SoDel Concepts Makes Inc. 500

by Dave on August 24, 2009

SoDel Concepts named to Inc. Magazine’s 28th Annual List of

America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 500

REHOBOTH BEACH, DE – SoDel Concepts, which owns and operates five restaurants along the Delaware coast, was recently named to the 2009 Inc. 500, which lists America’s fastest-growing private companies. SoDel joins the ranks of Microsoft, Zappos, Intuit, GoDaddy, Under Armour, Jamba Juice, American Apparel and Oracle, which gained early exposure from appearing on the list.

SoDel, which employs more than 200 year-round, is ranked number 282 on the overall Inc. 500 with an 820.5-percent growth from 2005 to 2008. On the food and beverage list, the company is ranked sixth. “We’re thrilled with the recognition,” says Matt Haley, who cofounded SoDel Concepts with friend Harry Geller. “It proves that great food and great service in a great atmosphere can help a restaurant survive—and even thrive—in a turbulent economy.”

The honor is especially sweet for Haley, 48, who while in rehab in his 20s vowed to one day own a successful restaurant at the beach. Haley realized his dream in 2001 with the opening of what is now Bluecoast Seafood Grill and Fish Market in Bethany Beach.

Fish On in Lewes, NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View, Lupo di Mare in Rehoboth and Catch 54 Fish House & Marina in Fenwick Island followed in quick succession.

In 2008, Haley, Scott Kammerer and Bryony Zeigler started Highwater Management, a hospitality management company, which helped launch Que Pasa in Dewey Beach—along with the new Ruddertowne dining concepts—and Salt Air in Rehoboth. Highwater also manages food-and-beverage concessions for Sports at the Beach in Georgetown. Together, SoDel and Highwater have more than $20 million in sales under management and employ 420 people.

Will SoDel Concepts make the next list? It’s quite possible. Haley has plans for another beach restaurant—or two—in the near future, and Highwater Management is adding to its client roster. For information, visit

The 2009 Inc. 500, unveiled in the September issue of Inc. magazine (available on newsstands Aug. 17 to Nov. 15 and on, reported aggregate revenue of $18.4 billion—up significantly from last year’s $13.7 billion—and a median three-year growth rate of 880.5 percent. The companies on this year’s list are also responsible for creating more than 55,000 jobs since their founding, making the Inc. 500 perhaps the best example of the impact private fast-growing companies can have on the overall U.S. economy. The largest company on the list, flat-panel-TV maker Vizio, broke the $2 billion revenue mark. Complete results of the Inc. 500, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found on

Despite the ongoing recession, the 2009 Inc. 500 offers a glimpse of the future of the U.S. economy. In the health sector, which saw aggregate revenue of $1.1 billion and a 917 percent median growth rate, businesses are moving forward on cancer and stem-cell research, clinical trials, and medication management. More than 25 percent of companies in the energy sector ($2.5 billion aggregate revenue; 942 percent median growth rate) focus on solar and other alternative sources. Fewer than a third of retailers ($356 million aggregate revenue; 914 percent median growth rate) have even a single brick-and-mortar store. And the number of companies providing technical services to the various branches of the federal government continues to rise.

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