An independent specialty pharmacy, Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. has become the largest organization of its kind in the country. The company’s roots date to the early 1970s, and it has grown to provide personalized medication therapies to people with specialized needs.

“Our growth accelerated in 2005 when we launched our national distribution center,” CEO and Chairman Phil Hagerman says. “Everything we do is focused on patients in need.” 

Today, Diplomat is headquartered in Flint, Mich. In addition to its national headquarters, the company has walk-in retail pharmacies in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Flint, Mich. and Brookhaven, Pa. Additionally, it operates 13 support sites in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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Church & Dwight products are all over your house, but you might not know it. Open your pantry and you’ll likely find Arm & Hammer baking soda. Did you get a stain on your shirt? Go to your laundry room and get out the OxiClean. Have a toothache? Open your medicine cabinet and grab your Orajel.

With 97 percent brand awareness and 75 percent household penetration, Church & Dwight has an extensive portfolio of brands that many consumers encounter on a daily basis, whether in their own homes or in retail stores.

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The CDMA is much more than just a buying co-op. “We really pride ourselves on being the connection point between the vendor and retail communities,” says John Devine, vice president of the Novi, Mich.-based organization. “We look out for needs of both communities, and make the relationship between the two profitable and successful for both parties.”

Founded in 1926 to support the marketing and merchandising efforts of its members, the CDMA today helps more than 100 independent and regional chains in all aspects of their retail operations, particularly when it comes to stocking their shelves. The association also represents wholesalers as well as manufacturers. The association serves more than 3,000 retail stores in total.

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Vitamin World has come a long way since it began in 1976 with a single location. From a small kiosk in Williamsville, N.Y., the company has expanded into malls to create the footprint that it has today thanks to becoming part of NBTY, an American manufacturer of vitamins and nutritional supplements.

“As part of a $3 billion enterprise, our organization garners a wide variety of benefits,” President Jack Krause says. “World-class manufacturing and sourcing functions enable us to create great-quality products at a reasonable price. We have the ability to share ideas and consumer insights with leaders across the business. This scale also gives us an extended talent pool and capabilities in corporate shared functions such as IT, HR and business management.”

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The late-2000s were a difficult time for high-end kitchen equipment maker Viking Range Corporation. Like many luxury goods manufacturers, the Greenwood, Miss.-based company was affected as consumers scaled back purchasing during the recession. Further, Viking struggled as its list of products grew beyond what was manageable, though its brand value remained high. 

But since being bought out by The Middleby Corporation at the end of 2012, CEO Selim Bassoul has helped the company regain its focus and improve sales and profits. “We’re growing now instead of shrinking,” says Brent Bailey, vice president of brand management.

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Based in Atlanta, Sionic Mobile is a mobile commerce company that aims to revolutionize m-commerce by creating loyalty and value for merchants of all sizes, as well as for consumers. By using mobile devices and the cloud, Sionic Mobile is able to connect merchants with nearby, ready-to-spend consumers. 

“Sionic Mobile spun out of a decade-old company in mid-2010,” Founder and CEO Ronald Herman says.  “We currently have 28 full-time employees and contractors. What we are known for are customer loyalty and mobile ads.” 

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Wilton Burgess started his career in the grocery business as clerk, and worked his way up the ladder over the course of a 20-year career with the same store. In 1973, however, Burgess made the decision to strike out on his own and start his own operation. Today, the fruit of his labors is Quik-E Food Stores, which is one of Virginia’s most successful convenience store chains that also includes car washes and a laundromat. 

Quik-E Food Stores is a family affair, with Burgess’ three sons holding executive-level positions within the company. Over the years, the company has become known as a positive influence in the community, having raised more than $1 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in addition to other charitable efforts. Burgess says he is proud of where the company is today and sees great things for Quik-E Food Stores in the future.

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No matter what size a town is, it probably has a number of schools with teams in various sports. Serving those teams’ needs for sporting goods and those of consumers in general ahead of major national sporting goods retail chains is Olympia Sports. Store managers provide a team discount program for athletic equipment three times annually to local teams. The company’s business model has been so successful that it has been thriving for 40 years.

“Certainly, good customer service has been a pillar of our business,” Senior Director of Operations Paul Fitzpatrick says. “We’ve always tried to be a really convenient option for families to get their sporting goods, athletic apparel and footwear needs met. We are putting stores where it’s easy for people to get to and where otherwise they would have to travel to some of the bigger shopping areas.”

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