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100 Fastest-Growing Inner City Businesses

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The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC)founded by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter in 1994, defines inner cities as core urban areas with higher unemployment and poverty rates and lower median incomes than their surrounding metropolitan statistical areas. Every year, ICIC identifies, ranks, and spotlights the 100 fastest-growing businesses located in America’s inner cities. In 2016, Companies were ranked by revenue growth over the five-year period between 2011 and 2015.

ICIC relies on a national network of nominating partners, including city offices, economic development organizations, and small business development corporations, to find many of the businesses that appear on this list. Key partners in 2016 were Staples, Chevron, JumpStart, Kaiser Permanente, New York City Department of Small Business Services, and World Business Chicago. This list was audited by the independent accounting firm Rucci, Bardaro, and Falzone, PC.

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From a high-tech commercial fishing outlet in Boston to a socially responsible apparel company in Oakland, there’s great variety in the types of businesses thriving in America’s urban centers and creating jobs where they are needed most. Here are this year's 100 fastest-growing inner city companies, as ranked by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC).

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82.

Blaisdell’s Business Products

Courtesy of Blaisdell's

As its tagline “Have a great work day” suggests, Blaisdell’s is dedicated to providing customers with an experience they won’t forget. Located in Oakland, California but servicing clients nationwide, this business products supplier has been in existence since 1950. Margee Witt joined the business in 1984 and then took the helm as CEO in 2003. She has since transformed the company from a retail office supply store to a business to business supplier powerhouse and dramatically grown the staff from four employees to 30 during her tenure. The company offers a variety of items, such as office products, break room supplies, and office furniture to business clients across the nation. Blaisdell’s prides itself on providing its customers with a great experience, speedy delivery, and a growing selection of eco-friendly business supplies.

Company Information

Five-Year Growth Rate (%) 144%
2015 Revenues ($M) $12.63
HQ Location Oakland, CA
Business Leader(s) Margee Witt
Title CEO

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