The housing crisis helped birth a Summit County company that is now one of the fastest-growing in the region.
Laudan Properties LLC of Twinsburg, which began in 2008 to focus on managing, maintaining, fixing up and inspecting properties, many of them in foreclosure or bank-owned properties, is the No. 1 company on the 2013 Weatherhead 100 list of Northeast Ohio’s fastest-growing companies.
Even as the housing market improves, founder and President Kevin Weidinger is anticipating double-digit sales growth over the next five years.
“We do a lot of things to keep things fresh and reinvent ourselves,” said Weidinger, whose customers includes banks, investors, property managers and government-backed mortgage lenders and holders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Laudan Properties’ sales grew 1,659 percent from 2008 to 2012 to claim the No. 1 spot on the Weatherhead list. Its sales growth beat the No. 2 company by just one percentage point. Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland has compiled the annual list since 1987.
Now operating in 15 states, Laudan Properties has diversified into everything from maintaining rental property for Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the biggest residential real estate company in Northeast Ohio, to distributing windows for a leading window manufacturer.
He hopes to get into the business soon of working with big-box stores, such as Lowe’s, to handle installation of products they sell to consumers.
Laudan Properties, headquartered in an office building on Case Parkway, has roughly 30 employees and works with a small army of more than 150 contractors in various states.
Weidinger’s inspiration to start Laudan came while working one summer with his brother, who was a contractor for a small outfit rehabbing properties that had been in foreclosure. Weidinger saw potential in applying his business and technology experience to what is known as the “mortgage field services” industry.
Laudan is a combination of the names of his daughters, Lauren and Dana.
Weidinger, a Detroit area native, owns three fastener distribution businesses, selling, he says “nuts and bolts” to a variety of industries. He was one of the founders of OEConnection LLC in Richfield, which uses the Internet to link dealerships and their parts customers, including collision shops.
OEConnection, a fast-growing company itself, is making a repeat appearance on the Weatherhead 100 list.
Coming in at No. 2 on the list is Slate Rock Safety LLC of Medina, which provides safety apparel for the oil and gas, utility, public safety and industrial markets. Its sales increased 1,658 percent from 2008 to 2012.
Slate Rock is an online seller and wholesaler of flame-resistant, occupational and safety clothing. Wearers include military personnel, firefighters, police, oil and gas industry workers and industrial personnel. Slate Rock doesn’t make the clothing; brands include such well-known names as Carhartt.
The No. 3 company on the Weatherhead list is Echo Health Inc. of Westlake, outside Cleveland, which offers technology focusing on health-care payments. Its sales growth over the five-year period was 1,573 percent.
Also among the top 10 companies on the list is LeafFilter North Inc. of Hudson, which sells and installs LeafFilter gutter covers. Its sales increased 535.36 percent in the five-year period.
“While still producing some of the world’s best manufacturers, it’s amazing to see Northeast Ohio’s economic shift to innovations in professional services, health care, technology and software,” said Robert Widing, dean of the Weatherhead School. “We are proud to be associated with firms across all sectors who are leading the way for our region.”
Weatherhead 100 companies had net sales of at least $100,000 in 2008 and more than $1 million in 2012. They had at least 16 full-time employees in 2012.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.