10 Dane County small businesses making a difference
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Fish & Associates Inc. — Middleton
Andrew Fickett, President
Fish & Associates Inc., partners with the transportation, engineering, and construction industries to provide highly technical structural engineering, inspection, and testing services. More simply put, they inspect buildings and structures to make sure they won’t fall down. The company has been around for 15 years and enjoyed steady growth. Founded by Phil Fish as a one-man venture in 2001, Fish & Associates now has 23 employees, and in recent years opened additional offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Fish & Associates prides itself on a family-like company culture that is supportive and fair-minded to everyone on staff. Among participating with other community events and organizations, Fish & Associates has sponsored a Habitat for Humanity build in its parking lot and supports employees who wish to volunteer for various charitable organizations of their choice. In fact, the company added an additional paid eight-hour day per year for employees to work with a charitable organization or community effort of their choice.
Meicher CPAs LLP — Middleton
Gordon Meicher, Managing Partner
Meicher CPAs is a locally owned public accounting firm that was founded in 1981 by managing partner Gordy Meicher. Meicher CPAs provides a full range of tax and accounting services to small business and individual clients throughout Wisconsin and the rest of the country. The accounting industry has changed a lot during Meicher’s 35 years in business; finding and retaining bright and ambitious CPAs has been one of the biggest changes. Older generations valued money and career advancement while millennials place more value on time off and flexible work schedules. Meicher has embraced these changes by offering its CPAs time-and-a-half-pay for overtime, flexible work schedules, and reduced summer hours. The firm has grown from a one-man operation to employing 35 people, largely by doing the best possible job its clients at the lowest, most competitive cost. As a result, 99% of Meicher’s business comes by word of mouth, which has driven growth since its inception.
Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media — Madison
Brian Lee, President
Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media is a full-service, integrated communications agency that bridges traditional and new methodologies to help individuals and companies accomplish their goals — strengthening their brand and making money. While still a relatively young company — it was started in 2011 — Revelation has seen steady year-after-year growth. Revelation works with nonprofits on a reduced-fee or in-kind basis and also donates to the PRSA Foundation, which is committed to increasing diversity in the world of public relations, and Champions for PRSSA, which helps fund scholarships for college PR students. The company offers this bit of wisdom to other small business owners: surround yourself with smart, talented, and experienced people, and don’t be afraid to seek out advice.
The Roman Candle — Madison
Brewer Stouffer, Founder & Owner
The Roman Candle was born right here in Madison in 2005 because Brewer Stouffer, a UW–Madison graduate and Madison resident, was bored with pizza. Really bored. And he was uninspired by all the blasé fare brandished on commercials promising ever-larger portions at ever-decreasing prices. Was anyone paying attention to quality, or asking how pizzas could actually be made with fresh ingredients for under 10 bucks? The Roman Candle’s goal was to reinvent a piece of the past, to create a rebirth of the pizza parlor where friends and family could come to unwind and relax. The Roman Candle has sourced ingredients locally since its inception, and all sauces, salad dressings, and dough are made from scratch and by hand in its restaurants. In an industry where turnover averages 50% to 100% annually, The Roman Candle prides itself on its higher-than-average industry retention rates. Its Community Days fundraiser is also a delicious way for area schools and organizations to raise a little money while eating pizza. The Roman Candle donates at least 10% of sales from everyone who mentions the selected organization while ordering on the scheduled day.