Waters True Value does not let its history or family ownership keep it from innovating with new products, methods and layouts for its seven Kansas stores.

By Russ Gager

Being innovative and not being afraid to try new products has kept Waters True Value hardware stores prospering for six generations since 1894. For more than a century, the Kansas stores have evolved their product mixes as times and tastes have changed. In the 1950s, the store sold farm implements such as tractor plows and feeders. It also has at various times sold motorcycles, motorboats, sporting goods, firearms and appliances, but not anymore.

Now the product mix at the seven stores – serving Dodge City, Emporia, Great Bend, Junction City, Manhattan, Salina and Wamego, Kan. – includes a full line of hardware, farm, ranch and pet supplies, gifts and a rental division. “We change throughout the years to what our markets need,” President and CEO Scott Waters points out.

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Santa Fe Springs Office

7-Eleven is working with its franchisees to understand how daily ordering patterns can impact the supply chain.

By Tim O’Connor

7-Eleven Inc. is the leading name and most prevalent chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Irving, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses some 10,700 7-Eleven stores in North America and each store provides approximately 2,500 different products and services that are designed to meet the needs of specific individual localities. Worldwide, there are more than 58,841 7-Eleven stores in 18 countries.

Of the 10,700 7-Eleven stores operating in North America, only a small percentage have anything resembling a backroom for stocking inventory. When the Twinkies run out, employees can’t simply go into the backroom and unload another case of the tasty snack cakes. Instead, 7-Eleven keeps their store shelves stocked by making daily deliveries to every store using a complex but very effective supply chain.

Carters SM

Strong personal belief, as well as a philosophy of customer service and employee satisfaction, guide Carter’s Supermarket’s owners through competitive and other challenges.

By Jim Harris

Carter’s Supermarket’s owners know the company faces a significant challenge from big-box and other national retailers setting up shop in its home base in Livingston Parish in Louisiana. The stores’ dedication to customer service and the strong religious conviction of its owners, however, allow it to meet and rise above adversity.


Bolla drives for perfection in its stores and other businesses.

By Alan Dorich

For more than 30 years, Bolla Corp. has thrived under the strategic leadership of its founder, President and CEO Harry Singh. “He has always done what’s right for the business and surrounds himself with an industry leading team,” Director of Marketing Brett Atherton says.


Benzer Pharmacy offers independent pharmacies support against the national chains.

By Chris Petersen

For generations, the mom-and-pop drugstore was a fixture of American life, but over the years the pharmacy landscape has come to be dominated by the rise of chains. However, that dominance is somewhat misleading, as Benzer Pharmacy President Alpesh Patel explains. Although large pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens certainly make up a large portion of the market, the independent pharmacy remains a significant force. “If you see the numbers, there are about 28,000 independent pharmacies, as opposed to 10,000 for CVS or Walgreens,” Patel says.

Americas Food Basket

America’s Food Basket is growing on the foundation

CEO Dan Cabassa laid for the company in 2012.

By Tim O’Connor

The  competitive advantage of America’s Food Basket is that, while unified, the supermarket co-op is owned and operated by its members, CEO Dan Cabassa explains. This structure allows the individual storeowners to receive the support of the larger brand but still run their stores as they see fit. It’s a setup that demands a hands-on approach to be successful. “Our owners are in their stores every single day so they keep their pulse on their business,” Cabassa says.


Buy for Less, Super Mercado and Uptown Grocery Co. serve the diverse population of the Oklahoma City metro area with fresh products and excellent customer service.

By Stephanie Crets

Husband-and-wife team Hank and Susan Binkowski have been running a series of grocery stores across the Oklahoma City metro area since 1988. They’ve gradually expanded over the last 28 years and now own nine Buy for Less stores, four Super Mercados and two Uptown Grocery Co. locations.

Every store is different, catering to the demographic area it serves, but still maintaining its commitment to selling fresh, diverse and economical food products. “We try to take a location where we have a store or a projected store and marry it to the community it’s in,” President and CEO Hank Binkowski says. “The differences are all over the demographic board, but we have some services that are limited, depending on the store.”

The Uptown Grocery locations tend to be the most abundant in services with event planning, a floral business and catering services for weddings and wakes. In addition, they offer a plentiful amount of organic products, but customers can still find everyday groceries as well. It’s also become a place for a variety of people to spend time drinking coffee, having a glass of wine, attending a cooking class or even holding meetings.

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Doug Williams 2014 Suit

W Diamond Group brings enthusiasm to the world of men’s fashion and gives back to its community through employment initiatives.

By Stephanie Crets

Suits are a staple of men’s fashion and continuously evolve with the times and trends. Sometimes they’re long or short, lapels are wider or thinner and sometimes there are two buttons instead of three. “The real evolution and expectation today from the consumer, comes down to comfort and performance,” owner and CEO of W Diamond Group Corporation Doug Williams says. “Whether it’s offering fabrics that have stretch materials to create comfort or adding a hidden pocket to hold a smartphone, we’re doing that. We adapt the inner workings of a suit to how the consumer lives his life today.”

When it comes to W Diamond Group’s customer, it’s a broad range from the college kid needing his first interview suit to the professional banker and older. The company sells three distinct garment fits: the Chicago model for the more mature customer, the New York model that’s relevant to all customers and the Los Angeles model, which has trimmer fit, shorter body and tailored to a younger, fashion-forward customer.

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