For Casey’s General Store, the key to success is not always sales. Instead, the relationships the company forms are most important, Chairman and CEO Robert J. Myers says. “Our business is always about people,” he declares.

“That’s our total focus,” he says, noting that this is reflected in Casey’s relationships with customers, employees and the other firms it partners with. “[It translates] into the great performance of the company.”

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Working for the company his father founded in 1989 in Fair Lawn, N.J., Warren Zysman, president of All-Rite Construction Inc., and his brothers learned the importance of knowing the right person to get a project done. 

“For example, you need a particular expediter who has experience pulling permits in the city, who has a relationship,” Zysman emphasizes. “Otherwise, it could take months to get a permit. We work with the right local architects who pull permits all the time.”

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Self-help is not a way of saving labor in IKEA’s style of warehouse stores. The concept of customers helping themselves to their merchandise reflects the retailer’s southern Swedish roots of team effort in order to reduce the costs, self-reliance and reduction of unnecessary frills.

The global home furnishings retailer founded by 87-year-old Ingvar Kamprad has united disparate cultures worldwide with one cleanly designed aesthetic for furniture. This aesthetic also is applied to the multitude of other accessories that the company produces for itself or under exclusive arrangements with other companies that it may own. The only brand sold by IKEA is IKEA.

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Mandalay Bay is known around the world as one of the most luxurious resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, and that is thanks in large part to the all-encompassing treatment it provides for its guests. More than mere guests, Mandalay Bay considers its customers “resortists” who are given the five-star treatment from check-in to check-out. Whether it’s in their hotel room, on the sand of the resort’s beach or in one of its many entertainment and dining venues, Mandalay Bay wants its resortists to have a complete experience.

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In recent years, the licensing of major food and beverage brands such as Kellogg, Pepsi and Entenmann’s has grown beyond the grocery aisle and into the lifestyle space, as well, across North America and the rest of the world. It takes industry expertise and leadership to leverage the world’s most-recognized brands. That’s why these household names turn to The Joester Loria Group (JLG) to identify opportunities for new areas of growth that will engage consumers, create brand buzz and drive revenue.

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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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