Not many people have heard of Misso Services Corp. & Associates. But the D.C.-based computer dealer firm is the 15th largest black-owned and/or controlled corporation in the country.
The June issue of Black Enterprise magazine contains a list of the top 100 black-owned firms in the country, and 10 of those are found in Washington, Maryland or Virginia.
The top firms in the area and their ranking on that list are: Misso Services, 15; Community Foods Inc. of Baltimore, 19; Jackson Oil Co. of Baltimore, 34; Capitol City Liquor Co. Inc. of Washington, 37; Mclaughlin Oldsmobile Inc. of Capitol Heights, 52; Seidel Chevrolet Inc. of Landover, 63; Kearney Olds, Cadillac, GMC Corp. of Williamsburg, 80; Systems & Applied Sciences of Riverdale, 91; Raven Systems & Research Inc. of Washington, 95; and Systems Management Associates Inc. of Virginia Beach, 99.
The magazine also published separate lists of the top black-run savings and loans, banks and insurance companies.
Ranked by assets, nine regional S&Lare in the list of 41. Washington's Independence Federal and Community Federal were ranked fifth and eighth respectively, and Advance Federal Savings and Loan of Baltimore was tenth. They were followed by: PEOPLE'S S&L of Hampton, Va., 21; Berkley Citizens Mutual S&L of Norfold, 24; union Mutual S&L of Richmond, 28; Community S&L of Newport News, 35; Ideal S&L of Baltimore, 37; and Imperial S&L Martinsville, 38.
Three insurance companies -- Southern Aid Life Insurance Co. Inc. and Virginia Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co. Inc. both of Richmond and Southern Life Insurance Co. of Baltimore -- were among the tops in terms of net investment income, assets, premium income and insurance in force.
Industrial Bank of Washington was the third largest in the country with $59.9 million in assets. United National was fifth. Prince George's State Bank was ranked 47th. Three Virginia banks also made the list: Consolidated Bank and Trust Co. of Richmond, 13; First State Bank of Danville, 29; and Atlantic National Bank of Norfolk, 30.
The Black Enterprise top 100 companies experienced a 17.5 percent growth in sales during 1979 with total gross income of $1.22 billion. Leading the list was Motown Industries, the Los Angeles-based entertainment company. While the number of auto dealers fell from 39 last year to 31, there were more black-owned oil, manufacturing and computer companies than ever before.
"In the face of economic uncertaintly, inflation, and energy problems, the performance of the top black firms in 1979 reveals a resilience, ingenuity, and a will to survive that deserves our admiration," the magazine said.
"I was amazed," said Misso Services President Shelby Coates when he found out his company was one of the largest small businesses in the nation. It was the first year the firm had appeared in Black Enterprise's directory. i
Misso has five employes and sales last year totalled $16 million. Coates said he expects to double that figure this year and to increase his staff as the cash flow improves. The company is a third-party computer dealer, selling and leasing computer hardware to government and commercial clients.
Misso services was started in 1976.Coates and a partner bought the company, which he said was "in limbo," in 1978. The company soon after became part of the Small Business Administration's minority business program, the first computer dealer to do so.
"Being a minority business, we have an advantage over major manufacturers, based on (President) Carter's statement to triple minority business in the federal government," Coates said.
Before coming to Misso, Coates worked in the federal government with automated data processing equipment. "We know the government inside and out," he said. Coates eventually would like the firm to obtain more commercial contracts.
A Baltimore-based small business consulting firm, Associated Enterprise Development Inc. has published a statistical report indentifying business trends in Maryland and citing the major reasons for business failures. To obtain a free copy of the Maryland Business Report, write to Associated Enterprise Development Inc., suite 1332, The World Trade Center, Baltimore, Md. 21202, or call (301)659-0700.