After nearly seven decades, Howard’s TV & Appliance’s size and product mix have grown, but its philosophy has stayed the same. “We maintain an old-school approach,” President and CEO John Wilkerson asserts. “We want customers to know that we want them to be satisfied.”

La Habra, Calif.-based Howard’s operates 12 appliance and electronics stores in the greater Los Angeles area. Howard Roach founded the company in 1946, but started his career repairing televisions in the back room of a sporting goods store.

Eventually, Roach grew into TV sales when he opened a small store in San Gabriel, Calif. Over time, he acquired adjacent businesses and added appliances, personal audio, stereo and accessories to his product lines.


The iconic Hooters girl remains, as does the owl featured in the logo. A wide selection of tasty chicken wings are still on the menu, and the restaurant is still a great gathering place for friends watching a game or a family celebrating a special occasion. However, Hooters has made some significant changes since a renovation kicked off three years ago, and the results have been extremely positive.

Bob Brooks bought the franchise rights for Hooters in 1984 when it had only two locations and expanded it into a global chain before purchasing the entire company from the founders in 2001. Brooks died in 2006, leaving ownership of Hooters to his son, Coby Brooks, who served as president and CEO until 2011, when the restaurant chain was sold to a group of investors. 


eBags President and CEO Mike Edwards sees more in a handbag, backpack or piece of luggage than travel gear. Instead, he envisions a journey. It’s a journey that begins when a customer logs onto to select the product and continues when she carries it during a much-anticipated trip or on daily adventures closer to home.

Edwards has only been at the helm of eBags since August, but the presentation he made to the company’s board of directors before he was hired summarized his vision for the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company, which was founded in 1998 as an online luggage provider.


Even seemingly small improvements can have a huge impact on the look of a shop. When Missouri’s Break Time convenience stores began remodeling its older locations last year, the changes were mostly modest. The company installed new coffee equipment and expanded fountains for soft drinks, updated interior graphics and better utilized floor space to make it more open. Although the store structures were mostly untouched, the improvements had an immediate effect on customers. 

“It makes a definite impact when you walk in,” says Curtis Chaney, senior vice president of retail. “A lot of customers think we’ve actually made the store larger just because of the changes we’ve made.”


Since it was founded 30 years ago in Los Angeles, WSS has seen its retail business grow significantly from its humble beginnings. Founder and CEO Eric Alon started the company by selling shoes out of the trunk of his car throughout neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Today, WSS is the largest California-based neighborhood footwear retailer in the country. 

WSS has retail partnerships with premium brands like Jordan, Converse, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Fila, Vans and Under Armour. There are currently 70 WSS locations with more than 1,300 employees.

“An insatiable spirit of entrepreneurism and drive propelled Mr. Alon to grow the footprint of WSS across the West Coast,” Vice President of Marketing Roderic Aiken says. “In May, we launched our new flagship store in downtown Los Angeles located on 7th and Union. The newest location represents a milestone for the company of 30 years in business.”


Headquartered in Dublin, Calif., Ross Stores Inc. has been able to grow and flourish into a high-performing S&P 500, Fortune 500 and Nasdaq 100 company. Today, Ross Stores operates Ross Dress for Less, the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the country, which has more than 1,200 locations in 33 states. The company also operates dd’s DISCOUNTS, a moderate off-price chain with more than 150 locations in 15 states. 

“The biggest reason for our success is our ability to attract and retain talented and experienced people across all areas of our business who are able to successfully execute the company’s core strategy on a consistent basis,” President and Chief Development Officer Jim Fassio says.

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