Winner – When the Shoe Fits
Since 2004, When the Shoe Fits has been taking care of soles at two Clark County locations, selling common styles as well as custom-fitted prescription footwear.
Last year, the retailer decided to hit the ground running, responding to a down economy by launching a 30-week advertising blitz.
"Lots of businesses calm down when things go down," said co-owner Amy O'Hara. "We did the opposite."
The result was a 6 percent increase in sales, with profitability jumping by 46 percent. Additionally, the store turned, or sold its entire inventory, three times during the year, according to O'Hara.
"This growth is unheard of in the shoe business," she said. "But the economy requires one to be targeted and fierce when it comes to business. And we've done that."
Winner – nLight
David Schaezler, vice president of finance at nLight Corp., says his company spent 2009 marketing lasers designed to "confuse" heat-seeking missiles, protecting their targets.
"Of course, with the nature of our clients, I can't go into details about who bought what," Schaezler said.
Two-thirds of nLight's growth during 2009 was driven by the defense industry. The Vancouver-based company also manufactures semiconductor diodes, used in lasers, solar panels and flat-panel displays.
According to Schaezler, the company grew by leaps and bounds in 2009 – with total revenue up 25 percent over 2008. Additionally, nLight eliminated positions in East Asia and created 10 jobs in Washington state.
"We continue to focus on Vancouver," Schaezler said. "We hope to pass the $100,000,000 revenue mark in three years."