American Ratings Corporation (ARC) has been serving the Greater Bay Area consumer community since 2001, but our underlying ethos and methodology were conceived much earlier. It all started when co-founder Jim Stein published Northern California’s first multi-language Yellow Pages in 1983. Following the book’s release, Jim began to study how consumers used information to find local companies. He found that while a phone book was useful for connecting consumers and companies, it offered no way of verifying whether a company actually provided the quality service and customer satisfaction it claimed to. Jim realized if he could find a way to help consumers accurately differentiate quality among local companies, it could revolutionize the marketplace.
His aim determined, Jim began working with the Public Research Institute at San Francisco State University to devise a methodology for rating local businesses. Following much research and development, he launched ValueStar in 1990, the first local business ratings company of its kind. In 1996, Jim met Greg Louie, who, as a former business owner, saw the value a ratings company could provide to consumers.
In 2000, Jim and Greg began to work on an improved business model—one that would generate enough funding to support additional features like mediation services, a performance guarantee and consumer publications. They also further developed the ratings process, making it more in-depth and accurate while fortifying it with a tangible guarantee. A year later, American Ratings Corporation was born. Today, ARC’s Diamond Certified symbol can be seen displayed on storefronts and vehicles throughout the Bay Area: an enduring mark of quality, integrity and innovation.