Welch Foods is known for its 100 percent grape juice and grape jelly. In fact, in 1869, its founder invented the modern, unfermented juice version we drink today. But in recent years, the company has been extending its licensed portfolio into other products – ones that have a logical relationship to the Welch’s brand – through selective licensing partnerships.

“As an industry leader with an iconic brand, a 145-year history and more than 100 flavor profiles available to license, Welch’s has the ability to create strong partnerships,” says Glenn Hendricks, head of global licensing. “The toughest part is picking which companies to work with.”

The goal, Hendricks explains, is to build on the company’s heritage. “We want to tie every partnership back to our various core product lines; 100 percent, Chillers, Essentials, sparkling, soda, jam, jelly and spreads,” he says, “because we want to get the Welch’s brand in front of more people in more places.”

This past winter, Welch’s announced it was adding three new items to its licensed product portfolio: PB&J snacks, Fruit and Veggie Smoothie Kits and sparkling drink concentrates.

Read more: Welch Foods

Founded in 2001 by CEO Dave Cook and President and COO Dave Eckley, TradeGlobal assists retailers and brands with technology and processes to manage the direct-to-consumer channel. Over the last decade-plus, the business has grown dramatically by sticking to its core values of integrity, innovation and execution along with its founding principles of customer, profitability and team. 

“We pride ourselves on having the discipline to do what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it, to continue to add new services and technologies as part of a consistent process of innovation and our commitment to day-to-day blocking and tackling that is the hallmark of our business,” Eckley says. 

Read more: TradeGlobal

Stinker Stores operates 68 retail sites in Idaho, 62 of which sell gasoline. It covers a vast landscape of 600 miles in the large state.

“Retail is what we do,” says Charley Jones, president and CEO. 

Westpoint Transportation and ArrowRock Supply are two sister companies working with Stinker Stores. Westpoint supplies stores with fuel transportation and wholesale fuel supply. ArrowRock Supply is Stinker’s wholesale provider of consumer staples not otherwise delivered by companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi or Budweiser and MillerCoors, for example, focusing primarily on tobacco and also candy. 

Read more: Stinker Stores

At the age of 46, Steve Norman was out of a job, had two kids in college and a big mortgage. He had enough socked away to survive for a little while, but certainly not in the lifestyle to which his family was accustomed. He had to come up with a plan.

Norman had a background in wholesale distribution to convenience stores, and he decided to start a chain of cigarette/tobacco stores in West Virginia. He did market research and determined the area he was targeting could probably support 10 such stores eventually. He put together a business plan with all his analysis and projections and got a bank loan for $100,000. 

Read more: Smoker Friendly

A few years ago, people thought of convenience stores as merely places where they bought fuel and picked up a quick snack. But times have changed, and Sheetz Inc. has even been ahead of the curve with stores that offer a menu of items.

“We’re pretty progressive,” Executive Vice President of Operations Travis Sheetz says. “Foodservice is something a lot of convenience stores are getting into, [but] we’ve been into it for 25 years.”

Read more: Sheetz Inc.

Robert Graham may be a men’s luxury fashion brand, but it has already built a strong following by shunning the typical and embracing the bold. Based in New York and launched in 2001, the company takes its name from co-founder Robert Stock, a fashion designer, and former co-founder Graham Fowler, a textile designer.  It is known for complex and colorful patterns that have allowed it to fill a niche in the menswear market.

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Herdrich Petroleum Corp. is working to open more Quickpix convenience stores throughout rural communities in Indiana. With its focus hard set on expansion, the company is streamlining its operations to become more efficient as more locations open. 

The family owned company dates back to 1953 when Jim Herdrich founded Herdrich Oil Co. in Connersville, Ind. In 1986, Bill Herdrich – Jim Herdrich’s son and current company president – formed Herdrich Petroleum in Rushville, Ind., after merging Browning & Herdrich Co., a fuel supply company he founded, with Herdrich Oil. 

Read more: Herdrich Petroleum Corp.

For a while in the grocery business, getting bigger was the goal, but now the big-box mega-retailers are trying to fit their stores into smaller locations emphasizing groceries. When doing this on Long Island, N.Y., they may run into the 11 locations of Handy Pantry Food Stores, which has been practicing the business model of having everything people want with a friendly, neighborhood feel since 1976.

Read more: Handy Pantry Food Stores

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