Omega Sports’ approach to overcoming the challenge of national, big-box retailers in its markets is simple. “Our philosophy is that our company exists because the community allows us to exist,” says Thom Rock, co-owner of the Greensboro, N.C.-based retailer. “We’re very customer-centric: As long as we listen to the desires of our customers, we’ll be just fine.”
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For retailers, where you sell can be just as important as what you sell. For nearly 30 years, Terraco Inc. has found ideal places for such retailers as Walgreen Co., McDonald’s Inc., Trader Joe’s and Target.
Based in Wilmette, Ill., the real-estate development and management company has developed more than 80 properties that span more than 5 million square feet. Senior Vice President Dan Wander notes that Principal Scott Gendell started the company in 1985 after founding another real estate firm.
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Loyalty to one convenience store is rare among consumers today with most of them out to find the cheapest gas pump or the best deal on sodas and snacks. To combat these changes from when the Lawrence family first opened Speedy Q Markets more than 50 years ago, the chain continues to add customer incentives that keep its doors revolving.
“The fuel market is always moving,” President Kyle Lawrence says. “It’s not an industry that all of a sudden one guy has got figured out and everyone will catch up. The guy that has it figured out today can’t be complacent because the fuel market is going to change drastically.”
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With more than 4,300 locations in North America and 90-plus years of history behind it, there's little doubt that RadioShack is a household name. Recognition is not a problem for the Fort Worth, Texas-based company, but intense competition in the consumer electronic marketplace and common public perceptions about its products and offerings have proven to be challenging to its bottom line in recent years.
“You ask somebody today about RadioShack, and they'd say that's where they go to get batteries or cables; they don't know the relevancy of whom we really are or what we really sell,” Senior Vice President of Store Concepts Michael DeFazio says. “Our demographic today is centered around the male consumer who grew up with the brand. We’re committed to expanding our audience to teens and young adults while continuing to serve our traditional customer.”
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For the past 37 years, Greg Parker has done more than build a thriving convenience store business – he’s established lasting relationships with both employees and customers. “Our success is because of the incredible team of people I work with,” says Parker, founder, president and CEO of the Parker Cos. “We’ve literally all grown up together, so we’re all wicked smart and incredibly hard-working. Everyone treats the company like it’s their own.”
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On Sundays, brothers Randal and Marcy LeBlanc, the owners of LeBlanc’s Food Stores, like to unwind by going into their stores, talking to employees and customers, stocking the shelves and working the cash registers. “They don’t fish. They don’t hunt,” daughter of Randal and Communications Director Brooke LeBlanc Knight says. “They just sell groceries.”
Although it may be uncommon for chain stores to have their CEO and COO working a cash register, it’s not at all unusual for the down-to-earth LeBlanc brothers. The two have expanded LeBlanc’s Food Stores from two to eight grocery stores in 15 years, serving the rural bedroom communities on the outskirts of Baton Rogue, La.
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For Casey’s General Store, the key to success is not always sales. Instead, the relationships the company forms are most important, Chairman and CEO Robert J. Myers says. “Our business is always about people,” he declares.
“That’s our total focus,” he says, noting that this is reflected in Casey’s relationships with customers, employees and the other firms it partners with. “[It translates] into the great performance of the company.”
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Working for the company his father founded in 1989 in Fair Lawn, N.J., Warren Zysman, president of All-Rite Construction Inc., and his brothers learned the importance of knowing the right person to get a project done.
“For example, you need a particular expediter who has experience pulling permits in the city, who has a relationship,” Zysman emphasizes. “Otherwise, it could take months to get a permit. We work with the right local architects who pull permits all the time.”
Read more: All-Rite Construction Inc.
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