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Retail still is No. 1

Retail is king when it comes to generating sales on the Rochester Top 100.

The sector ranked first—representing the highest revenue and overall employee headcount—on the 2014 Top 100 list. Retail also has been the top sector in both categories each year since 1992.

Eight companies from the retail sector appear on this year’s list. They collectively reported sales of more than $7.8 billion. The 100 companies on the list combined logged sales of $11.75 billion.

The top-ranking retail companies on the Top 100 list were Bob Johnson Chevrolet, Christian Flooring and Insley McEntee Equipment Co. Inc.

The retail sector also reported the most local employees, with 14,436 employees working within the Rochester area and 30,259 workers outside of the Rochester area. The sector includes Wegmans Food Markets Inc., which has roughly 13,500 local employees and nearly 30,000 outside the Rochester area.

The service sector ranked second on the 2014 list in terms of both sales and employees. The sector generated sales of some $1.4 billion. The sector employs 6,293 workers based in the Rochester area and 39,647 employees working outside the Rochester area.

The top three companies, in order of where they appear on this year’s Top 100 list, are overall Rochester Top 100 No. 3 company Continental Service Group Inc., which does business as ConServe, Feraci Lange LLP and Re/Max Realty Group & Re/Max 1st Commercial.

For the past 20-plus years, the retail, service and manufacturing sectors have been the Rochester Top 100’s big three when it comes to revenue, employees and number of firms represented on the list.

In 2013, retail was at the top of the list in terms of revenue, with the eight firms on the list generating $7.3 billion in revenue and employing 45,577 workers. Service businesses reported the second-highest sales, at nearly $1.5 billion. The 29 service firms on the list employed 42,776 workers.

There were 18 manufacturing firms on the list last year, employing 5,285 workers and generating sales of $1.5 billion.

George Cook, executive professor of marketing at the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School, said Rochester’s business environment is in the midst of a reconfiguring process, as the loss of jobs at manufacturing giants including Bausch & Lomb Inc., Eastman Kodak Co. and Xerox Corp. have shifted the job drivers away from large manufacturing firms and more toward retail and service businesses.

“Retail and services (business) is, without a doubt, flourishing in this area,” said Cook, noting the shift is a trend happening across the country.

Retail sales have grown to $7.8 billion in 2014, up from nearly $1.6 billion in 1989. There were 10 retail firms on the list in 1989 and eight firms in 2014. Service sector revenue has grown to $1.4 billion generated by 26 firms in 2014, from $224.9 million in 1989, generated by 25 firms.

There were 15 manufacturing firms on this year’s list, generating a combined $813 million in sales. In 1989, the 37 manufacturers generated $303 million in sales.

On the retail side, the Rochester region has upscale stores helping to drive growth, such as Von Maur at EastView Mall and a number of restaurants, offering different varieties and price points. He expects retail to continue to grow locally as large projects, such as the Midtown redevelopment project, begin to take off.

Cook also noted the continued growth in the services sector locally, referring to businesses, such as educational institutions, medical services, payroll services and telecommunications firms.

Another large project in the services sector, College Town, also will drive the sector.

Cook said the $100 million mixed-use development at the intersection of Mount Hope and Elmwood avenues is all about “services, services, services for college students.”

He believes the retail and services sectors will continue to be strong locally.

“We value services in this country today,” Cook said, referring to services and retail firms. “Opportunities abound in these industries.”

While services and retail businesses had more employees and brought in more revenue, the technology sector garnered the highest number of companies represented on the 2014 list with 27 firms.

The companies in that sector reported revenue of $652 million and employed 1,649 workers in the Rochester area and 513 employees outside of the Rochester area. Of those, the top three were overall No. 1 UTC Retail, No. 4 Vnomics Corp. and No. 6 LSI Solutions Inc.

Manufacturing and construction firms were each represented by 15 companies on this year’s list.

The firms in manufacturing sector reported sales of $813 million, while the construction sector reported collective sales of $783 million.

The manufacturing sector reported 1,509 employees within the Rochester area and 1,269 employees outside of the area. The construction sector had 1,154 Rochester area employees and 379 workers outside of Rochester.

The top three construction firms were overall No. 2 the Pike Cos. along with Patriot Towers Inc. and Hamilton Stern Construction LLC. The top three manufacturing firms on the list were Liberty Pumps Inc., Century Mold Co. Inc. and cheribundi Inc.

The wholesale-distribution sector had revenues totaling $159 million. Four firms in the sector were represented, employing 365 workers within the Rochester area and 59 employees outside the Rochester area. The top three companies were Acker-Pak Inc., Wright Beverage Distributing and H&C Tool Supply Corp.

The five companies representing the financial services sector round out the list of sectors and reported collective revenue of nearly $90.6 million. The sector had 193 Rochester area workers and 35 employees working outside of the Rochester area.

The top three firms in the financial services sector, based on ranking on the list, were Broadstone Real Estate LLC, Premium Mortgage Corp. and Beltz Ianni & Associates LLC.

Led by Wegmans, the retail sector is the biggest revenue generator.
Financial Services: $90,574,000
Wholesale/Distribution: $159,325,000
Technology: $652,581,000
 Construction: $783,025,000
Manufacturing: $813,278,000
Service: $1,431,990,000
Retail: $7,819,286,000

The Top 100 sectors, by employment
        Employees Within    Employees Outside
    Industry    Rochester Area    Rochester Area
    Construction    1,154    379
    Financial Services    193    35
    Manufacturing    1,509    1,269
    Retail    14,436    30,259
    Service    6,293    39,647
    Technology    1,649    513
    Wholesale/Distribution    365    59
    Total    25,599    72,161

10/31/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Top 100 supplement. Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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