Merch Makers Inc., a company that specializes in wholesaling licensed apparel to retailers around the world, topped a list of 28 Iowa companies that earned a spot on this year's Inc. 5000 list.


The Ames-based company, whose revenue last year grew to $2.1 million, was also among the top 500 fastest-growing companies in the United States, at No. 416 on the Inc. 500 list. Merch Makers' 2012 revenue figure represented three-year growth of more than 1,000 percent.


To qualify for inclusion on the Inc. 5000, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2009, be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit and independent as of Dec. 31, 2012. To view the complete list, click here.


Fewer Iowa companies were on this year's list than the 2012 Inc. 5000, which included 37 Iowa-based businesses. Twenty of the 28 on this year's list were also on the 2012 list.


Among other Central Iowa companies on the Inc. 5000 list are:

  • No. 3242 - Global Reach Internet Productions in Ames, with 100 percent three-year revenue growth to $2.8 million 
  • No. 3472 - QA Graphics in Ankeny, 89 percent revenue growth to $2.4 million;
  • No. 4052 - Kum & Go LC in West Des Moines, 65 percent revenue growth to $2.8 billion
  • No. 4216 - Lessing-Flynn Advertising Co. in Des Moines, 60 percent revenue growth to $4.5 million.

Despite a stagnant economic environment, the companies on the Inc. 5000 list achieved a median growth rate of 142 percent, and reported creating more than 520,000 jobs in the past three years, Inc. Editor Eric Schurenberg said in a release.


Environmental services topped the fastest-growing industries of the 5,000 companies, with 240 percent revenue growth from 2009 to 2012. Other top growth categories were energy (209 percent); real estate (180 percent); advertising/marketing (170 percent); and financial services (149 percent).