Burnstad’s Market’s owners, managers and staff all share a single philosophy when it comes to the store’s operation. “We have one belief and focus, and that is exceeding our guests’ expectations,” says Derek Burnstad, vice president and director of retail operations for the Tomah, Wis.-based grocery store.

 This focus – which the family owned company formalized 10 years ago as its official mission statement – influences every single aspect of Burnstad’s from hiring and staff development to recent investments in technology and renovations. Every management and staff meeting begins with a recitation of the mission, and all ongoing employee development programs have guest services as a main objective.

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Art Van Furniture feels right at home in Michigan, and that’s fitting because the state’s largest furniture retailer has been helping customers feel at home for more than 50 years. Thanks to a reputation for quality products and top-notch customer service, the company has been growing consistently for more than five decades and shows no signs of slowing down. 

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Founded in 1982, ABS By Allen Schwartz brings the collection to the market every month. ABS By Allen Schwartz is known for its quick response and speed to market, while its namesake has become a well-known designer whose creations have an aesthetic appeal that could translate everywhere for consumers – from street chic to the red carpet. “There is nothing we haven’t done or made,” Schwartz explains. “We offer a complete fashion lifestyle.”

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Pilot Flying J does not take lightly its mission statement of “making life better for America’s drivers.” The company, formed in 2010 following the merger of longstanding travel center brands Pilot Travel Centers LLC and Flying J. Inc., recently invested more than two years and $200 million dollars to improve its existing travel center facilities and expand its offerings.

“Almost every dime of the capital we’ve put into our business during the last few years has been in response to our customers asking for something different, better or improved,” says Tim Purcell, director of merchandising for the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company.

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Everybody loves a grilled cheese sandwich, but where can you find a gourmet’s selection of them? At Murray’s Melts, a grilled cheese counter inside Murray’s Cheese shop, which claims to be the oldest cheese shop in New York City. A new concept that Murray’s Cheese is trying three doors down from its original Bleecker Street location is Murray’s Cheese Bar, where some of the hundreds of varieties of cheese it sells can be sampled and consumed on-site with wine and beer.

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Not every retailer strives to instill the tenets of exceptional hospitality into their operations. The Meat House is one company that does. Perhaps that is why the company has grown from its debut in Portsmouth, N.H., in 2003 to more than 30 stores in 11 states, and even more on the way.

“We started out trying to bring a level of customer service to a retail setting that you’d find in a restaurant,” co-founder and CEO Justin Rosberg says. “Yes, our origins are as a butcher shop, but we’ve always operated with a mindset of offering unrivaled hospitality that you can’t find in other places.”

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As Lawtons Drugs has grown over the past 106 years, the pharmacy retailer has not let its values falter. Instead, the company says it has shown “integrity, commitment to its employees, and a desire to consistently exceed customer expectations in service, value and product selection.”

The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada-based company started operations with a small pharmacy in Newfoundland in 1907. Today, Lawtons Drugs is part of Sobeys Inc. and has grown to more than 80 locations in Atlantic Canada.

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With the tagline “close to home,” Facemire Foodland’s stores demonstrate that its primary commitment is to remaining a key figure in the communities in which it operates, as well as supporting local endeavors and organizations. The West Virginia-based group of independently owned and operated grocery stores remains dedicated to meeting its customers needs and providing the best value.

“Foodland stores are locally owned and operated, dedicated members of the communities we serve and always close to home,” the company says. “So whether customers have just moved in or they have grown up in the area, they’ll feel like family in our stores.”

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