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Hanky Panky’s intimate apparel is known as much for its comfort as for its fashionable designs.
By Chris Petersen

It’s said that a Hanky Panky thong is sold every 10 seconds, and for good reason. The New York City-based lingerie and sleepwear company’s unique thong panty design has been recognized far and wide as the most comfortable in the world, and that has helped solidify the company’s status as one of the leading designers and producers of women’s intimate apparel in the country. What’s even more incredible is that the company’s rise to success started with a simple gesture of friendship.

Co-founder Gale Epstein was working as a fashion designer in 1977 supplying unique designs to small boutiques while working for larger companies. While playing around with embroidered handkerchiefs, she got the idea to use them to create a handmade set of lingerie as a birthday gift for her friend, Lida Orzeck. “She loved it, and we realized that maybe other women would like something like that, too,” Epstein says.

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Shiekh Shoes is focused on knowing the minds of its target customers and putting the physical and virtual assets in place to reach them.

By Eric Slack

Based in Ontario, Calif., Shiekh Shoes has carved out a strong niche for itself as a footwear and apparel retailer. Founded by Shiekh Ellahi in 1991, the company now operates more than 130 stores throughout the West Coast and Southwest. Currently, Shiekh Shoes is working on ways to make the most of its brick-and-mortar and e-commerce footprint.

“The company has created a strong business by building ties to loyal consumers,” President Matt Fine says. “Now we are working on redefining the business and building the infrastructure to support future growth.”


Leveraging technology and providing support to franchisees help Great Clips provide hair care services across North America.

By Eric Slack

Headquartered in Minneapolis and approaching 4,000 locations across the United States and Canada, Great Clips is the world’s leading hair salon brand. The company’s growth has come about thanks to its ability to provide consumers with high-quality/low-cost hair care while providing a low-cost/high-growth opportunity to franchisees.

“Our franchising program is a strength that helped us to grow, and we’ve seen very consistent growth,” CEO Rhoda Olsen says. “We’ve averaged an addition of around 200 salons each year over the last 10 to 12 years. This year, we will reach our 47th consecutive quarter of same-salon sales increases after having hit our 43rd consecutive quarter of same-salon customer growth.”

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Paul Fredrick designs, manufactures and directly distributes every item in its collection, helping it grow its base of satisfied customers.

By Eric Slack

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016, Paul Fredrick is a small company based in Fleetwood, Pa. Started as a shirt-only manufacturer and producing shirts for many of the country's preeminent men's retailers, the company has long since taken its products and their exceptional introductory prices directly to customers.

“Over the years, we have remained true to our original proposition while adding complementary product categories,” President Lyle Croft says. “We started with dress shirts, and these remain the base of our business today. We still offer what we feel is the best off-the-shelf dress shirt available in the men's arena for a very compelling price. As we have added new categories, we have worked very hard to take the guesswork of coordinating for our customers.”

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Smith Drug Co. is transitioning from wholesaler to a complete provider for independent pharmacists.
By Tim O’Connor

At prescription and over-the-counter drug wholesaler Smith Drug Co. the focus is on not only supplying its customers, but truly understanding how it can improve the pharmacy business. The company values people who have seen the industry from its buyers’ perspectives. Many on the leadership team, including President Jeff Foreman Rph, previously worked as pharmacists and former apothecaries lead many of the company’s initiatives. “I think it provides a unique advantage because we all have been where our customers are,” Foreman explains.

Smith Drug Co. wants to wield its leaders’ pharmacy backgrounds to provide consulting on the back end and help its customers move their businesses forward. “It’s not just about providing drugs at a good price but helping them create success in this new world we’re in now,” Foreman says. “If done right, independent [pharmacists] can absolutely win in the marketplace. Our goal is to give them the tools and guidance to make that happen.”

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Offering a wide product selection in-store and online, Altmeyer's Bed, Bath & Home has grown to serve the greater Pittsburgh market and beyond.

By Eric Slack

Founded in 1941, Altmeyer's Bed, Bath & Home has come a long way from the first Altmeyer Home Store in New Kensington, Pa. Over time, the company has made itself a part of its communities, and today Altmeyer's Bed, Bath & Home includes 11 stores serving Pennsylvania residents.

“We’ve built a fairly strong presence in the sector and our business holds up against larger competitors,” President Robert Altmeyer says. “We offer a comfortable shopping experience for our customers.”


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