How top private companies are growing

Business North Carolina examines the Grant Thornton 100 to see what it takes for closely held companies to expand.
By Erin Dunn

Acquisitions/expansions
Peak 10 Inc. This Charlotte company has kept adding data centers, which it operates for small- and medium-size companies in midmarket cities. Peak will soon open its 24th and is in talks to build a 25th at an undisclosed location, CEO Dave Jones says. Companies outsourcing information technology have fueled its double-digit annual growth in revenue and net income.
VPS Convenience Store Group LLC In January, the Wilmington-based owner of the Scotchman and Village Pantry chains bought seven convenience stores in central Illinois, its third acquisition in about a year, which helped it move from sixth to fourth in the ranking. It now operates more than 420 stores in the South, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

Reinvesting/rebranding
Belk Inc. The Charlotte-based retailer and largest company on the list, with revenue of $3.7 billion its last fiscal year, is in the midst of a $600 million effort to rebrand and remodel its department stores.
Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co. The Raleigh-based operator of more than 80 hotels invested $18.5 million renovating more than a quarter of them last year and more than $6 million converting a 32,000-square-foot building into its new headquarters. Concord, which made its debut on the list this year at No. 19, spent $7 million in the first quarter of 2012 on renovations.

New products
Bandwidth.com Inc. The fast-growing Cary communications-technology company is moving this fall to N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus to take over Raleigh-based software maker Red Hat Inc.’s former headquarters. One of its most-anticipated products is a phone that lets users make calls over a Wi-Fi network. It’s in the testing phase.
S&D Coffee Inc. The Concord coffee roaster and distributor is adding more lines of tea to its product mix and is searching for a site for a new production and distribution operation.

New partners
AmWINS Group Inc. The Charlotte-based wholesale insurance distributor teamed up this year with New York-based private-equity group New Mountain Capital for a $1.3 billion recapitalization so AmWINS can grow organically and through acquisitions. In September, the company announced it would purchase Stevens Point, Wis.-based Special Markets Insurance Consultants Inc., which underwrites insurance for schools, youth groups and sports associations.

 

 

Download a full ranking of North Carolina's top 100 private companies here.

See how Epic Games Inc. became the NC100 largest's gainer in 2012.