list – No. 170 Western Refining ($3.4 billion in revenue) and No. 376 Newegg.com ($1.26 billion) – and the third and fourth companies in Inc. 500 history to crack the billion-dollar mark. In all, 14 companies topped $200 million in annual revenue, compared with 11 last year.

Most important, the 2006 Inc. 500 companies were engines of job growth, having created more than 90,000 jobs since those companies were founded.

This year’s list is the first to include businesses that started up immediately before and after September 11, 2001 – including the No. 1 company and 20 companies in the top 50 – as well as many companies that had to raise capital after the dot-com bubble burst. In total, 104 companies listed on this year’s Inc. 500 were started after 2000.

"If you want to find out which companies are going to change the world, look at the Inc. 500," said Inc. Editor Jane Berentson. "These are the most innovative, dynamic, fast-growth companies in the nation, the ones coming up with solutions to some of our most intractable ills, creating systems that let us conduct business faster and easier, and manufacturing products we soon discover we can’t live without. The Inc. 500 list is Inc. magazine’s tribute to American business ingenuity and ambition."

Hottest Regions for Fastest-Growing Companies

Federal spending again propels a large number of companies from Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland onto the Inc. 500.

Washington, D.C., is the top metropolitan area for the fourth consecutive year, with 43 of the fastest-growing companies, an increase of one over last year. New York City is a close second and the biggest gainer, adding 17 companies for a total of 42 companies this year, followed by Los Angeles with 25 (down seven companies from last year), Boston with 24 (down three companies), and Atlanta with 20 (no change).

California is the state with the most Inc. 500 companies – 66 (down from 77 last year). Virginia and New York both are home to 34 of the fastest-growing companies, followed by Texas (32) and Massachusetts (28).

The Immigration Debate

At least 55 of this year’s Inc. 500 CEOs were born outside the U.S., coming from countries as far-flung as Argentina, the United Kingdom, India, Russia, Pakistan, and the Philippines. The companies they run employ more than 14,300 workers and contributed more than $1.36 billion to the economy last year. Other countries may offer cheaper business costs (India, China) or more incentives for entrepreneurs (Ireland, Taiwan), but America still retains its land-of-opportunity glow for these CEOs.

Hottest Industries for Fastest-Growing Businesses

The largest business category among this year’s Inc. 500 is IT Services, with 68 companies in this category. Health (36 companies), Retail (35 companies), Real Estate (30 companies), and Human Resources (29 companies) round out the top industries ranked on the 2006 Inc. 500.

Top 10 Inc. 500 Companies of 2006:





Year Founded

3-Year Revenue Growth

2005 Revenue

No. 1

Litle & Co.

Lowell, Mass.

Financial Services



$34.8 million

No. 2

Airborne Health

Bonita Springs, Fla.

Consumer Products



$151.6 million

No. 3

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters

Charleston, S.C.

Consumer Products



$83.6 million

No. 4

Edible Arrangements International

Hamden, Conn.

Food & Beverage



$45.6 million

No. 5


Cherry Hill, N.J.




$27.1 million

No. 6

United Bank Card

Hampton, N.J.

Financial Services



$53.4 million

No. 7

Method Products

San Francisco

Consumer Products



$33.5 million

No. 8


San Francisco




$199 million

No. 9

Ancillary Care Management

Los Angeles




$232.6 million

No. 10






$215.9 million

Top 10 Inc. 500 Companies Ranked by Revenue:






No. 170

Western Refining

El Paso

$3.4 billion


No. 376


City of Industry, Calif.

$1.26 billion

Computers & Electronics

No. 446

Schaller Anderson


$505.3 million


No. 370


Stanford, Conn.

$308 million


No. 477


New York City

$308 million


No. 164

Century Gaming

Missoula, Mont.

$279.9 million

Business Services

No. 79


Las Vegas

$251.6 million


No. 9

Ancillary Care Management

Los Angeles

$232.6 million


No. 27

C&B Services

Port Neches, Texas

$225.2 million

Environmental Services

No. 256


San Jose, Calif.

$219.6 million



The 2006 Inc. 500 list measures revenue growth from 2002 through 2005. To qualify, companies had to be U.S.-based, privately held independent – not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies – as of December 31, 2005, and have, and have at least $600,000 in net sales in the base year.

Visit http://www.inc.com to dig deeper into this year’s Inc. 500 rankings

To celebrate the 25th annual Inc. 500 list, Inc.com has assembled an exclusive lineup of interactive resources that includes:

  • Interactive maps allowing for quick insight into regional and industry trends
  • A timeline of world events and pop culture trends that shaped the past 25 years that explains how the Inc. 500 corresponds to and is reflected by those events
  • Slide shows of the top companies and most innovative products from the Inc. 500 class of 2006
  • A quiz that includes interesting facts such as which former Inc. 500 CEO won a World Series ring.

Inc., http://www.inc.com, the only major business magazine dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, delivers real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. It provides hands-on tools and market-tested strategies for managing people, finances, sales, marketing, and technology. Inc., a Mansueto Ventures LLC publication, inspires and informs, with cutting-edge coverage that reflects our readers’ energy, brashness, and imagination.