Like most establishments, The Linn Companies started out slow and steady. Standard Oil, now known as BP, handed the keys to one of its stations to its manager, Clarence Linn, in 1964. The trusted former employee became a business owner and, in 1972, Standard Oil offered him ownership of another station. The success of the two Minnesota stations set Linn Companies up for significant growth, and in the ’80s and ’90s the company began diversifying into other channels related to the automotive market. 

“We look for associates who have a passion for serving customers,” says Mark Hasting, COO of the West Des Moines, Iowa-based company. “We hope that they’ll connect with our customers and get to know their favorite brands and buying habits.”

This sort of relationship building is enhanced by the physical design of each new store, as checkout counters are placed at the front of every 5,000-square-foot model, making it easy for employees to greet customers as they walk in. “Our associates enjoy building relationships with customers because, in many cases, they’re seeing the same person multiple times a week,” he adds. “Kum & Go is often a part of our customer’s daily routine, so we want them to feel like a special guest in our store.”

After a short ride on America’s highways, it becomes obvious that there is no such thing as a “typical” motorcyclist. The estimated 85 percent of motorcyclists that take to the streets ride big v-twins, nimble sport bikes, or fully decked-out touring machines all with their own styles. Even the remaining 15 percent that take their machines off-road have unique needs, whether they are going trail-riding or heading to a motocross track.

Cycle Gear has been around helping the motorcycle enthusiast select parts and apparel since 1974, and Cycle Gear CEO Dave Bertram insists that the business is anything but mainstream. “We don’t really single out any one type of rider,” he explains. “We’re a family store, and we’ve got a lot of great customers that ride all types of motorcycles.” 

One of the hottest trends in the retail foodservice industry right now, ironically, involves a cold treat. The rise of self-service frozen yogurt has been one of the most interesting stories to emerge in recent years, and between the established names and the mom-and-pop operations there are plenty of concepts all jostling for attention. 

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