We Knew You When! When we covered Purple, a mattress manufacturer based out of Alpine, Utah, we knew they were cool – very cool. So it came as only a small surprise when it was announced that Global Partner Acquisition Corp was planning on putting up $90 million to buy the company. Not bad for a business that started with two brothers, Tony and Terry Pearce, talking about business ideas while fly fishing.

Daring To Carve Your Own Niche! In some industries the market seems so crowded with well-established, well-known brands, it seems almost business suicide to attempt to carve out a niche. But that’s exactly what Chris Washburn did with Fezzari, based out of Lindon, Utah. When he started the custom bike manufacturing business, Washburn could not find a dealers willing to take the risk on this brand new upstart. When they finally came to the table, Washburn had already established a way to reach the customer on his own and it was his turn to turn them down.

Coming Full Circle! A few years ago Harrison Mitchell was on a mission to find fun but nice socks for his wife in a well-known store. Walking away with nothing, Mitchell decided to make his own. From that shopping trip he started Woven Pear, and a few months later was talking to that exact store about getting his socks in their store. That’s cool.

That’s What You Do? Looking at the website for Eclipse Composites, a satellite manufacturer based out of Bluffdale, Utah, can be overwhelming. True to its complex product, the site is abundantly full of very large words. Which is why interviewing Todd McNeill was a surprisingly enjoyable experience. He simply explained that he made satellites – light ones and portable ones. In our time together he never needed to prove he was the smartest person in the room – even though everyone knew he was. He kept it simple even when his product was anything but.

Best Story Ever! In a profile a business has 650 – 850 words to put their company in the best light. Which is why I appreciate companies that stay real and provide funny, readable accounts. This year’s best story goes to Tiffany Tomkinson, owner of lick’d pops, who lost an entire delivery because her frozen pops reached an unfrozen state all over the delivery truck floor!

Alicia Cunningham is editor of CompanyWeek Utah. Reach her at aliciaknightesq@yahoo.com.

Other Year in Review features:

Photographers Pick: Best manufacturing images of 2017, Judson Pryanovich, Utah.

Photographers Pick: Best manufacturing images of 2017, Jonathan Castner, Colorado and Rocky Mountain region.

Editor’s Choice: Best of Colorado manufacturing 2017