Two NWI companies make Inc. list

2013-09-24T06:30:00Z 2013-09-24T12:31:08Z Two NWI companies make Inc. listAndrea Holecek Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 24, 2013 6:30 am  • 

Two businesses from Northwest Indiana are proving that making the list of the country’s fastest growing companies is no small achievement.

Peepers Reading Glasses , a subsidiary of Michigan City-based Sammann Co., and Crown Point’s ESW Inc. are both on Inc. magazine’s 2013 500|5000, its exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies.

It’s the initial appearance for Peepers, which is listed at No. 3567. EWS Inc., at No. 2012 has been on the list for five times, making it an honor roll member.

Alec Sammann, owner of the company that sells over-the-counter reading glasses, said he’s excited and ecstatic, but not surprised by the honor.

“We’re in one of the fastest parts of the eyewear business and we’re fashion focused,” he said. “We’re coming out with products customers are excited about and responding to fashion trends.”

Peepers’ revenue has soared 58 percent in the past year, Sammann said.

The company makes 600 styles of reading glasses that are sold in 3,500 locations nationwide from gift shops to grocers to drug stores.

“There’s a ton more room for expansion and we’re coming up with more styles for different markets,” Sammann said. “We’re definitely going in the right direction.”

Larry Caldwell, ESW Inc.’s owner and president, said his company’s “ability to succeed and prosper has been based on a lot of good work by a lot of good people.”

ESW supplies customized training programs and engineering services for Fortune 500 companies in the refining, steel, energy, pharmaceutical, health care and manufacturing industries as well as for federal agencies and the U.S. military.

The 26-year-old company has a three-year growth rate of 186 percent and is ranked No. 29 out of 100 education companies and No. 36 out of 100 companies in Indiana. Its first appearance on Inc. magazine’s list was in 1992 when it ranked No. 302. The magazine listed it No. 2125 in 2008, No. 2005 in 2009 and No. 2461 in 2012.

“Our resources are our instructors,” said Julie Yoways, ESW division manager. “Our instructors are from the same industry as where the training is being given. We individualize the training and do in a fraction of the time.”

Unlike training given at community colleges, ESW can schedule training to customer needs.

“We can schedule things succinctly and geared exactly to the customer’s needs,” Yoways said. “We go in and do an assessment and find out the where needs are and from that we make a training plan.”

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