Two of Seattle Business magazine’s judges went to the extra effort of testing Owens Meats’ products and promptly disqualified themselves from judging this category, declaring themselves biased because of how good the products tasted. That’s part of the reason, as the company puts it, five generations of customers have been served by five generations of the Owens family. Founded in Roslyn in 1887, two years before Washington became a state, Owens Meats is today owned by twin brothers Doug and Don Owens, who describe themselves as “best friends as well as brothers. Every thought and decision made in the business is brought up and discussed continuously until we either act on the idea or dismiss it. We continuously employ our family members to include them in the business, giving them a foundation of work ethic and an appreciation of family and tradition.” The formula seems to work. The company says it averaged nearly 24 percent annual growth during the past five years, with a much higher rate following a 2013 remodel of its store in downtown Cle Elum. The company figures that’s good news for the community as well, with Owens Meats enticing thousands of customers to pull off Interstate 90 every year to buy its fresh, smoked and marinated meats, plus a whole line of sauces, glazes, marinades and pickled vegetables.
The Deeny family’s peers in the construction industry think well of them: Terry Deeny served as national president of the Associated General Contractors in 1999. Today, the 25-employee contractor, operating under the direction of Terry’s son, Jon, has a big-company approach to its operations: Nonfamily management helps set strategy through annual planning sessions and quarterly leadership meetings, twice yearly safety meetings and other special events; employees are kept in the loop with a monthly newsletter, paycheck stuffers and companywide meetings. Attention to expenses kept Deeny Construction afloat during the recession and positioned to participate in the latest construction boom. Since mid-2013, work hours have doubled.
Burke Electric may be small — 40 employees — but its specialty is really big stuff, such as paper mills, steam plants, wineries, cardboard-box plants, sawmills and refineries, as well as all the dams on the Columbia River. Founded in 1958, the veteran-owned company uses such tools as yearly retreats to discuss business and family issues, biweekly shareholder meetings at the office, and a financial planner who has been with the family business for more than 15 years to keep communication open and navigate the choppy waters of utility contracting. Burke Electric has posted 10 percent revenue growth each of the past three years.