If you told Jim Lang (on ladder) in 1989 that he'd some day run a company known as a "mover and a shaker," he'd have laughed. Back then, he was an unemployed sales manager, downsized by a siding and window manufacturer, wondering what he'd do next.

From a basement office, he began selling siding and subcontracting the labor. By 1997, he hit $1.2 million. He converted a burned-out restaurant into a town landmark. He also added Betterliving Sunrooms to his mix of offerings; the product line now makes up 70% of his business.

Today, his company sells 625 sunroom jobs a year. With 8 feet of snow not unusual for Maine, why would someone buy something they use for only three months? Lang's reps tell customers the sunrooms, built with honeycomb roof panels to handle snow loads, double the length of the summer season.

Lang hired staff installers in the mid-'90s, a move he swears kept him in business. "We really try to develop a long-term approach," he says. Aggressive expansion, including a basement finishing franchise, could speed Lang's team to the $6.2 million mark next year.