With the tough economic year of 2009 now safely in the rearview mirror, a clearer picture of the damage wrought by the recession is emerging.
In a typical year, at least half of the nine sectors in the HispanicBusiness 500 post higher revenues than the year before. This was even the case in 2008, which by all accounts was a difficult year. But 2009 took "difficult" to a new level.
Last year, seven of the nine sectors in the HispanicBusiness 500 saw declines in revenue, most of them steep. The two exceptions were finance, which boosted revenues by 7.7 percent, and service, which grew 5.9 percent.
In two years, the automotive sector on the HispanicBusiness 500 has become a shell of its former self. In 2009, revenues in this sector dropped an amazing 57 percent from the year before. Not only this, the sector suffered a 21 percent decline the year prior.
But automotive is hardly the only sector that struggled in 2009.
This year, the HispanicBusiness 500's construction sector took a major blow, with revenues plunging by $1 billion in one year, to $4.8 billion. That's a drop of nearly 17 percent.
Still, construction's share of the HispanicBusiness 500 directory's total revenues held steady at 16.1 percent, a reflection of how construction's woes last year were in proportion to that of other industries among Hispanic-owned companies.
In a bit of good news, the 10 biggest construction companies performed a little better this year than last, boosting their combined revenues by 8.6 percent, to $2.97 billion.
One new company breaking into the directory's overall Top10 list this year is Crossland Construction of Kansas.
At a time when much of the industry is experiencing an outright depression, Crossland held pretty steady, bringing in $527 million in 2009, an increase of just under 1 percent from the year before. It might not sound like much, but in last year's economy, anything other than down is a step up.
Christopher Crossland, the company's vice president of marketing and business development, attributed much of the success to Crossland's diversified base of customers.
The company is building two high schools and landed a community college project, but also maintains a steady base of Fortune 500 clients with offices in the area.
"You didn't take anything for granted in 2009," Mr. Crossland, whose mother is Hispanic, told HispanicBusiness magazine. "It really came back down to 'it's your customer.' We put a lot of focus on that."
Of all the sectors that experienced a decline in revenue, retail suffered the least.
In 2009, the industry posted a 3.6 percent drop in revenue from the year before. However, retail took the worst hit of all the sectors in 2008, shrinking that year by about a third.
Leading the retail sector for the second consecutive year was Navarro Discount Pharmacies, which posted a 2009 modest 4 percent decline in revenues year over year.
But the fastest-growing company in this industry sector was Holman's Inc., a business-to-business retailer that sells precision surveying and computer products.
Holman's was able to boost revenues nearly 13 percent in 2009 over the prior year, bringing its total annual revenue to $39.4 million.
CEO Tony Trujillo said the precision-surveying half of the business suffered last year, on account of the battered housing and construction industries. However, the computing side of Holman's -- thanks to hot products such as the Apple MacBook -- fueled a good deal of the company's growth.
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