Development company back on Inc. 500 list

TRAVERSE CITY – For the second year in a row, McKeough Land Co., a developer of recreational and waterfront property, has made Inc. magazine’s annual list of America’s 500 fastest-growing private companies.

This list ranks companies according to their average annual sales growth over the past four or five years. McKeough had a five-year growth rate of 90.6 percent and is No. 417 on the list. This year’s winners were featured in a special issue of Inc. magazine, released Oct. 26.

To compile this year’s list, Inc. magazine contacted more than 500,000 businesses and pored over the financial statements of qualified companies. The companies on the 500 list must be independent and privately held, plus they must meet the minimum revenue requirements of $200,000 in fiscal 1999 or 2000 and $2 million in revenue for fiscal 2003.

Established by Mike McKeough in 1989, the McKeough Land Co. has specialized in the acquisition and sale of recreational and waterfront property for the past 15 years. Its home office is in Grand Haven and it has offices in Traverse City, Poynette, Wisc. and Knoxville, Tenn.

The company will soon open an office in Charlotte, NC to handle waterfront property in North and South Carolina. The continued expansion has contributed to the overall growth of the company.

An integral part of McKeough Land Company’s success is the Traverse City office, which was established in 1999. Within the Traverse City office, revenue has grown from $1.6 million in 2002 to $6.3 million in 2004, contributing approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of the company’s growth.

“It’s been an exciting last few years for us,” President Mike McKeough remarked. “Our established offices in Michigan and Wisconsin have been growing at a 50-plus percent clip per year. And we’re just now beginning to see the positive results from our investments into new markets like Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina.”

Since McKeough founded the company, 93 projects have been developed in Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Tennessee. The company’s first project was five parcels of land near the Manistee National Forest in Muskegon County, which sold out in two months.

Chris McCrumb, GM of the Traverse City office, graduated from Oakland University with a business degree. Prior to joining McKeough Land Co., McCrumb worked in the banking industry and managed a fitness club in Spring Lake, where he met Mike McKeough.

During his 10 years with the McKeough Land Co., he has spent most of his time with the acquisition and development side of the business, although he does have two years of sales experience as well.

McCrumb has taken the Traverse City office from a one-man operation in 1999 to seven employees this year.

“I believe that the success of our company rests directly with the people who make it up,” McCrumb pointed out. “Not only are they dedicated, hardworking and intelligent, but more importantly, they have great passion for what they do and they do it with honesty and integrity and truly strive for excellence.”

The first project completed by McCrumb and the Traverse City office was Empire Hills, an 80-lot development situated in hilly terrain overlooking Lake Michigan on the east side of the Village of Empire. The development opened in 2000 and sold out in 2004.

Following on its heels were five projects: Bingham Ridge in Leelanau County with 24 lots of Lake Leelanau views, Truax Lake in Grand Traverse County with 55 lots of lakefront property, Fox Mission in Antrim County with 12 lots of Grand Traverse East Bay views, Compass Pointe in Manistee County with 12 lots consisting of Lake Michigan and Portage Lake views and Portage Ridge in Manistee County with 110 lots of the same view.

With actual lake property becoming scarce in northern Michigan, McKeough Land Co. has been specializing in view properties with access to lakes nearby. The price of their lots typically range from $39,900 to $150,000.

Next year the company will be launching two new projects from the Traverse City office. One is Bay Hill in Leelanau County, consisting of 51 lots with views of Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan.

The other is the opening of Phase I of a large development on the Boyne Mountain property in Charlevoix County. The multi-phase project, designed on land surrounding The Alpine and Monument golf courses, may have as many as 450 lots, which will be developed over the next five years or so.

The planned development includes open space and a trail system for biking, hiking and cross country skiing, which will be part of a larger planned trail system that winds through Boyne Mountain’s 3,000-acre resort.

Owners of the home sites in the project will also have easy access to downhill skiing, golf, the waterfront on Deer Lake, the new indoor water park (opening in spring of 2005), and all of the other Boyne Mountain amenities.

The Inc. 500 list is a gauge in which to judge how small companies are driving the economy.

“Certainly, it’s an honor to be part of that list when you think of how many small companies there are in this country,” McCrumb stated.

For more information on the McKeough Land Co. projects, they can be reached at 231-933-7216 or go to their web site at