Largest Minority-Owned Businesses in Region Post Major Growth

Chuck Soder, Crain's

Companies in the Crain's Minority-Owned Business Directory largely bounced back in 2022 after a so-so 2021.

The 171 private companies in the full Excel directory had a total of 2,947 full-time local employees as of Jan. 1. That's up about 10% from the prior year, if you exclude companies that didn't provide Crain's with data last year. By comparison, employment fell by 0.6% through 2021.

Here's the main reason why: All of the five largest employers in the directory added local staff in 2022. In some cases, they added a lot.

Take Apex Dermatology, the second-largest employer in the directory.

The company has grown by big chunks every single year since they first submitted for the directory in 2017. Back then, Apex had 35 full-time local employees. Now it has 250, up from 165 last year, spread across 12 locations throughout Northeast Ohio. Last year, the company opened a few new locations and added a clinical trials unit, said owner Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga. Apex also hired several executives and is in the process of building a new headquarters at 2911 Cedar Road in Mayfield Heights, which is slated to open this summer.

Like Apex, Evergreen Cooperative Laundry also reported an employment increase in the range of 50%. The company, which is majority owned by Black employees, reported having 200 local full-time employees as of Jan. 1, good enough for No. 4 on the ranked list.

Another company that posted a large increase is one spot behind Evergreen at No. 5. Ullman Electric & Technologies Co., which is 51% Asian-owned, reported 157 local employees, up 20.8% from last year.

But even without the five largest employers, the other companies in the full directory still grew local employment by 3.7% through 2022. And revenue figures were up for all but two of the 26 companies that gave Crain's two years of consistent revenue data.

It's hard to say what drove the broader trend, but 12 companies left comments on our survey mentioning that their numbers changed for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full directory includes 182 organizations, including 11 nonprofits focused on minority issues. It will be published in The Book, formerly known as the Book of Lists, at the end of 2023. For now, however, the full Excel version is available exclusively to Crain's Data Members. To learn more visit CrainsCleveland.com/data.

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