The vision behind Shoplet is fairly simple: to create the ultimate single source environment where businesses can procure office products, according to Tony Ellison, CEO, president, and cofounder. Founded in 1994 as e-commerce was just taking off, the company today offers almost 25 times as many products as many of its competitors. The company got off to a quick start in the burgeoning world of e-commerce and has not looked back since. By 1997, when profitability was not necessarily a concern for most online companies, Shoplet was already in the black.

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Founded more than 30 years ago in Southern California, Boot Barn is a specialty retailer dedicated to providing its customers with one of the largest selections of top-quality western and work footwear and apparel available in today’s market. With an 81-store footprint that spans across much of the Western US, the organization has a presence in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana. 

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Based in Northwest Indiana, WiseWay is a grocery store that understands how to adapt to meet the demands of the market. Having been in business for more than 65 years, there is more to the WiseWay organization than the stores under the WiseWay banner. Only half the company’s locations carry the WiseWay name, and the organization seems to be better off because of this diversification. 

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Nice guys don’t always finish last. In fact, for the Paul Mitchell Schools, being nice is the company culture. With more than 100 franchised cosmetology schools under the Paul Mitchell Schools’ name, the company has prospered and been an industry leader with its message of being nice. Winn Claybaugh, who is the dean of the school and co-founded it 27 years ago, has even published a successful book titled Be Nice (Or Else!), with foreword by Larry King.

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The King may be gone, but he is far from forgotten. Elvis Presley routinely ranks among the top earning deceased celebrities, and through Elvis Presley Enterprises, more than 250 companies are licensed to manufacture and sell Elvis products. The licensing of the King is not a new endeavor. Almost from the time he became a national sensation in the 1950s his manager, Col. Tom Parker, oversaw the licensing of Elvis’ image. 

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Kathy Ireland doesn’t just lend her name to the 15,000 or so products she licenses. To each item in the Kathy Ireland Worldwide catalog, the former model and lifetime entrepreneur gives a little piece of herself. “Our business model is different from others,” said the face of the world’s 28th largest licensor on License Global’s 2009 top 100 list. “Some people would like for me to go back to our old job description of shut-up-and-pose, and that’s not going to happen. I’m really curious, and I ask a lot of questions.” 

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Lucas Licensing is one of seven divisions operating within and supporting the Lucasfilm enterprise, the global corporation responsible for producing some of the most renowned films of all time, including “Star Wars” and the Indiana Jones trilogy, among many others. The privately held company was founded in 1971 by George Lucas and now generates approximately $3 billion in retail sales each year.  

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Woburn, Mass.-based solutions provider Kiva Systems has developed innovative technology that’s brought automated order fulfillment to a whole new level for retail merchandisers. CEO Mick Mountz, who founded the company in 2003, said that from the beginning, the team at Kiva has been wholly focused on solving the supply chain issues of retail merchandisers. 

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