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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Although Staples Canada’s colors are red and white, they might as well be green for all the sustainable practices the company has enlisted throughout its history. “What we’ve been doing lately is more of a flywheel effect,” said Steve Matyas, Staples Canada president. “We started off early making sure we were good environmental stewards, going back as far as the opening of our first store in 1991, and the momentum has never slowed.”

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In the past year, Pamida Stores Operating Co Inc. restructured, rebranded, and refocused its attentions based on three basic tenets: easy, reliable, and affordable. Getting all 204 of the discount retailer’s stores aligned from top to bottom took a lot of work, and is still in progress, but Ken Seipel said the company is already seeing results. 

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Each and every product on this earth has a life span,” said Tom Szaky, CEO and vice president of licensing and product development at TerraCycle, Inc. “The end-of-life reality of a bag of potato chips is that the food ends up in the toilet and the bag ends up in the garbage. Same with a pen; you buy a pen, the ink runs out. The only difference is, some products can be recycled easily and others not so easily.”

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