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5 firms in county make top-150 list

Combined Transport surpassed its all-time June sales record, a mark President Mike Card thought was way too long in coming. The Central Point trucking firm is picking up speed four years after the economy took its biggest tumble since the Great Depression.

Combined Transport was one of five Jackson County firms to appear in Oregon Business Magazine's Top 150 private companies, released this month.

"This is the highest we've ever been in the rankings and it's kind of interesting, because we're just now passing the sales records that were set in 2008," said Card, whose firm rose 13 spots, to No. 68. "I tell people we're finally back to the same level as when the recession started."

Combined is listed in the revenue category of $75 million to $100 million for 2011, but Card said the company will top the $100 million mark during 2012.

"It's pure growth," he said. "Fuel prices are down below last year's levels now."

Harry & David Holdings, despite going through Chapter 11 reorganization during 2011, emerged as the No. 20 company on the list, with sales between $250 million and $1 billion.

Sherm's Thunderbird Market, which also operates Food 4 Less in Medford, dropped to No. 41 from 36 on the list in the $150-million-to-$250-million category.

Cascade Wood Products of White City dropped four notches, to No. 104, in the $50-million-to-$75-million division, while Butler Automotive Group climbed 10 spots to No. 114 in the under-$50-million category.

Long-standing leader Jeld-Wen Inc. of Klamath Falls remained No. 1 on the list, although the window and door maker gave ground to Portland construction management firm Hoffman Corp. Both were among the state's closely held companies, generating more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Card figures there are companies that didn't submit information that could have made the list.

"I really think in an area like Medford, there should be more companies with that kind of sales," he said, indicating there might be local tech firms knocking on the top-150 list.

Motorcycle USA/Motorcycle Superstore President Don Becklin, for example, said last week his company has topped the $100 million mark in sales.

"The beauty of where we are today is that we really had to cut back and change through the recession, becoming much more frugal and efficient," Card said. "Now that we're having higher total sales, it's coming with less costs and providing more profitability."

He figures there's room for accelerated growth after tough times.

"So many people got put out of work and business, especially in our industry," Card said. "People lost their trucks, like they lost their homes. As the economy makes a slow recovery, there are so many trucks going around (for sale) and nobody is buying. We've bought a bunch of new trucks to haul freight. With supply and demand, we've been able to raise prices a bit."

Even though the Northwest hasn't bounced back as much as some parts of the country, Combined Transport has increased traffic in other regions.

"We're spread out enough around the country so that we are not dependent on one industry or sector," he said.

"This is definitely an indicator that we're seeing stronger business."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.

Combined Transport is one of five Jackson County firms to appear in Oregon Business Magazine's Top 150 private companies. - Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch