For Karl’s Appliance CEO Dan Schwartz, one word best describes the company: experience. “Our motto is ‘experience the difference, experience is the difference,’” he says. “We are successful because of the experience our customers have with us, as well as the experience our employees have at work and the way we treat our suppliers. We treat everyone fairly, keep our word, pay our bills and make sure we deliver our products on time.”

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 David McInerney, co-founder of FreshDirect, travels the world looking for the freshest, best-tasting and best-looking fruit, vegetables and artisanal food. He’s found blueberries at Family Tree Farms in Kettleman City, Calif.; wild salmon in Copper River, Alaska; wild Patagonian Red Shrimp in Argentina; corn and other vegetables from Altobelli Family Farms in Kinderhook, N.Y.; and heritage-breed, pasture-raised pork from Flying Pigs Farm in Shushan, N.Y.

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Whether a boy needs to get his first hockey stick and skates, or a few members of a tennis team need strings replaced on their rackets, or a woman training for a marathon needs a new pair of sneakers, FGL Sports is there to help. As Canada’s largest and only national retailer of sporting goods, FGL Sports says it has the comprehensive offering of products that athletes, outdoor activity enthusiasts and sports fans are looking for. But what keeps the company as the leader of the market is its ongoing and steadfast commitment to customer service and value.

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They may not be the biggest players in their individual categories, but the brands of Ferrero USA know how to stand out. As the U.S. division of European-based Ferrero Inc., Ferrero USA launched its first brand in 1969 – Tic Tac® mints, followed by Nutella® hazelnut spread 30 years ago and Ferrero Rocher® fine hazelnut chocolates 15 years ago. All of the brands have developed distinct personalities over the years that allow them to hold their own on store shelves, even if they aren’t the biggest kids on the playground.

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Tourists flock to Florida throughout the year to enjoy its frequent sunny days, beautiful sandy beaches and diverse offerings of fun outdoor activities. The same environment that puts golden tans on tourists’ skins and smiles on their faces is also one that inspired an entrepreneur to develop a line of candy that everyone can enjoy. Fueled by its success and recognition throughout the Sunshine State, Anastasia Confections Inc. is taking its tasty treats nationally with great success.

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To many toy companies, their products are simply a diversion, something to keep kids occupied. For MindWare, however, the toys it creates and distributes do more than simply pass the time. MindWare’s line of educational toys help kids increase their brainpower and bring the entire family together. “That’s really what we’re all about,” General Manager Jonathan Staruck says. “We are brainy toys for kids of all ages.”

The Minnesota-based company has been fulfilling this mission since 1990, when founder Jeannie Voigt opened a small retail store in Minneapolis devoted to selling educational toys. Over time, MindWare has evolved into one of the largest catalog retailers in that segment. The company also has developed a robust line of its own proprietary products, which are distributed to more than 2,000 retailers across the country as well as through its catalogs and Internet sales.

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People who live in large urban areas often take for granted the seemingly endless retail options near their homes or jobs. If they can’t find an item of clothing or type of electronics or unit of furniture at one place, they can easily find another establishment to cater to their needs. Residents of smaller towns, however, do not have as many options, but they are still important consumers. With less competition, some small-town retailers might focus less on service and price – what is the consumer going to do? – but that is not the case with Michael Rossy Ltd.

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The family ownership at the helm of K.C. Confectionery Ltd. has led its candy business through the last 90 years with a combination of innovative technologies and old-school sensibilities. Ashmeer Mohamed praises his family’s dedication to bringing the latest technological advances into the company’s facility in Trinidad and Tobago while maintaining handshake agreements with distributors who have worked with K.C. Confectionery for decades.

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