It’s a common misconception, but not all family-owned businesses are of the mom-and-pop variety.

Twenty-two family-owned firms serving the San Fernando Valley employ more than 100 workers, according a list compiled by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal — some have employees across the country or even the world.

Van Nuys-based MGA Entertainment Inc. ranked the highest with 1,500 employees. The company, which entered the toy business in 1987, manufactures children’s toys and entertainment products. Last month, a U.S. District Court judge in Santa Ana ordered Mattel Inc. to pay more than $309 million to the Valley company — a sum stemming from a dispute over MGA’s Bratz dolls.

Galpin Motors Inc. came in as No. 2. The North Hills company employs 964 people and has seven family members involved in the business, according to data submitted by the company.

And Gold’s Gym Los Angeles has big plans despite trying economic times. The firm, placing third with 687 employees, plans to open up two to three clubs for each of the next five years, said Willy Baños, who co-owns the franchise with his brother Angel. Each of the Baños’ gyms have their own personal flair — while retaining the traditional Gold’s Gym markings.

“We don’t want them all to look alike and be alike,” Willy Baños said.

Baños said financing — which the firm does on its own — has been difficult for new locations. But Jim Snow, president of Gold’s Gym International, doesn’t doubt the duo. Snow said their track record, plus the availability of retail space, gives the Baños’ a fighting chance.

“They flat out know how to run a gym,” he said.

Valencia-based Advantage Media Services Inc., or AMS Fufillment, ranked as the Valley’s fourth largest family-owned enterprise with 430 employees. That’s up from roughly 90 about a year ago, the company said. The fulfillment firm had $15.6 million in revenue last year, up from about $10 million in 2009, said Chief Executive Ken Wiseman, who along with President Jay Catlin, retains majority ownership.

“In some ways, a tough economy (benefits)… a company like ours, because outsourcing becomes a more preferred avenue to take,” Wiseman said.

Another company with growth that isn’t entirely surprising: Canon Recruiting Group LLC. The company expects to post revenues in excess of $12 million, this year up from about $5 million last year. The staffing firm, which specializes in executive level positions, is benefiting as companies seek to shed healthcare, workers’ compensation insurance and other costs related to full-time employees, said president Tim Grayem.

“Companies don’t want permanent employees,” he said.

The company, according to the San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s List, was the 5th largest family-owned business by employees with 350.

La Cañada Flintridge -based Allen Lund Company Inc. was able to grow slightly in the last year in part by increasing efficiencies, said Kenny Lund, vice president of support operations.

The company employs 307 individuals across the country, according to data submitted by the company, placing the firm in seventh place. According to the company’s website, there are 310 employees.

“We have to provide more services for less money and be very efficient for what we do,” said Lund, whose father started the transportation brokerage and logistics company in 1976 and is chief executive.

Staff reporter Angela Melero contributed to this report.


Download the LARGEST FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES list (pdf)