EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The 100 largest women-owned businesses in Los Angeles County had a combined $1.7 billion in 2002 revenues, a 3.5 percent fall from the year earlier. Nearly half of the firms reported declines, compared with 39 in 2001.

Beyond Staffing LLC, which operates as Alert Staffing, shed more than $70 million in 2002 revenues. On the verge of liquidation, the company ended a dispute with former partner Adecco SA and emerged from bankruptcy in February.

Several prominent women-owned businesses, including last year's No. 1, ACT 1 Personnel Services and Estyle, chose not to release revenues and consequently are not included in the Business Journal's ranking.

Nicole Taylor

THE PACESETTER

W.I. Simonson Inc.

One of the largest auto dealerships in Southern California, W.I. Simonson Inc. claims the title of largest women-owned business in Los Angeles County. Simonson bucked the national trend of declining revenues for auto dealers, posting a 28.6 percent increase in 2002 over the previous year, to $150.5 million. Simonson sold 1,957 new and used vehicles in 2002, a 33 percent increase over 2001.

The Santa Monica dealership started out selling Packards in 1937. After a stint with Studebaker, Simonson became a Mercedes-Benz dealer in 1957. Founder William I. Simonson's grandchildren now run the dealership, with sisters Judy Richards and Francie Rehwald owning two-thirds of the company.

General Manager Brenda Katz says new vehicle sales have continued to rise in 2003, aided by the hiring of a new general sales manager.

Simonson also plans to expand its parts and service department.

Nicole Taylor

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