LumimexLuminex Home Décor & Fragrance is launching new products and investing in technology. By Kat Zeman

Luminex Home Décor & Fragrance is looking forward to an exciting fall season for its Candle-lite Company and PartyLite businesses.

Founded in May 2016, the Cincinnati-based company is the result of a merger between Candle-lite and PartyLite. Under the umbrella of Luminex, the two brands are launching a variety of new candles and accessories this fall.

Busy BeeBusy Bee is spreading its wings in Florida and Georgia. By Kat Zeman

As queen bee, Elizabeth Waring knows she can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. She watches over her colony with passion and works hard to keep it productive.

“I couldn’t be an effective leader without having an innate passion for every meticulous detail about our Busy Bee brand and the execution of our operations,” says Waring, president and CEO of Busy Bee Convenience Stores. “Everything that we build in and around our brand represents our passion and vision coming to fruition … We want our hives to be the destination for our guests.”

Family owned since 1935, Busy Bee operates a total of 18 convenience stores in Florida and Georgia, where it plans to expand in the next few years. Though it has no immediate plans to franchise, “it’s something that we are open to as we grow,” Waring says.

Coen OilCoen is far from finished in making its business better. By Alan Dorich

Coen Oil Company thrives as a family owned business in its home state of Pennsylvania. “We were born here and raised here in our market,” Chairman Charles C. McIlvaine declares, noting that the Coen name has consumer recognition locally. “We have a very long history of serving our customers since 1923, and have a track record of community involvement.”

Based in Washington, Pa., Coen operates convenience stores, distributes petroleum and provides energy field services. Coen began in 1923 with World War I war bonds funding two trucks that hauled fuel for customers. Later, McIlvaine’s grandfather Charles Coen grew the company to be one of the largest jobberships East of the Mississippi with over 400 dealer locations.

“The original direct operation store was located across the street from our old headquarters and provided a daily reminder of our roots,” McIlvaine explains. McIlvaine and his brother, Andy, who is the company’s president, bought Coen in 2000 from various family members. Today, it has multiple businesses, including Coen Energy, one of the largest fuel distribution and energy services companies in the Pittsburgh area; Coen Tire, a retail tire platform; and Coen Transport, a commercial fuel hauler.

Boston ProperBoston Proper believes the future of retail success lies in fostering authentic relationships not only with customers, but with each other. By Bianca Herron

While both the times and technology have evolved over the years, Boston Proper has always been able to adapt while staying true to their mantra: “We’re not from Boston and we’re definitely not proper, but we are unexpected and have been for 25 years.”

According to President and CMO, Sheryl Clark, the brand’s mission is to bring the runway to real women with fearlessly feminine collections designed and curated to be noticed. The Boca, Raton, Fla.-based company’s target demographic is women between the ages of 35-65, but they don’t obsess over age.

“We cater to an attitude,” Clark says. “While we may have an age demographic, it’s more of an internal guardrail so we stay focused and curate appropriately. Our goal is for women to know when they choose Boston Proper they can feel confident and wear it like no one else.”

WallisWallis Companies continues to grow and extend the legacy of founder Bill Wallis. By Alan Dorich

After nearly 50 years, Wallis Companies continues to thrive by maintaining the values that were held close by its late founder, Bill Wallis. “If my dad were alive today, he would say his success was directly related to three key components,” says Rachel Wallis Andreasson, his daughter.

“The first would be the great people that work at Wallis, the second being the focus on taking care of the customer, and the third reason is the company’s philosophy of growth and taking advantage of opportunities,” she describes. “Those same factors remain true today.”

Wallis, who died in 2001, also believed in creating an enjoyable workplace for employees. “In addition to his beliefs to always take care of your customers and family, he wanted everyone to have a lot of fun and laughter along the way,” Andreasson says.

Pump N PantryPump N Pantry serves up nothing but the best in food and beverages for its communities in rural Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Skylar Robinson) By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

As more convenience stores step up their foodservice game, Pump N Pantry says it has been ahead of the curve and “doing it right” for a long time. Known as the hometown store in 15 communities throughout northeastern Pennsylvania, Pump N Pantry considers itself a restaurant that also sells gas.

“Our slogan is, ‘Good Food. Need We Say More?’” says Wade Robinson, foodservice supervisor and digital marketing manager. “In the areas we serve, we are known as the go-to pizza and sub shop because we bake our own bread and make our pizzas and subs right in front of the customer.”

Southwest GeorgiaSouthwest Georgia Oil will bring its convenience stores under one banner with the Sunstop brand. By Tim O’Connor

For the bulk of Southwest Georgia Oil’s 56-year history, it was a small collection of convenience stores and gas stations. At the beginning of 2015, the company had only 25 stores, mostly in Georgia. That began to change that year when the company found an opportunity for rapid expansion.

“About two years ago, we tripled our company overnight,” Brand Manager Spencer Thomas says. “We acquired the S&S brand out of Lake City, Fla., and acquired 44 stores.”

S&S was a perfect fit for Southwest Georgia Oil’s culture. The group of convenience store gas stations spurned offers from larger brands to seek a smaller buyer that could be more hands-on with its customers and employees. It found that ideal buyer in Southwest Georgia Oil.

Shoe MillShoe Mill aims to expand its footprint by continuing to improve the high-quality level of customer service for which it is known. By Bianca Herron

Shoe Mill is an independent, family-owned fine footwear retail company that owns and operates eight stores in the Pacific Northwest. For 39 years, the Portland, Ore.-based company has prided itself on offering customers a compelling merchandise mix and an unmatched level of caring customer service.

Today, Ed Habre, president and CEO of Shoe Mill, oversees the company with his sister Tamara St. Cyr, who serves as vice president of finance. Habre’s parents founded the company in 1978 and his four sons – Jared, Josh, Joel and Jordan Habre, along with their cousin Shane St. Cyr – are also now integral to the present and future success of the company.

“It’s a pleasure to come to work every day and not only have the opportunity to hang out with my sons, but also to watch them grow and mature in the business,” Ed Habre says. He adds that he’s most proud that his sons have earned their respective roles by merit and not because they carry the family name.

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