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TOP 100 2013: Some companies are closing in on the top 100 – and quickly

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No book is complete without a mention of what comes next.

For the Central Pennsylvania Top 100, the answer may well lie among the ranks of the companies that almost made the list this year. Some had previously made the top list, then hit a down year; others have been growing slowly for a long time and will some day cross that threshold.

And then there are companies like RLS Construction Group LLC and Hair Direct Inc., which in a single year made great gains on the goal.

RLS, based in Carroll Township, was founded in 2010 and has found quick success as a commercial contractor working primarily with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies.

This year, RLS posted a revenue increase of more than 245 percent, to $12.44 million, surging from 188 on last year's list to 113 on this year's. Robert Schopfer, president and CEO of RLS, expects the growth to continue.

"We're going to hit over $20 million this year," Schopfer says. "Although I don't expect to double again, I expect that we'll still have significant growth through 2014, 2015."

Schopfer expects U.S. Department of Defense work to figure largely in the company's future. And he foresees an important decision coming on the size of the company.

"I don't know necessarily that I want to take the next leap up into the $50 million dollar range," Schopfer says. "As a small business, we have certain financial thresholds that we cannot exceed."

He is sure, though, of his goals for the company.

"A lot of construction companies can be good," Schopfer says. "We want to be one of the great ones."

Hair Direct, based in East Lampeter Township, was founded in 1994. Revenue growth of 15 percent, to $11.5 million, pushed it to 118 on the list, up from 124 last year.

More importantly, the company that has long sold custom-made hairpieces all over the world recently made three big changes: Adding off-the-shelf-pieces for men, adding brand-name wigs for women and opening its first international fulfillment center, in Amsterdam.

"The leading lady in our company's story right now is technology," says Brandon Andrews, Hair Direct's senior vice president of customer experience. And as for the future, he sees challenges in adjusting to the growth Hair Direct is expecting.

"In our first two decades, we focused on product and brand development … and generally just keeping the wheels on the bus," Andrews says. "From HR administration to resource allocation and project management, transitioning a small shop into a medium-size business is a turn in our company's story that we know will be just as exciting as the beginning."

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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