Black Enterprise magazine names three Philly-area firms to top 100

Three Philadelphia-area businesses have made it onto Black Enterprise magazine’s list of the nation’s top 100 industrial and service businesses.

Union Packaging of Yeadon is a newcomer to the list, sneaking in at No. 98 on the list of 100 with $21 million in revenue. You may not know the name, but there’s a good chance you’ve used Union Packaging’s products this week. The company make sleeves for french fries and clam shell containers for fast-food hamburgers and other sandwiches.

The Wharton Small Business Development Center and the Enterprise Center have both helped him achieve success, said company president and CEO Michael Pearson. He says businesses like his help more than just management.

“I think people of color, when they establish businesses, tend to hire people from their communities more prevalently than maybe other entities,” he said. “So that’s really at the heart of what developing black, Hispanic, Asian businesses is all about.”

And that, he said, can help generate wealth within communities.

A drop in competition and an industrywide move from plastic to paper have also helped his company achieve success, Pearson said.

Philadelphia’s PRWT Services placed 30th on the Black Enterprise Top 100 list. The business-process outsourcing company has found success as a result of hard work, commitment and 25 years of strong support from employees as well as leadership, said company president Harold Epps.

“What we were most pleased with is there were two other companies from Philadelphia on the list,” Epps said.

Alpha Office Supplies, listed as a Philadelphia office furniture supplies and energy management company, also made the list.

Epps said he’d like to see more Philadelphia businesses get onto the list.

“At the end of the day, as the nation continues to get more diverse, we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got policy, procedure and laws that make everybody have a fair chance at the table,” he said.

Epps said he looks forward to his business continuing to grow and climbing higher on the list.

Union Packaging’s Person said he is happy to get the recognition, adding “I’d like to think there’s a time in the next 50 years where the significance of having to have a black enterprise list would be diminished.

“We would be more widely excelling in just general business, and I think that we frequently forget that commerce and entrepreneurship are a very valid answer to some of the historic economic issues that have surrounded the African-American community,” he said. 

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