As an independent bookseller, Joseph-Beth Booksellers has dealt with a great deal of change in recent years. But the company believes it has a strong foundation and offers a unique experience that can help it grow in the future.
“We’re one of largest independent booksellers in the United States,” President and CEO Mark Wilson says. “What makes us unique is our store-within-a-store concept.”
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Success is difficult to achieve unless everyone involved feels fully invested in achieving that success, and Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker understands that. He says this is a major component of what makes the Midwestern supermarket chain one of the top-20 supermarket chains and one of Forbes’ top 50-private companies.
“I think one of our key strengths that make us stand out is our commitment to employee ownership,” Edeker says.
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Born in April 2012, Grumpy Cat’s real name is Tardar Sauce. She is a female cat that appears permanently grumpy because she has feline dwarfism. Her celebrity status has grown ever since her owner’s brother posted a picture of Grumpy Cat on Reddit in September 2012.
In January 2013, Grumpy Cat Inc. Corp. Ohio applied to trademark the “Grumpy Cat” phrase, as well as an image of the cat. Managing Grumpy Cat is Ben Lashes, an experienced Internet meme talent manager who specializes in cats and also represents Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat. In response to the explosion in Grumpy Cat’s popularity, her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, has taken a leave of absence from work to manage the cat’s schedule. Her brother Bryan – the man who posted the first Grumpy Cat photo on Reddit - manages Grumpy Cat’s website, as well as her Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages.
Ever since the first Grumpy Cat photo found its way onto the web, the Grumpy Cat phenomenon has grown. The original photo became an image macro featuring different captions, and Grumpy Cat’s online presence has grown by leaps and bounds over time.
"The Official Grumpy Cat" Facebook page has grown to more then 2 million likes, while the @RealGrumpyCat Twitter page has more than 120,000 followers. “The Official Grumpy Cat” YouTube channel has nearly 145,000 subscribers, and the original Grumpy Cat video has more than 13 million views. Grumpy Cat also appeared in episodes of the Friskies YouTube game show "Will Kitty Play With It?"
Licensed merchandise and books have taken off as Grumpy Cat’s popularity has expanded. Chronicle Books published the official Grumpy Cat book in July 2013, titled Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book. Available in print and digital formats from retailers worldwide, it debuted as No. 8 on Hardcover Nonfiction on Publishers Weekly's bestseller list and as No. 7 on the New York Times Best Seller List. Chronicle Books also published The Grumpy Cat 2014 Wall Calendar in July 2013.
As for merchandise such as t-shirts and mugs, they are advertised on the Grumpy Cat website and sold at Hot Topic. Other items, like plush toys, are in development. Grumpy Cat has even reached into the food and beverage space, as Grenade Beverage LLC makes Grumpy Cat "Grumpuccino" iced coffee beverages.
Grumpy Cat has also found her image and presence expanding through traditional media. In fact, various news outlets have picked up on the story of Grumpy Cat. In print media, she has been featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and the cover of New York Magazine. She has also been featured in Time and Forbes. On television, Grumpy Cat has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, Anderson Live, VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live and The Soup.
Additionally, Grumpy Cat was in the Lil Bub & Friendz documentary, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2013. The film won the Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature Film.
Personal appearances have also been a large part of continuing to build on Grumpy Cat’s viral success story. In March 2013, Grumpy Cat attended SXSW Interactive. CNN, CBS and CNET all called Grumpy Cat the biggest star of SXSW Interactive 2013.
Grumpy Cat has also appeared on the "Garage Logic" radio broadcast during the second annual Internet Cat Video Film Festival at the Minnesota State Fair in August 2013. Grumpy Cat also met up with Lil Bub at the festival.
Recently, Grumpy Cat headed to Disneyland Park in November 2013. She hung out with Grumpy, the dwarf from Snow White, near Sleeping Beauty Castle before heading over to Mickey’s Toontown and Pluto’s house. Her appearance at Disneyland came about as part of the Show Your Disney Side campaign, which invited dozens of Internet celebrities to tour the park.
Appearances have also helped to drive attention to her retail products. For example, Grumpy Cate has promoted Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book at BookExpo America, and she attended the book's launch at Kitson and The Grove's Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles.
Grumpy Cat has already accomplished more in her short life than most cats will accomplish in all nine. MSNBC named Grumpy Cat 2012's most influential cat. She won BuzzFeed's Meme of the Year Award at the 2013 Webby Awards. Grumpy Cat also won first prize Golden Kitty at the second annual Internet Cat Video Film Festival, and she won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Friskies Awards. There may even be a movie in her future, as Broken Road Productions optioned Grumpy Cat for a film adaptation in May 2013.
The shelf life of Internet viral sensations can be short, but Grumpy Cat’s handlers believe they have found something special. By getting the Grumpy Cat likeness onto the right items and getting Grumpy Cat out in front of the right audiences, they feel that the Grumpy Cat phenomenon is here to stay.
Danny’s Family Car Wash goes far beyond its name in the services it offers to customers. The company, established in 1984 as a single location offering only car washing, today has evolved to become a one-stop shop for auto care and more.
The business’ 13 full-service locations in Gilbert, Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Peoria, Ariz., offer automatic full-service, hand wash and express wash options. Danny’s washing process uses only soft cloths and no brushes and harsh chemicals. Danny’s cleaning services don’t stop at the outside of the vehicle, because it also offers interior services including seat cleaning; carpet and mat cleaning; door, dash and console cleaning; new carpets, mats and seats; and odor removal, the company says.
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The latest tablet and laptop computers, Ultra HDTVs with four times the resolution of HDTVs, gaming systems, home theater audio systems, digital cameras and camcorders along with all the necessary accessories – all can be found in the electronics departments of Conn’s 70-plus stores throughout the Southwest and on its website.
The company’s concentration on the profitable portions of the electronics industry has enabled it to improve its profitability at a time when commoditization of the market is much too rampant for many retailers’ comfort. While some retailers are abandoning the electronics category and others went bankrupt during the last recession or survived it but are struggling now, Conn’s is committed to keeping electronics profitable in its product mix of appliances, furniture, mattresses and lawn equipment.
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When it comes to retail, consumers have several reasons why they choose one store over another. Builder Appliance Center (BAC) of Englewood, Colo., however, is very clear about why it is the only choice, and continuously works to ensure it meets the market’s needs in a variety of ways. Customer service, for example, always remains prominent in the company’s daily operations.
“BAC has a strong commitment to customer service,” the company says. “We have an in-house customer service representative who has more than 10 years in the appliance business and is a single point of contact that will coordinate service calls on any unit. BAC is also the only appliance dealer that has an exclusive project management team. This is a great benefit to [customers] because they don’t have to depend on just one person having responsibility for their project.”
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A legacy of family ownership and a team of dedicated and experienced employees combine to make Bronson’s Marketplace a success. “Our base really comes from my parents Rich and Karen Bronson, who started the store in 1979,” says co-owner Kim Kessler. “They really worked to get the store to where it is today and built a strong business with great employees.”
Managers Russ Winkler, Kim Pachl, Suzeann Jankowski, Rick Miller and Connie Sailer, who started working in the store under Kessler’s parents, remain there. Several other employees are also long-tenured. “Our employees truly care about the store and are very dedicated,” Kessler says.
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At Wedge Community Co-op, a large percentage of its shoppers are not only customers, but also the store’s owners, CEO Josh Resnik says. “Seventy-eight percent of our sales are to people who are members of the co-op,” he says.
This has motivated the store’s employees to make sure they are providing its customers with top service. “They really help guide you through the shopping process,” Resnik continues.
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