Thursday, November 13, 2008

Classic Instruments on list of fast-growing U.S. businesses

From the Petoskey News-Review, 11-13-08: Despite the challenges facing Michigan's economy for the past several years, examples of business growth can be found from place to place. And by one gauge, two locally based companies were among the privately held U.S. firms that grew fastest between 2004 and 2007. Wojan Window and Door in Charlevoix and Classic Instruments in Boyne City ranked on this year's Inc. 5000, a list of 5,000 privately held businesses with the strongest rates of growth. (Note: Classic also made the 2009 Inc. 5000 list.) The list is assembled by, the online arm of Inc. magazine - a publication geared toward small businesses and entrepreneurs. Classic Instruments ranked at No. 4,433 on this year's Inc. 5000. From 2004 through 2007, the company saw annual revenues increase from $1.6 million to $2.5 million - yielding growth of 57.8 percent.
Company president John McLeod said he was "shocked" when he first learned of Classic's inclusion on the list, and added that he was grateful to employees for their contributions to the success. The 31-year-old company builds instruments such as speedometers, tachometers and fuel gauges for automobiles from a variety of eras. Custom-built gauges and refurbishment of old instruments are among the offerings. Classic's Inc. 5000 profile noted that the growing number of retiring baby boomers who build hot rods are creating a niche market for this type of specialty parts manufacturer.
McLeod acquired the company in 2001 from an Oregon couple looking to retire. He moved it to the same Boyne City building as Great Lakes Motor Works, a car restoration business he has run for the past 13 years. Early on during McLeod's ownership, Classic was a one-man operation. Now it includes 22 employees, and has dealers in five countries. Given the state of the economy, McLeod expects Classic's growth will moderate somewhat in the near future. While the company president said it would be nice to move up in Inc.'s rankings, "my personal goals are just to do high-quality business with high-quality staff," he added. (Photo and story courtesy of the Petoskey News-Review). Full story.