Benefit Cosmetics solidifies its place as the leader in brow products and services while it stays true to its customers’ beauty needs.
By Stephanie Crets
Are your brows behaving badly? Do you want your eyelashes to stand out? Do you need to minimize the dark circles under your eyes? Whatever the beauty dilemma, Benefit Cosmetics has the beauty solution.
“The great thing about Benefit is that it’s a brand for every gal,” Senior Vice President of Marketing Nicole Frusci says. “We are all about instant beauty solutions – looking at customer needs and solving their beauty dilemmas. From in-store to social media, we weave our DNA through everything we do. Bold and girly is one piece, along with laughter and fun, which are elements of the persona and personality of the brand that we try to live out loud every single day.”
With more than 1,800 locations worldwide in 47 markets, including 30 in the United States, Benefit products are widely accessible. Benefit offers several ways customers can purchase products: Benefit Boutiques, gondolas in beauty retailers such as Sephora, Ulta and Macy’s locations and all retailer websites including Birchbox.com. The boutiques set the pace for a salon-style experience, where the associates will take their time giving a service to the customer and offering tips and tricks. For the gondolas, however, Benefit has to compete with an array of other beauty brands.
“My approach is big, bold, girly and pink,” Senior Director of Visual Merchandising Ralph Johnson says. “We have kitschy, fun and playful marketing visuals, funny sayings and irreverent packaging, but we have to deliver on a serious product. We go the extra mile to create custom, quality packaging that stands out at retail. The product begs to be glorified in a special way with our creative fixtures. For example, our Roller Lash mascara is merchandised on a giant hair roller. We have the opportunity to be fun and crazy with each product.”
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HVHC’s Visionworks has been ranked #150 on Forbes’ national “Best Employers” list, among companies within a range of industries and institutions, and was also ranked #14 on the related “Best Employers in Texas” report. With feedback like that, it’s easy to see how exciting it is to be a part of the HVHC family. At a time when many companies are scaling back their employee and even customer experience, HVHC is showing the industry how to succeed.
To properly introduce HVHC, it’s necessary to understand just what comprises this quickly growing corporation. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, HVHC Inc. and its subsidiaries make up one of the largest vertically integrated optical companies in the United States and are leaders in integrated vision care solutions. HVHC is a three--spoke corporation comprised of national optical retailer, Visionworks, managed vision care provider; Davis Vision; and HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing, the operations arm that supports Visionworks and Davis Vision. These three branches interact in a mutually beneficial relationship, supporting each other’s industries and providing a comprehensive customer experience.
From its inception in 1984, Visionworks, then called Eye Care Centers of America, has been a retailer with a passion. Whether it’s providing regular eye exams to encourage health and wellness or helping a customer to express their individual style with dozens of top fashions, Visionworks goes well beyond the business of eyewear, creating a collective calling shared by every employee. This calling is to make sure that every customer that enters a Visionworks store leaves with the best possible vision and a style that fits their self-expression. “At the end of the day, people come to us because they want to have the best possible vision they can have,” Visionworks President and HVHC President and CEO Jim Eisen emphasizes. Visionworks takes that desire and makes it a company mission.
In 2006, Eye Care Centers of America and Davis Vision joined forces, providing members with access to the largest selection of fashionable eyewear. Founded 100 years ago as Davis Optical, Davis Vision now has more than 60,000 points of access, while remaining true to its family owned American roots and values. More than 22 million members enjoy the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost, due largely to the integrated business model of HVHC, which relies on Visionworks retail stores and wholly owned labs. While Visionworks offers its customers all the products and services necessary to serve their vision needs, Davis Vision improves on that experience through improved plan designs and ready access to high-quality, fashionable eyewear and state-of-the-art eye care services.
HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing provides the products and operations necessary to make Visionworks and Davis Vision the successes they are. HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing encompasses five fabrication labs and two distribution centers, all proudly based in the United States. With these resources, HVHC fabricated and delivered more than 4.8 million pairs of eyewear in 2016. By eliminating any intermediary, HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing is able to ensure that every product sold in a Visionworks store is of the highest quality and that out-of-pocket costs for Davis Vision customers are as low as possible. With unique partnerships, top expertise and advanced robotics and processing equipment, HVHC Distribution and Manufacturing brings Visionworks and Davis Vision to life.
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The ICEE Company sees continuing significant growth for its iconic frozen beverage treat as it prepares to celebrate 50 years.
By Stephanie Crets
It’s Friday night, and you’re relaxing after a long workweek with a trip to the movies with one of your friends. Before you find your seats, you approach the concession counter and see the variety of choices: candy boxes, pretzels and cheese sauce, mini pizzas and popcorn busting out of the popper. Then, you spot the red and blue striped cups on display and the Cherry and Blue Raspberry flavors mixing inside the machine, ready for you to indulge. Your decision is easily made, and you treat yourself to not only a big bag of buttery popcorn, but also an ICEE to enjoy with your movie.
And that’s what The ICEE Company is all about: reminding us that we deserve a treat. “It’s such an iconic, fun product,” President Dan Fachner says. “You can barely mention the name without having a smile on your face. What makes it so unique is that it’s fun and people think of it as a treat or reward or something special to get for their loved one or themselves when they are away from home. That’s what’s made it so strong over the years.”
ICEE has been around for 50 years and many consumers feel a nostalgic pull towards it. “All of us grew up being promised an ICEE from our parent or grandparent,” Fachner says. “That reward carries the nostalgic feel throughout generations. People usually associate ICEE nostalgically with a fun event that happened in their life, such as getting an ICEE after a baseball game or having one at the amusement park with their friends or family. The colors of the ICEE brand have a nostalgic, Americana feel, and people immediately recognize the red and blue striped cup, the ICEE polar bear, spoon straw and dome lid all as part of the original, official and authentic ICEE brand.”
The ICEE Company infuses a tremendous amount of fun into the brand thanks to the types of customers it does business with. ICEE frozen treats are found in a variety of retail locations, including movie theaters, amusement parks, convenience stores and mass-merchandisers. The ICEE Company has 75,000 locations nationally and continues to grow at a rapid pace, not just domestically but also internationally in countries such as China, Central and South America, Mexico, Spain, Europe and Australia. It is also growing into new, different categories such as Dollar Stores, fast casual dining and buffet style restaurants.
“We currently have some exciting opportunities internationally that will continue to grow,” Fachner relates. “Equally fast is our domestic growth, not only in traditional locations, but also in exciting new categories of business we continue to explore. Theater channel partnerships have proven to grow significantly and have now expanded into China and Europe.
“What we do well that has allowed us to grow is we are great marketers of a really good product and sell to strong partners and take care of them,” he continues. “We have passionate dedicated people who understand the product and the importance of customer service. We understand our customers and try to deliver the best product at the best pricing in the best package they’re looking for. All of those segments have become significant drivers in growing our brand strength. Our product stimulates your senses in a bold way, and we have a broad distribution that allows customers to get ICEE at a moment’s notice. ICEE is an authentic, classic brand that makes consumers part of a tradition and become storytellers.”
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Ollie’s Bargain Outlet says its value proposition and strong supply chain are key to its success.
By Chris Petersen
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet offers shoppers an experience unlike anything else in retail, and that has been a major component in its continued success and growth over the years. As Senior Director of Distribution Jeff Glass explains, the retailer compares the shopping experience at Ollie’s to a “treasure hunt,” where customers may not know exactly what they’ll find, but they know that whatever they find will be a great bargain.
With 234 stores in 19 states. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is one of the largest retailers specializing in closeout, excess inventory and salvage merchandise in the country. Founded in 1982 with the opening of its first store in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Ollie’s Bargain Outlet has grown significantly over the last decade, adding nearly 200 locations in the span of about 10 years. Although the value proposition the company offers its customers has a lot to do with that success, Glass says the company’s behind-the-scenes acumen also has played a substantial role in helping to foster its growth.
