When Mr. W. T. Brookshire founded his first grocery store 80 years ago, he started a tradition in excellent, friendly service and low prices that continues today through the 156-store Brookshire Grocery Company (BGC). Even in this poor economy, Brookshire’s competes with the best of them and is taking steps to prepare for a future of growth. 

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In two years, Coca-Cola will be celebrating its 125th anniversary, and as a brand, there is a lot to celebrate. For Kate Dwyer and her team, the company’s global licensing division, there is a lot to do to get ready. “For us, licensed merchandise is a celebration of Coca-Cola’s rich heritage dating back to the 1880s,” said Dwyer, the group director of worldwide licensing. “The story of Coca-Cola is exciting and vibrant, and we look forward to showcasing it again in a new way in 2011.”

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In the 17 years the New York City-based licensing agency Beanstalk Group has been in business, corporate brand licensing has evolved from being an afterthought at most companies to being an integral part of their identity and marketing strategy. Michael Stone, Beanstalk’s president and CEO, said he was surprised that brand licensing was given such short shrift at many companies for so long.

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Brothers Alex and Carlo Tabibi established Pets United in 2002 after purchasing the inventory of a wholesale company in the dog-grooming market. One of the first URLs the  brothers bought was Dog.com, but many others, such as Horse.com and Garden.com, were soon to follow. Today, Alex and Carlo own thousands of URLs with easy-to-find names.

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A simple way to describe Alibris is as an exchange. The online retailer has become the largest independently owned and operated marketplace for new, rare, and used books, CDs, and DVDs in the 11 years since it was launched, primarily through its ability to focus on its customer base. 

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Family run boutique manufacturer Shandiz Natural Foods operates with a three-part vision. The company strives to produce quality natural products, ensure customer satisfaction, and nurture a respectful workplace environment. Producing a quality ingredient isn’t difficult for Shandiz, as the majority of its products are certified organic. The company primarily manufactures snack bars, including fruit and nut bars, cereal bars, rice crispy bars, and nougat confections. A key feature of all Shandiz products is that they’re minimally processed. 

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For most companies, the economy brought a downturn in business. For private brand marketing company Marketing Management, Inc. (MMI), the current economic climate brought 18% growth. In the past year, the company has seen more interest in private brand development from companies outside of its normal customer base, including hardware companies, farm and fleet stores, and office suppliers. MMI answered the call of these new market segments by providing fine-tuned strategies to help businesses drive their private brand sales and boost their profiles. 

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The question Future Food wants you to ask yourself when you visit the grocery store is “What do I want in a dip?” The hope is that your answers will be “quality and freshness” because they will point you in the direction of one of the company’s two brands. Salads of the Sea, founded in 1984, is manufactured in Texas and comprises seafood dips in a variety of flavors with ingredients sourced from the North Pacific. Santa Barbara Bay, the second of Future Food’s brands, was founded in 1996 and is manufactured in Buellton, Calif., just outside Santa Barbara. 

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