ROCKY MOUNTAIN DESK Corp., when it opened in 1983, collided head-on with an economic slump spawned by the failing oil-and-gas industry that sent dozens of out-of-state firms packing and put hundreds of other Colorado companies out of business for good
Now, Rocky Mountain Desk's President Bill Heringer finds himself in another recession, once again tied to the fate of other companies" decisions to open or keep closed their purse strings.
"This is the third recession we've managed the business through," says Heringer. "It's a difficult one. No doubt about that."
But Heringer senses an upturn. By virtue of the essential products he supplies businesses, he might be in a unique position to gauge one.
Rocky Mountain Desk ranks No. 73 on this year's ColoradoBiz Top 250 Private Companies list. down from a No. 52 ranking in 2002.
The rankings are based on self-reported 2002 revenues, and last year the Englewood-based distributor of office furniture saw a 49 percent drop in sales. from $22.6 million in 2001 to $11.6 million in 2002.
But so far in 2003, sales at Rocky Mountain Desk are up 33 percent.
"There's a lot of things we're so directly linked to, whether it be our industry, the cabling industry, the phone industry, brokerage firms," Heringer says.
"From a sales and marketing standpoint certainly what we're looking for is job creation, corporate migration into Colorado. and medium to large-sized companies that are doing internal moves, or they're growing."
And some Colorado firms did grow in 2002.
Of the 250 private companies listed, 157--or 63 percent--increased revenues in 2002
Some construction firms stand out. Englewood-based Haselden Construction increased revenues by 22 percent--to $140 million in 2002. Likewise. Greeley-based Hensel Phelps Construction boosted sales by 18 percent to--$1.88 billion. And on the Western Slope. Grand Junction-based FCI Constructors increased revenues 9 percent, to $150 million in 2002.
Some large, private companies decline to disclose revenues and therefore don't appear on the list. RE/MAX International. Alvarado Construction and eBags are among those that perennially decline. Still, the list provides a relatively good measure of the state's private company performance. Through its projections of revenue for the current year it also can be a good barometer of the business climate.
Like Heringer's business.
"There are sectors of the economy doing very well." he says.
"Health care is doing very well. Financial industries--brokerage houses--are starting to pick up now with the stock market and the national economy cooking up to 2 1/2 percent growth.
"We're kind of a litmus test, a barometer of what's happening here.
"Are things picking up? In my opinion they are, slowly.
"But they certainly are on the increase."
2002 2001 RANK RANK COMPANY BUSINESS DESCRIPTIONS 123 109 Broadway Moving & Moving and storage Storage Co. 124 125 Baker Interiors Inc. Floor covering contractor 124 Eckstine Electric Co. Electrical contractor 124 112 SofTec Solutions Inc. Software consulting services 124 Woody's Chicago Style Franchised concessions 128 121 Al Mar Housekeepers Inc. Staffing company, hospitality industry personnel 128 123 St. Vrain Moving & Moving and storage Storage 130 136 LT Environmental Inc. Environmental engineering, remediation and compliance 131 139 Auto-Chlor System of Commercial dishwashing Denver Inc. equipment and supplies 131 Semple Brown Design PC Architecture 133 153 Optimum Management Business and technical Systems consulting 134 155 Destra Consulting Group Management consulting LLC 135 Front Range Internet Internet solutions provider Inc. 136 122 Burkett Design Inc. Architecture/interior design 137 140 Integrity Realty Real estate 138 142 Occasions By Sandy Full-service catering 139 105 Jose Garcia Construction General contractor Inc. 140 146 JWO Farms Inc. (dba Cage-free nest-fresh-brand Colorado Natural Eggs) eggs 141 171 Burlstone Inc. General contracting, engineering, construction management 142 150 AET Environmental Inc. Environmental services 142 129 RJR Circuits Inc. Manufacturer of printed circuit boards 144 144 RME Electric Corp. Electrical contracting 145 Alumni Consulting Group IT services, technical support, consulting 146 120 Gonzales Concrete Inc. Concrete and general construction 147 117 Digatron Inc. Security 147 149 Via Travel Full-service travel agency 149 154 Martinez & Hromada Technical and administrative Associates Inc. personnel temporary services 150 Namaste Care Group Inc. Hospice and palliative care provider 151 156 Schenkein Public relations 152 152 JoaQuin Manufacturing Manufacturer of pre-fab Corp. buildings 153 146 Summit Container Corp. Manufacturer of custom corrugated products 154 143 Waterstone Environmental Environmental consulting Hydrology & Engineering Inc. 155 DocuVault LLC Records management 156 169 J.F. Options Jewelers Fine jewelry store Inc. 157 Cable Television Creative agency for cable and Services Inc. telecommunications 158 160 Imaging Sytems LLC Computer/printer supplies and equipment 159 Work Options Group Inc. Employee support programs 160 163 Showcase Billiards Specialty retail store 161 174 SpireMedie Inc. Web strategy, development, design 161 138 St. Andrews Electric Electrical contractor Corp. 163 193 Information Technology Small/midsize business IT Experts Inc. support, database development 163 Risk Removal Inc. Environmental services 163 167 Tallgrass...