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. 


Located in Oregon and Northern California, C&K Market Inc. is emphasizing its easy access to fresh produce by introducing its “Eat Fresh, Eat Local” campaign. “We have been out working with local farmers and want to bring that into the individual communities,” President and CEO Karl Wissmann explains. “We have kicked it off with a farmers’ market approach. 

“On Saturday mornings, we have local farmers’ products in the parking lot that are put in special bins,” he continues. “Throughout the week after the farmers’ market promotion, we bring them into the store and have special displays with information about the growers and identify them as local. It’s been very well-received. We just started it this spring, so next year it will be a much bigger program. We’re very pleased with how it’s gone this year.”


As a renowned racecar driver turned successful auto designer and manufacturer, Carroll Shelby revolutionized high-performance auto designs both for the racetrack and for street vehicles for collectors.

Today, his logos grace products including die-cast cars, clothing, video games and golf carts – as well as automobiles. In fact, there are more than 150 Carroll Shelby licensees worldwide. 


For a name that’s 85 years old, Buehler’s Fresh Foods has stayed remarkably on trend over the years. Of course, the central Ohio-based grocery retailer already knows that, but it’s making extra effort to make sure its customers know, too. At Buehler’s, “fresh” isn’t just in its name, it’s in its stores, too. 

“The buzzwords you hear – local, organic – those are things we’ve always done here, but we didn’t always tell the customers what we were doing,” says Bob Buehler, executive vice president of marketing and merchandising and third-generation family owner. “Around the country the trend is toward local and organic and it’s made us realize even more what a great thing we have here, and we’re working to get the word out to our customers.”


Atlas Oil Co. is more than just one of the country’s leading fuel suppliers. For many of its fueling station customers, the company provides expertise that goes far beyond the fuel pump.

“We want to partner with our direct customers to provide them the best programs we can to further their business,” General Manager of Retail Sales Jake Leatherman says. “If we can improve a consumer’s overall experience at the business, that’s ultimately a way to improve our total volume.”


“IIC is not a boom-and-bust type of organization; it has always had the long-term in mind,” explains Ingmar Kraak, global CEO of The Athlete’s Foot. “This is not a public company that has to answer to Wall Street with quarterly reports; it actually has a background as a co-op, a buying group. So when they acquired The Athlete’s Foot, they wanted to make something great out of it.”


Vintage Tub and Bath offers a variety of tub and bathroom fixtures that will add the finishing touches to any new home construction or remodel project. 

The family owned business was founded in 1993 by a couple in Hazleton, Pa., who began by restoring bathtubs they obtained from older homes that were set for demolition. 

Today, Vintage Tub and Bath no longer refurbishes tubs, but sells new vintage and contemporary design tubs and bathroom fixtures directly to homeowners. “Many of our customers are DIYers,” CEO Dawn Bobeck says. “We love to receive before-and-after photos of our customers’ projects.”  

Vintage Tub and Bath is known for its signature clawfoot tubs. But to appeal to a wider market, the company offers 17,000 SKUs from more than 85 manufacturers on its website, www.vintagetub.com. The online-only company promises its site feels just like going to a local showroom, but without leaving the comfort of home. “We offer a showroom experience online,” Bobeck says. “Our sales representatives are truly finish experts. The training is extensive, but a seasoned representative can assist customers with their entire home remodel.”


Following its namesake, Trader Horn stores use a no-frills approach to discount merchandising. Founded in 1958 in Butler, Pa., in a former feed store, the current name was suggested by the manager in 1973 who had worked at the family owned store all his life, which then was named Warehouse Sales.

“When we decided to open a second store, he asked if we could call it ‘Trader Horn,’” President Robert Greenberger recalls. “He read the book in high school and thought it would be a great name for a store.”

Greenberger was unfamiliar with the book that ivory trader Alfred Aloysius Horn had written in 1927 detailing his adventures in Africa. It was made into a movie twice, in 1931 and 1973. Greenberger read a library copy to see if there was any reason in the book not to use the title as the store’s name. “We decided give it a try, and the name took off pretty fast,” Greenberger remembers.

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