Using its founder as an inspiration, this c-store and foodservice retailer continues to innovate. Carl Bolch, Sr. opened Carl Bolch Trackside Stations in 1934 with one thing in mind: to offer consistently lower-priced gasoline to the public. More than 75 years later, his legacy lives on in the more than 525 retail gasoline and convenience stores spread across 12 Southeastern states that make up RaceTrac Petroleum’s footprint. Under the guidance of his son Carl Bolch, Jr., who is chairman and CEO, and his granddaughter Allison Moran, who is a senior vice president, this family-owned company is now one of the larger c-store and foodservice retailers in the country. 

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On the corner of Main & Main, you’ll find these red-topped drive-thru grocers ready to meet your fill-in grocery needs. The concept of drive-thru convenience might be more relevant today than in decades past, but Swiss Farms has managed to make itself a staple in neighborhoods across the Northeast since 1968. Known for its iconic old barn and Swiss store silo, this Pennsylvania-based retailer has built its reputation on a hybrid concept combining express lane speed with fill-in foods that keep your pantry running smoothly. 

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This hometown grocery chain is using its local presence to gain an advantage over the national, big-box stores it’s competing against. Nearly every sector of the retail industry has suffered a hardship of some kind during the last 12 to 18 months as a result of the economic downturn. Big-box chains and independent operations of all shapes and sizes have been forced to adapt; few have proven immune.

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Having existed for more than two decades under its former name, this Canadian closeout retailer believes rebranding is just the latest step in shoring up its extreme value business model. It takes a lot of gusto to ditch an established brand identity, even for one closely tied to the original moniker. At the Canadian closeout retailer LW (formerly Liquidation World), the decision to change the name of the store was about appealing to a wider customer base without alienating the long-time customers.

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Running a grocery store isn’t about profit for this organization but rather about providing a community with healthy, sustainable food. For all those who say cooperatives are loosely organized, hippie-driven start-ups going nowhere, Rainbow Grocery can prove them wrong. After more than 30 years selling sustainable, organic, and vegetarian food in San Francisco, this one-store business has only bigger plans for the future.

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It’s all about balance for this family-run design house and retailer in British Columbia, which values work-life balance as much as the bottom line. For Serena Kwei, selling designer work and formal attire for women is more a calling than a career. She and her husband founded Serena Fashions in 1973 with limited experience in the Canadian retail scene, but they have built a respected boutique fashion brand by relying on a philosophy of balance and empowerment.

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Thanks to a focused market and a multi-platform selling approach, this clothing designer and retailer enjoys enviable brand power. The key for retailers today is often developing a powerful brand identity that wins shoppers hearts and creates long-term, lucrative relationships. After almost 10 years in the business of providing high-quality, great fitting clothes for young, plus-size shoppers, Torrid has got it down to a science.

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With the support of Japan’s largest fashion retailer, this subsidiary company is making a name for itself in the US. Uniqlo USA currently operates just a single brick-and-mortar location, but that’s about to change, as the organization plans to open a second flagship store in New York City soon. According to COO Shin Odake, the company’s team spent the last few years perfecting its North American business model, and now, satisfied with the progress to date, it’s looking to expand. 

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