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SMALL BUSINESS | HEARD ON THE BEAT

High Profile Comes After Low Point

April 28, 1999|MARLA DICKERSON and LEE ROMNEY

Earning a spot on a high-profile list such as Inc. magazine's Inner City 100 brings exposure to emerging small businesses. But rapid expansion often leads to growing pains.

Just ask Baja Printing.

The San Diego-based company ranks No. 7 on the Inner City 100. What that ranking fails to mention is that the company filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in October.

Baja Chief Executive Ruben Sanchez Jr. said his family's 15-year-old printing firm was forced to seek bankruptcy protection after a big client stiffed them for more than $650,000. The loss was a huge blow to a firm whose entire revenue last year was about $2 million. But Sanchez is undaunted. The company emerged from Chapter 11 in March, and Sanchez already is planning for future growth.

"I still consider myself a top company," said Sanchez, 29. "It's a learning curve that's only going to make me a better businessperson."

Inc. issued this terse statement: "In the rough-and-tumble world of high-growth companies, there are ups and downs. Just because one company may be at a difficult point doesn't take away from the other 99 companies on the list."

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