Smoker1

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. 

Robert1

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.

Herdrich1

Herdrich Petroleum Corp. is working to open more Quickpix convenience stores throughout rural communities in Indiana. With its focus hard set on expansion, the company is streamlining its operations to become more efficient as more locations open. 

The family owned company dates back to 1953 when Jim Herdrich founded Herdrich Oil Co. in Connersville, Ind. In 1986, Bill Herdrich – Jim Herdrich’s son and current company president – formed Herdrich Petroleum in Rushville, Ind., after merging Browning & Herdrich Co., a fuel supply company he founded, with Herdrich Oil. 

Handy1

For a while in the grocery business, getting bigger was the goal, but now the big-box mega-retailers are trying to fit their stores into smaller locations emphasizing groceries. When doing this on Long Island, N.Y., they may run into the 11 locations of Handy Pantry Food Stores, which has been practicing the business model of having everything people want with a friendly, neighborhood feel since 1976.

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Giselle Diaz Eastlack’s parents, Mauricio and Maria Diaz, purchased their first service station in 1996, a Shell station that had been pegged for failure. With her father serving as the mechanic and her mother working the register, the station was transformed through hard work and determination into a successful business, and Eastlack says the formula for success wasn’t that complicated. “They basically cleaned up the store, put a new coat of paint on the walls and took customer service to the next level,” she says. 

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