As a full-service, third-party logistics provider, Hall’s Warehouse Corp. offers the services that East Coast food and pharmaceutical companies require: temperature-controlled transportation and time-sensitive deliveries from its 75-unit fleet, as well as more than 54.9 million cubic feet of frozen, refrigerated and dry storage. Hall’s is organic certified by the USDA, U.S. Customs bonded and has a superior rating from the American Institute of Baking. But where it really is making a mark in the industry is in its ability to help customers reduce their carbon footprints, while also keeping its own costs in line.

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With so many print procurement management companies in existence, the brain trust behind LogicSource quickly realized it would have to do something drastically different to stand out in the marketplace. President and CEO David Pennino says his company accomplished this by 1) offering a flexible approach to client engagement including offerings in co-sourcing, advisory services and technology; 2) expanding the categories of procurement they could address to include packaging and in-store operational items; and 3) performing an exhaustive analyses of potential customers’ operations on its own dime, a far cry from the standard practice of having clients pay for this service up-front.

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The Source has been part of Canadian’s consumer electronics life for the past 40 years, with several changes in name and ownership during that time. But the retail stores – which once flew the Radio Shack and Circuit City banners – have been given a new life with new and renovated stores, the introduction of recognizable electronics brands, client-focused employee training and a multifaceted marketing campaign since Bell Canada Enterprises bought The Source in 2009.

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Whether it is fielding calls with a live person or buying keywords to top the list of search engine hits for health supplements, Swanson Health Products does everything it can to reach out to and meet the demands of its customers. Director of E-commerce Rachel Rice says this extends from the top of the organization on down.

“As a leadership team, we are always asking ourselves what customers want and expect from us,” Rice says. “Every member of the board is responsible for reading customer comments every week. We focus on the quality of our product and adherence to being the low-price leader – we’ve definitely heard that’s what our customers want.”

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In east-central Louisiana, it takes a local to know how well-traveled the back roads are as they are developed into wider highways. And the more traffic there is, the more business comes. “Most of the metro markets are mature and have all the big-name competitors,” says Todd St. Romain, CEO of St. Romain Oil Co. “We find better opportunity in small, under-developed rural markets.”

His c-stores offer more than just convenience. “I think in an underdeveloped rural market, you can be the liquor store, the cigarette shop, the McDonald’s, the KFC,” he says. “I can be the mini-grocery and the gas station all at one time. In a smaller, underdeveloped market, we can fill the needs of the consumer and be a multitude of stores in one. Our proprietary food service is probably what really attracts people. We have a strong food service offer.”

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Competition is fierce in the discount retail market,” says 40-year retail veteran Dave Mueller. The senior vice president of sales and marketing for fred’s Super Dollar stores knows that pricing is not the only  important factor to succeed in this sector.

To retain the competitive edge it has gained over its 65-year history, fred’s started a transformation in 2009 to change the way its 700 stores and pharmacies looked, how they were organized and displayed merchandise. The first new concept store opened in October of that year, close to the company’s headquarters in Memphis. The new concept performed well and fred’s has now more than 60 stores open with the new layout.

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The health revolution has seen a big push in the last few years. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign promotes active lifestyles and proper nutrition, and several states have stepped in to make sure vending machines at their schools include a balance of healthy options. The federal government even has taken steps to define what “all-natural” means so food companies can’t mislead consumers with ambiguous packaging. These factors, coupled with media attention on rising obesity levels, have sparked a fire under the healthy eating trend.

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If you are looking for ketchup and diapers, do not go into Brennan’s Market. But, if you are looking for the highest-quality, eco-friendly fruit available, or great wine and cheese, then Brennan’s Market is the place in central Wisconsin.

For 70 years, the Brennan family has made it a priority to purchase directly from the products’ sources to ensure the stores’ produce, wine and cheese are of the best quality available. The owners and managers at Brennan’s Market personally visit and assess each farm, orchard, vineyard, microbrewery and cheese factory before purchasing anything. The company buys produce only from farms that engage in sustainable practices, treat their employees ethically and limit their use of pesticides.

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