A clean atmosphere, well-trained staff, and supportive management team keep this c-store chain going strong. With a small footprint and a vision of excellence based on customer service and cleanliness, Houssein Ejtemai and Julio Cornejo founded PMG/E&C Enterprises in 1991. By 2004, they had 15 stores, and then it all changed. That year, Ejtemai, president, and Cornejo, vice president, saw the company’s growth skyrocket. Six years later, there are a total of 320 locations under the E&C umbrella.

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This specialty outdoor sporting goods retailer understands that to keep its customers happy, it must live the lifestyle it’s selling. Hudson Trail Outfitters is in a class of its own as the oldest privately held retailer in the Washington, DC Metro area. The trick to staying alive in one of the strongest retail hubs in the country, said General Manager Sandy Cohan, has been to not use tricks when dealing with the company’s target audience of specialty outdoor sporting goods consumers. It is also important to make sure your offering is relevant to your customers and that you offer them nothing but positively outrageous customer service.

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This office supply leader is paving the way to a holistic approach to environmental sustainability. From selling green products to building LEED-certified stores, being environmentally conscious is more than just a convenient marketing tool for office supply giant Office Depot. “We developed our environmental strategy back in 2002, and we hired our first environmental director in 2003,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, director of environmental strategy for the company. “We started with an environmental strategy a little bit earlier than most Fortune 500 companies.”

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Research and strategic planning gave this office product and solutions ­retailer a new way to do business. If a company told you it could reduce your SKUs by 70%, give back more than 10% of your linear footage, and grow your business by 20%, all at the same time, would that be enough to turn your head?OfficeMax hopes so, and after the successful partnership it developed with national grocer Safeway, the office products and solutions provider developed a five-year plan to make it happen. 

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In a quaint village in New York lies a 100-year-old, family-run bakery that thrives on providing quality products. The original inhabitants of what is now the Village of Port Chester were wandering tribes of Mohegan Indians. In 1660, the village, also known as Rye Town, received its first white settlers. 

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A taste for the finer side of gift giving has positioned this diversified food company at the top of its industry. Wisconsin Food Gift Company, LLC (WFG) operates as both a retailer and a retailer supplier. Founded as a small mail-order gift company in 1946, the company expanded in the 1960s and ’70s by adding marketing and production platforms.

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This retail chain has managed to thrive during the last few years, thanks to a string of investments and a lot of hard work. When Anthony DiPaolo purchased Work ’n Gear in 2002, he acquired the company’s inventory, leases, and employees; all other aspects of operation were built from the ground up. In addition to investing in updated IT systems, the new owner implemented fresh operational guidelines and re-organized the business’s infrastructure.

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A new CEO and a focused team have given this multi-channel specialty retailer the strength to succeed. Sheryl Clark came to Florida-based Boston Proper after spending years with retail giant Old Navy as head merchant. She joined the company in 2009 as president and spent the next year working with Boston Proper Founder Michael Tiernan, who now acts as chairman of the board. 

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