Bens PharmacyBen’s Pharmacy focuses on the total health of its patients by offering value-added services that set it apart from the competition. By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

With the well-being of its patients always at the forefront, Ben’s Pharmacy has delivered a second-to-none in-store experience for nearly 40 years and continues to raise the bar on customer service. “What do our patients want?” President and founder Ben Smith asks. “To be well, have energy, see their grandchildren grow up and to participate in and enjoy life. It’s something I took away from a course I attended and what I want for our patients. That’s going to be the theme in all our stores.”

Smith opened his first pharmacy in 1979 in Pefferlaw, Ontario and has grown the company to 12 locations today throughout central Ontario. Most of its stores are located in small, rural communities and range from 1,200 to 5,500 square feet with Beaverton being its largest and busiest store.

The United FamilyThe number of The United Family stores has doubled in the past four years and continues to grow. By Kat Zeman

If its current growth rate continues, The United Family will soon open its 100th supermarket. Four years ago, the Lubbock, Texas-based chain operated 53 supermarkets and grocery stores in Texas. Today, that number has jumped to 92 and the company has expanded its operations into New Mexico.

“We’ve been onboarding stores from different companies over the last couple of years and we’ve been merging our cultures,” says Wes Jackson, the company’s chief merchandising officer. “That’s probably our No. 1 key to success.”

The United Family’s 92 supermarkets operate under four different brands: United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos and Albertsons Market. In addition, the company operates more than 30 gas stations with convenience stores under its United Express brand.

Camtrade FootwearCamtrade proves it is in the women’s footwear business for the long-term with deliberate and methodical growth of its two shoe brands. By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

Camtrade found a niche in women’s footwear with its Secret Celebrity® and Soft Comfort® brand shoes that are not only made for walkin’, but also look good and don’t break the bank. “We determined there was a white space in on-trend comfort footwear at an affordable price,” says President and CEO Frank Cammarata. “Once we launched Soft Comfort and Secret Celebrity, we believed we had lightning in a bottle. The concept just made so much sense.”

The Boxborough, Mass.-based company began in 2013 when Cammarata assembled a group of retail and wholesale executives and blended together their strengths to become a branded footwear company. “We started by creating high-quality shoes with great style at extremely compelling value. From there, we took the time to construct our brand image. Our goal was to design footwear that excited the consumer,” Cammarata says. “We stuck to our guns by delivering consistent fashion, quality and comfort.”

The PRIDE StoresAfter 50 years in the industry, The PRIDE Stores aims to grow its locations by exceeding its customers’ expectations. By Bianca Herron

The PRIDE Stores is more than a name – it is a mantra, according to CEO Mario Spina. “My father started this company about 50 years ago,” he says. “After I received my MBA from DePaul I joined the company and have been here for 15 years now. My dad started calling our stores The PRIDE a long time ago. We not only want the people who work for us to take PRIDE in our stores, but also ensure that the communities and customers who shop with us take PRIDE as well.”

PRIDE derives from the belief that the Warrenville, Ill.-based company always does things differently from its competitors. “Our slogan is ‘Not your typical convenience store,’” Spina notes. “So we try to do things differently than most people anticipate when they come into a gas station convenience store.”

The PRIDE owns and operates 12 convenience store gas stations in the Chicagoland market. Parent Petroleum Company, a wholesale supplier of fuel and lubricants, owns the retail division of the company, while CIMA Developers oversees its real estate. “Through Parent Petroleum we supply 350 stations with every major brand of fuel,” Spina explains. “I run the retail and the real estate sides of the company. Through CIMA we do all of our own property development and management, including maintenance. In addition we buy, sell and lease all of our own real estate.”

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