Whether selling direct-to-consumer or developing its own products, the team at C&A Marketing is successful because of its vision, commitment and creativity. “There’s no magic at play,” Executive Vice President Chaim Pikarski says. “People believe I have a secret formula, but it’s just about doing a lot of things right.”

C&A Marketing is the exclusive manufacturer, engineer, distributor, developer and marketer for Polaroid brand photography equipment and accessories. The company operates other photo businesses such as Ritz Camera and Image, RitzPix, Wolf Camera, Inkley’s Camera World and Calumet Photographic. It distributes tens of thousands of SKUs online and at 15 retail locations including its Ritz, Wolf and Calumet brand stores.

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Treat people well and they’ll come back – that is the secret to Brandi Companies success. “I’m a firm believer that if you treat a person like you want to be treated you will have success,” President Bob Brandi says.

The company operates 32 Pitt Stop gas stations within a 20-mile radius of Columbia, S.C. The company also has 19 locations with Burger King franchises, five with Subways and five Blimpies. Its locations distribute Shell and ExxonMobil petroleum. 

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When Intersport International (IIC) acquired The Athlete’s Foot in 2012, the parent company knew early on that the potential for growth was great. But instead of embarking on a sprint, the company, which now owns retail banners INTERSPORT and The Athlete’s Foot, approached the task as more of a marathon. 

“IIC is not a boom-and-bust type of organization; it has always had the long-term in mind,” explains Ingmar Kraak, global CEO of The Athlete’s Foot. “This is not a public company that has to answer to Wall Street with quarterly reports; it actually has a background as a co-op, a buying group. So when they acquired The Athlete’s Foot, they wanted to make something great out of it.”

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Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar is the place to be in Pennsylvania for the big game, date night or night out with friends. “We are a non-traditional casual sports bar with a focus on quality food and offering a great value to our guests,” Co-Founder and President Gary Huether Jr. says. 

The Harrisburg, Pa.- based company was founded in 2008 by Huether and Mike Murphy and offers a diverse menu. The highlights include fresh antibiotic- and hormone-free Kobe/Wagyu burgers, its signature Maryland Crab stuffed pretzel cheesesteaks, salads and flatbread pizza, but the restaurant is best known for its extra large wings, Huether says. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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

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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