With a revitalized distribution network and an aggressive growth plan in place, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet has a bright outlook for the future, according to Glass. He says the company anticipates more growth in the years to come because it knows that there’s nothing shoppers like more than a good value, and they can find it at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet.
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Liquor Stores continues to grow in a very stable market.
By Alan Dorich
Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd. not only makes sure its stores have the beverages its clients want, but also quality employees to help them. “The company continues to focus on getting the best people on board so we offer some of the best retailing in North America,” President and CEO Stephen Bebis declares.
Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Liquor Stores has 252 locations across North America that sell adult beverages. The company’s history goes back to the early 1990s, when its home province’s government decided to privatize liquor retail.
Liquor Stores’ founders had worked in the real estate business and had several shopping centers in their portfolio. They decided to put liquor stores in their centers and purchased locations that were formerly owned by the government.
“They grew the business from zero to where it is today,” Bebis says, noting that the company has Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn locations in Alberta, British Columbia, Alaska, Kentucky and Connecticut. “We’re one of the top specialty retailers in North America.”
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Accent Food Services has built its reputation in Texas by emphasizing the importance of its customers and employees.
By Bianca Herron
Accent Food Services is the leading provider of vending, coffee and break room refreshment services in the State of Texas. Tom & Rhonda Hawkins founded the company in 1994 initially as a vending company for snacks and beverages, but quickly realized the opportunity to broaden scope as technology firms established in Austin, offered a much broader breakroom offering than the norm.
“In our region at that particular time, many operators either offered snacks or coffee,” CEO and President Josh Rosenberg says. “Hawkins brought them both together to broaden the company service lines. In 1994, we were a $1 million company. Today, our revenue is now pacing $72 million with pending acquisitions that will take us to more than $100 million by the end of the year.”
The market has evolved and Accent Food Services has grown with it, says Rosenberg, noting that nearly six years ago the industry produced its most progressive innovation yet: micro markets. “They are unattended retail stores within the work place,” he says. “We’ve grown that business from zero stores to more than 350, which has equated to more than $20 million in total revenue. It’s taken the industry by storm.”
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Empire Petroleum Partners develops programs to boost sales for independent gas station operators.
By Tim O’Connor
Fuel distributor Empire Petroleum was founded in 1998, but today’s incarnation of the company truly started in 2011 when it merged with Quikway to create a larger customer network. Since then it has grown more than five fold. The company now supplies more than a billion gallons of fuel to 1,200 independent filling station operators annually, making it one of the top gasoline distributors in the United States.
The company primarily serves gas stations in southwest Texas, Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Southeast, but brings its commitment to customer support to hundreds of new independent dealers every year. For many customers, Empire Petroleum is more than just a fuel seller. It is a partner who can support every facet of their business from store operation to credit card systems, insurance and equipment leasing.
Unlike some distributors, Empire Petroleum only operates a few of its own locations, which are mainly used as test sites for new programs and promotions. “We are 100 percent dedicated to servicing, supplying and interacting with independent dealers,” CEO Hank Heithaus says.
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Super King Markets provides next-level service by staying abreast of its customers’ demands and hiring knowledgeable personnel to help guide them through the shopping experience.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers
Super King Markets is known as the go-to supermarket in southern California to find the largest variety of international foods and knowledgeable employees who help customers find exactly what they are looking for. “Southern California is a melting pot with tremendous ethnic diversity,” General Manager Daniel Barth explains. “All of those people shop in our stores. People from all over the world and from different ethnic backgrounds like our store for different reasons.”
The Los Angeles-based supermarket offers foods from customers’ home countries and unique offerings, as well as traditional supermarket items all in a bright, clean, well-staffed and stocked store with aggressive retail prices. Founded in 1993, Super King Markets remains a family owned and operated company.
“We are learning about what our customers want all the time,” Barth notes. “We have a good idea up through today at noon, but we are learning all the time by listening, talking to our employees and talking to the shoppers. The promotional mix as well as the product mix is evolving all the time. We know what we know now.”
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