The staff over at Folsom-based e.Republic has grown by 15 percent this year, but CEO Dennis McKenna tells me that he is continuing to expand his media and research company.
"We're creating new kinds of products," McKenna said. "We think there's new ways to provide information to our readers, to tell stories and to provide job-critical information through new ways of telling stories and providing data.
"For example, we launched a thing about a year and a half ago called Governing Data, and we tell stories (online) through data. What are the stories hidden in information? Our readers are running public organizations, and they want hard data around health trends or economic trends or political trends, so we've found that to be a very quickly growing part of our site."
For the record, e.Republic employs 220 people nationwide, 150 of them in Folsom. If your company depends on government business, then you may subscribe to e.Republic's governmentnavigator.com to find the latest contracts up for bid from 50 states and 10,000 local governments and school districts.
Or, perhaps you've attended or sponsored one of the 120 to 150 summits, conferences and roundtables that this multimillion-dollar publisher organizes nationwide each year.
Local and state government employees may know e.Republic as the publisher of Governing, Government Technology, Emergency Management and Public CIO magazines. These trade publications, distributed to 225,000 individuals in print, picked up seven awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors last Friday.
McKenna said he founded the company with Robert Graves in the early 1980s with a conference and magazine that explored two pretty boring subjects, government and technology, and he never imagined it would grow so large.
His revenue comes from advertising, conference sponsors, research, governmentnavigator.com subscriptions, and custom publications for companies trying to reach government employees.
The kid finally moved out
Eight years ago, when Alex Marinov was just a freshman at Sacramento State, he set up shop as a freight broker in a spare bedroom of his parents' Elk Grove home.
He had a broker's license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, he said, and auto auctioneer Copart USA was seeking a broker to help customers arrange vehicle shipping around the region.
"They gave us the initial boost," he said, "and then from there, we grew to serve other auctions. Our competitors were charging like 25 percent, and because we were very motivated, we were a new company trying to establish ourselves in business, we came in and said, 'We're going to charge 10 percent and, on some shipments, even less.' We started by charging people a flat fee of $50."
Business grew, but there came a point in 2008 when Marinov nearly shut down. He couldn't juggle his double major of civil engineering and economics with the demands of being a business owner. He took a risk, though, and hired an employee. In December 2009, he graduated.
Marinov's RCG Logistics grossed $1.7 million last year, he said, and he projects it will bring in $2.5 million this year. He figured it was time to move out of the two bedrooms and hallway he had appropriated at his parents' home. His company moved into a business park at 9300 W. Stockton Blvd. in February.
A home away from home
Susan and Lawrence Crane moved their Party Concierge business into a 42,000-square-foot warehouse at 601 N. 10th St. in Sacramento's River District.
Still, there are days when Susan Crane wakes up and wonders, "What are we doing?!"
In August 2012, the Cranes lost their store to a five-alarm fire that started in a building that shared a common wall. On the anniversary of the fire, about 15 staffers were working on flower displays, balloon sculptures and props. A state-of-the-art robot made life-size, 3-D carvings. It was a festive atmosphere, but the Cranes still don't know when they'll be able to get to work on the building they owned near Richards Boulevard and Dos Rios Street.
"We're going to demolish the walls, but I don't know when because of the common wall that we have with the neighbor. I don't know what's happening with that building," Susan Crane said. "I don't want to tear down that common wall because when they do the cleanup, I don't want it spewing over to our area."
Look for more on the Cranes and the River District in Sunday's Business section.