When Ken Petersen and his partners Tom Brady and Scott Jacobs launched Apricot Lane in 2007 as the first and still only franchised women’s fashion and gift boutique, it was to fill a void in the fashion industry. They expected to be popular with their target audience of 25- to 35-year-old females, but what they didn’t expect was to be popular with husbands and wives.
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By necessity, franchising is all about consistency, and no one knows this better than John Rorer. But even before deciding to pursue his franchising goals, to streamline his company and develop a consistent brand, the owner of Richard's Foodporium started making changes.
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At the end of June 2008, the American Red Cross was challenged to erase a $209 million operating deficit. At that time, the nonprofit organization, now 130 years old, brought in a new CEO, Gail McGovern, and she led the charge in putting the organization back in a stable financial situation.
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The story of Body Glove, one of the most recognizable sporting goods and watersports brands in the world, begins in Missouri, of all places. Robby Meistrell, CEO, said his father and uncle, twin brothers Bob and Bill Meistrell, taught themselves to swim in the pond behind their house and created their own diving bell. They took turns going to the bottom, with the other pumping air to his brother with a bicycle pump.
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On July 1, Pilot Travel Centers acquired Flying J to form the largest single operator of travel centers in the US. The public announcement, which came after months of planning, was followed by months of changes to both companies’ locations, equalling a capital investment of more than $150 million. Ken Parent, SVP of operations for Pilot Flying J, said that although both companies knew of the pending merger for many months, there was an embargo on the announcement until after the FTC reviewed the agreement. But when the news hit the public airwaves, those in charge had to hit the ground running to make sure the necessary changes were put in place in a timely manner without disrupting the business at any of Pilot Flying J’s 550 travel centers.
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Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; it created a monkey, and a very popular one at that. First published in 1941 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, the character of Curious George has delighted children and adults for the past 70 years by appealing to one of the most intrinsic components of human nature. “What you hear from fans of Curious George is that he’s appealing because he is childlike in the way he explores the world through trial and error,” said Maire Gorman, VP of sales and children’s marketing at Houghton Mifflin. “That’s why so many parents feel he’s a seminal character in terms of introducing a child to the world and explaining that it’s okay to make a mistake because that’s how you learn.”
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Before the age of mommy bloggers, there was Sharon DiMinico. A mother for the first time at age 38, DiMinico was careful to select the right toys for her children, paying special attention to the educational aspect of each toy and the importance of connecting the right toy to the right child.
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Over the last two years, Bravado International Group has more than doubled its top-line business and tripled its bottom-line results. The company started out as a small family-owned business 25 years ago, was sold to Sanctuary in 2002, and started making headway in the industry shortly thereafter. But 2007 brought with it a major change that transformed the music-related merchandiser into a one-stop shop: Universal Music Group acquired it.
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