Building ties to its communities and investing in technology and facilities are part of the reasons why Clark’s Pump-N-Shop continues to grow.

By Eric Slack

Started more than 30 years ago in 1980 by John W. Clark and Diana Clark, Clark’s Pump-N-Shop has grown into a 63-store chain branded as Marathon and BP. Now co-owned by John’s sons, Rick and Brent (a third brother, Rodney, was also an owner but he passed away in January), the company’s locations can be found in Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Florida. Its footprint includes six car washes, six stores with Krispy Krunchy Chicken, three Clark’s Café’s, and 16 stores that have specialize in offering a grab-and-go menu.

“The big reason for our success is the 650 people that we employ,” co-owner Rick Clark says. “They show up every day to welcome our customers and keep our stores clean and appealing. We take great pride in customer service and clean stores.”


Tobacco Superstore has become one of the largest cigarette and tobacco retailers in the United States.

By Alan Dorich

Tobacco Superstore Inc. creates a friendly atmosphere in each of its locations, CFO and COO Joe Marelle says. In fact, some customers frequent its stores because they are used to its employees’ friendly faces, he says.

Those employees not only wait on the customer, but go the extra step of asking them about their day. “[That’s true] especially in our small town stores,” Marelle says. “We try to create a neighborhood atmosphere for the adult consumer.”

Based in Forrest City, Ark., Tobacco Superstore has 88 locations in four states that sell cigarettes, vapor and electronic cigarettes, premium cigars, pipe tobacco, moist snuff, food and beverages. Founder David Cohn founded the company in 1993 with a vision of opening the largest cigarette and tobacco store in the South.

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Pennsylvania-based Dutch-Way Farm Market serves its community through quality initiatives, unique recipe offerings and excellent customer service.

By Stephanie Crets

Through quality initiatives and top-notch service, Dutch-Way Farm Market always wants to do right by the customer. The company does that by serving customers in its three locations in Pennsylvania: Myerstown grocery store and restaurant; Gap grocery store, restaurant and hardware store; and Schaefferstown grocery store and restaurant – all under the Dutch-Way banner.

Founded in 1972, Dutch-Way began as a farmer’s market that grew into a supermarket with a small, diner-style restaurant attached to the building. The current owners, Rich High, Cliff Snader and Jeff Snader, then purchased the Gap location in 1994 from the original owner, David Martin, and expanded to the other two locations in 2001.

“When they expanded and rebuilt the new Myerstown location, they went out on a limb based on some other local stores that had a larger restaurant attached to it; that’s where we started doing buffets,” Director of Operations Jason Bennett explains. “They saw an opportunity and wanted to continue to expand how we do business. As that grew and became successful, that’s when I got more involved running the Myerstown location.”

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Arlan’s Market continues its expansion during its 25th anniversary year as it remodels its grocery stores in Texas.

By Russ Gager

Those looking for evidence of the importance of independent grocers in Texas need look no further than Crestview, a neighborhood of Austin. There, a neighborhood association closed off half the parking lot of an 11,000-square-foot grocery store founded in 1953 on the occasion of the owners’ retirement and the purchase of the business by Arlan’s Market, an independent grocery chain headquartered in Seabrook, Texas, near Houston.

“There must have been 400 or 500 people who showed up,” President Ames Arlan estimates. “The family run grocery store is very dear to the community, so they really came out in full support and did a really nice barbecue. The mom still worked here up until the last day – she’s 85 years old – and her sons worked here all their lives. One of the sons has been working there since he was 12 and he’s 65 now. So the entire family is retiring.”

Arlan’s Market is in the process of remodeling the store. “It’s our smallest store, but in a really neat neighborhood,” Arlan says. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to add a lot of organics, specialty items and new refrigerated cases. Most of the homes were built in the 1940s and ’50s. People have lived here since the 1950s and ’60s, and younger people are moving in.”

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