The WOOD 100 is a survey of the fastest-growing companies in the woodworking industry, ranked by growth percentile. This report includes:

WOOD 100 Introduction: A summary of the information gathered from WOOD 100 companies.

WOOD 100 Index: An index of the companies included in this year's WOOD 100.

The WOOD 100: A ranking of the 100 fastest-growing companies in the woodworking industry, divided into sections:

Qualifying for the WOOD 100: How this year's participants qualified, and how companies can obtain information about participating next year.



The dust has settled, the '95 numbers are in and they seem to say, "Thank heavens it's 1996."

The 1996 class of the WOOD 100 established two records of note, one aspiring, the other dubious.

On the upside, the combined 1995 sales volume of the 1996 WOOD 100 cracked $1 billion - nearly 35 percent greater than the amount the 100 companies comprising last year's WOOD 100 amassed in 1994.

Flipping over the coin, however, the 14.1 percent average sales growth posted by this year's group of fast-growing wood products companies was less than half of what last year's class did and 10 percent below the previous recorded low set in 1990.

This should by no means diminish the individual achievements of the companies making up this Seventh Annual Report. After all, 56 of them did at least 20 percent more business in 1995 than in 1994. If anything, the fact that this year's WOOD 100 has more single-digit growth companies (23 to be precise) than any prior year of this unique readership program delineates the notion shared by many who make their living from the wood products trade - 1995 was less than a robust year for business.

The tentative nature of business is also mirrored by a survey of the WOOD 100 in which 25 percent of the respondents cited the economy as their No. 1 concern, compared to 17 percent last year. In addition, 79 percent ranked the economy among their top three concerns, compared to 56 percent last year.

While gathering the surveys that comprise the Seventh Annual WOOD 100 Report, W&WP editors talked with dozens of woodworking executives, including many who participated in past years' reports, who were sorry to relate that 1995 was either a down year for their company or of such a modest gain that they did not feel it was worth the effort to fill out the WOOD 100 qualification form. (Then, of course, there are a vast number of companies who have no desire to share their sales data with their competitors in the pages of a magazine.)

On a more positive note, however, the most common response from these same disheartened execs is that 1996 has been a decidedly better year and we can look forward to seeing them back in the WOOD 100 next September. What's more, at least 94 of this year's WOOD 100 companies project sales growth in 1996 and 39 of the 100 boldly predict that 1997 will be their "best year ever."

Acknowledgements: Rich Christianson, Margie Melaniphy and Harry Urban compiled this report with the able-bodied assistance of Larry Adams, Tom Caestecker Jr., Angela Doland, Beverly Dunne, Jay Rezabek and Jill Smith.

Additional copies: A limited quantity of reprints is available. Phone Blanca Hernandez at (847) 634-4347 for prices and ordering information.

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