After spending years working for a national chain as a pharmacist, Dennis Crawford had a burning desire to do something more. He enjoyed working with customers but didn’t feel he was actually making a difference in their lives.

Read more: Crawford Pharmacies

Mark, Ed, and Brett Stinebrink opened their first grocery store in 1974 with the help of a silent partner. Located in Lake Geneva, Wis., the 10,400-square-foot facility operated as a branch of the Super Valu chain.

Read more: Stinebrink's Piggly Wiggly

In the past year, database marketing agency Merkle Inc. has seen a slight shift in what its clients want due to the economy. Some of the companies have become more focused on their customers, spending more time trying to understand exactly who their most valuable customers are. Others have accelerated their shift to digital media, looking for more out of every dollar they spend.

Read more: Merkle Inc.

Michael Roellinghoff, president and CEO of The Bargain Shop (TBS), doesn’t celebrate the economic trouble families and businesses are experiencing. But tough times allow bargain stores to attract more customers and find deals to provide better value. In fact, the company is making sure the economic downturn doesn’t reach its doors by providing solutions for consumers who are looking to moderate spending while maintaining their standard of living.

Read more: The Bargain Shop

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