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List of Top Performers Showcases Region’s Vibrancy, Diversity

The region’s economy may be softening, but there is still plenty to celebrate in terms of business growth and diversity, as the Super 60 Class of 2008 reveals. The ‘Revenue’ and ‘Revenue Growth’ lists represent a wide range of business sectors, and include enterprises ranging from a Ford dealership to the Springfield YMCA.

Russell Denver acknowledged that the region’s economy — like the nation’s — has slowed somewhat in recent months, and that there is some uncertainty about the future, especially in the wake of the turmoil on Wall Street and within the financial services sector.

But the president of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield said there are many strong signs of continued vibrancy in Western Mass. As evidence, Denver, a lawyer by trade, offered up what he considers exhibit A: the collective companies on the ACCGS’s Super 60 list for 2008.

The enterprises on the ‘Total Revenue’ and ‘Revenue Growth’ lists, which range from a software maker to a local college; a car dealership to the Springfield YMCA (the nation’s second-oldest Y), were feted at the annual Super 60 luncheon, staged Oct. 24 at Chez Josef. There was much to celebrate, said Denver, noting that this year’s list features wide diversity, as seen above, several repeat winners from last year and beyond, and a number of newcomers.

All of these characteristics reflect the strength of the local economy, said Denver, who told BusinessWest that the ACCGS started this recognition program 18 years ago — it was called the ‘Fabulous 50’ in the beginning, but it’s been expanded since — to showcase the region’s strength, resiliency, and ability to continuously spawn new ventures.

“The list for 2008 shows that a number of companies are doing well — they’re thriving,” said Denver. “This area is a successful place to do business. This Super 60 list doesn’t just reflect that; it helps attract other businesses to this area.”

Some statistics help explain Denver’s bullishness on the local economy. The ‘total revenue’ winners, for example, combined to amass close to $1 billion in the past fiscal year, with average revenue for all participants exceeding $19 million and more than $32 million for the top 30. Meanwhile, in the ‘growth’ category, average growth exceeded 30% for all participants, and topped 51% for the top 30. More than four-fifths (84%) recorded growth in excess of 20%, while nearly half had growth in excess of 60%

Seven of the ‘revenue’ winners also qualified for the ‘growth’ category, while seven of the ‘growth’ winners also qualified for both lists.

A look at both categories reveals the diversity — in terms of business sector, size, and geography — that Denver spoke of, as well as good mixes of return companies and newcomers.

The ‘revenue’ category was topped by Southwick-based Whalley Computer Associates Inc., a veteran of the Super 60 competition and frequent top-five performer. Placing second was Ware-based Berkshire Blanket Inc., while Springfield College, the top finisher in ‘revenue’ in 2007, came in third.

The ‘revenue’ list also includes several companies in retail: Bassett Boat, Louis & Clark Drug, Rocky’s Hardware, and Marcotte Ford, for example, as well as technology: Rediker Software and Valley Communications; manufacturing: Univer-sal Plastics, University Products, and Astro Chemicals; service: Disability Management Services, Braman Chemical Enterprises, and even the New England Farmworkers Council; and health care: Jewish Geriatric Services and Pioneer Spine & Sports Physicians Inc.

On the ‘Revenue Growth’ side of the ledger, Springfield-based Complete Payroll Solutions topped the charts, while another Springfield company, R & R Industries, a wholesaler of scrap metal and distributor of truck and automotive parts, finished second, and East Longmeadow-based Biolitec, a maker of medical lasers and fiber-optic medical laser delivery systems, placed third.

Also appearing on the ‘growth’ category are companies with names indicating that this roster crosses a wide spectrum of business sectors: Dimauro Carpet & Tile, Haluch Water Contracting, Kleet Lumber, McHill Hose & Coupling, Parts Tool & Die, FieldEddy Insurance, Dietz & Co. Architects, and many others.

In the pages that follow, BusinessWest provides snapshots of all 60 companies. The top three finishers in each category appear in that order, with the rest of the lists running alphabetically.

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