Finding good employees is frequently cited by retailers and restaurateurs as one of their biggest challenges, and PeopleMatter not only helps with that, but also follows up throughout the employment process. The company has software modules accessed in the cloud for hiring, training and managing not just employees, but what President and CEO Nate DaPore calls “talent.”

“We’re the only talent management company that provides a full talent management suite with a schedule embedded into it,” DaPore maintains. “There are other companies out there that do pieces of what we do, but there is not a company that does all the entire end-to-end suite with scheduling embedded into the applications.”

Read more: PeopleMatter

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.”

Read more: Omega Sports

In more than 90 franchised stores, Kilwins Chocolates Franchise specializes not only in fine chocolates that are hand-crafted in its 60,000-square-foot “Chocolate Kitchen” facility in Petoskey, Mich., but it also features its own original-recipe ice cream and specialty “made-in-store” products, such as fudge, caramel apples, brittles and caramel corns made right in each location, while customers watch.

Read more: Kilwins Chocolates Franchise Inc.

The John Deere tractor is more than just a piece of farm equipment – it’s an icon that has come to symbolize qualities like innovation, quality, hard work and durability. For the people who depend on their John Deere equipment for their livelihood, the brand’s familiar green and yellow color scheme is like the team colors of a beloved alma mater, and that’s a connection that the company’s global licensing operations take very seriously.

According to the Toy Global Licensing Manager Betsy Yenner, the John Deere brand is one that means something to millions of people, and that means anything bearing the brand has to live up to the same principles. “What it really comes down to is that it’s a brand that people trust,” Yenner says. 

Read more: John Deere

Construction and mining sites are probably not considered by many to be the most colorful of locations. However, for more than 85 years, bright yellow has shone brilliantly amidst the sea of grays and browns commonly associated with these sites, thanks to Caterpillar.

This manufacturer’s Cat® brand of signature yellow dozers, backhoes, excavators and hundreds of other pieces of heavy equipment is so well-accepted in the industries it serves that the company has earned its spot as the world’s leading construction and mining equipment maker. 

Read more: Caterpillar Inc.

When companies get a taste of success, they sometimes make the mistake of moving away from the strategies that brought them there. But that’s not the case at Rovio Entertainment Ltd., an entertainment media firm known for the “Angry Birds” character franchise.

Instead, Rovio has retained the collaborative mindset it had when it first started operations in 2003, Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products & Licensing Naz Cuevas says. “We will always have a start-up mentality at any time,” she says. “You will see [our] managers [and] directors rolling up their sleeves and solving a problem.”

Read more: Rovio Entertainment Ltd.

Even after its 2012 acquisition by Global Partners, gas and convenience store retailer Alliance Energy still maintains the legacy set by its founding father Abraham Slifka. Slifka founded the company as a one-truck retail kerosene business in eastern Massachusetts. In the 1960s and 1970s, a second generation of Slifkas, Alfred and Richard, grew the business into one of New England’s largest retailers of heating oil and gasoline. In 1996, the company began acquiring retail gasoline stations and convenience stores, leaving the third generation a healthy foundation to help expand Alliance into one of the largest fuel distributors in the Northeast.

Read more: Alliance Energy

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.

Read more: Terraco Inc.

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