BY TOM BUSSELBERG
SYRACUSE — A Syracuse man’s idea of giving college students the option to save money by renting textbooks rather than buying them new or used is bearing huge fruits.
CampusBookRentals was ranked 17th out of 500 companies from across the nation cited by Inc. Magazine. It saw a growth of 8,175 percent in terms of new job creation, growing from six to 118 employees.
Alan Martin, a Syracuse resident with longtime Davis County ties, started the business as a Weber State University student.
“We’ve kept a relentless focus on delivering value to students,” Martin said. “That focus has led to constant innovation, and that innovation has resulted in a tremendous amount of growth.”
The firm not only delivers textbooks to students on 5,000-plus campuses every semester, it partners with and provides technologies to college bookstores nationwide. Those services include inventory management and local rental programs.
CampusBookRentals has also created a RentBack platform in which students rent books to one another.
“It completely changes the rules on who makes money in the textbook industry as it turns the student into the middle-man,” Martin said. “We’re now watching them make the profits.”
He recalled the firm’s bootstrapped beginnings, saying “It forced us to operate profitably, and think deeply about the business and how to best create value.”
He sees those precarious early days as a valuable time when the culture was forged for a company “that does everything it can to solve problems, make good decisions, and deliver value to anyone associated with it, Martin said.
The company was also the fastest-growing education-related business in the nation, according to the magazine. Its annual revenue falls into the $20 million to $50 million category.
Real Property Management of Layton placed 228th on the list and eighth in the real estate category. It grew by 1,591 percent.
It added 58 jobs, bringing its total to 66, and had annual revenues of $28.3 million.
The privately held corporation’s national headquarters are in Layton. The company operates throughout the country.
Kirk McGary, company founder and CEO, said inclusion on the list “provides tremendous validation to our company’s innovative platform and processes,” he said.
The corporation also placed seventh on Utah Business Magazine’s Fast 50 list for 2012.
“Utah is a state with such a strong entrepreneurial focus, and we have built both our corporate strategy and our franchise model on this same foundation Р it sets the tone for greater innovation at both the local and national level,” said Chief Operating Officer Charles Thompson.
Real Property Management provides services ranging from finding tenants, maintenance and repairs, quarterly property inspections, monthly property financial statements and more.