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. 

The stories are legion. Soldiers digging foxholes with their Swiss Army knives to save themselves, fishermen in the ocean untangling themselves from their nets with a timely cut of their Victorinox Swiss Army knives or even business presentation equipment being kept dry in a disaster by Victorinox Swiss Army luggage.

Those kinds of stories and that kind of brand loyalty cannot be bought. “These are the stories we hear more and more frequently as we open more stores and the consumers engage with us on that level,” relates Jason Gallen, senior vice president, of direct to consumer and retail development. “Stories like this you don’t get from a typical brand.”

Spiegel was founded as an American furniture company in 1865 and transitioned into a fashion retailer that began selling women’s clothing in 1912. Through newfound independence gained during the suffrage movement that continued into the 1920s and the working women’s revolution of the 1970s, Spiegel brought class to mass with its catalog, found in millions of households throughout the country – unifying women’s fashion from coast to coast. 

Since it was founded in 1984, Shoe Sensation has focused on bringing well-known, branded footwear and accessories to residents of small-town America who otherwise would have to drive up to 45 minutes for a simple shoe shopping excursion. The markets may be small, but there is still profit to be made while serving a real need. After all, residents of these small cities have to purchase their footwear from somewhere and Shoe Sensation wants to be their first choice. 

“Shoe Sensation was founded by an entrepreneur whose vision was to open stores in small-town America where the county seat was located typically somewhere between 30 to 45 miles away from a regional mall,” CEO Mike Zawoysky says. “He wanted to make it more convenient for the local community to come in and purchase branded high-quality footwear. At the time, many family-owned shoe stores in small-town America were closing.”

In the world of high-end fashion, the marketplace is constantly changing due to the nature of the industry and adjustments retailers must make to cater to the latest trends in consumer demands. 

For Patrick James, Purveyor to Gentlemen – an upscale men’s clothing retailer launched in Fresno, Calif., more than 50 years ago – evolving with styles as they come and go has been pertinent, but maintaining its workforce is what has made the company a success for this long, according to founder Patrick James Mon Pere.

Lots of companies sell merchandise, but only one promises to give consumers the “Magic of Macy’s.” Along with omnichannel retailing and a tradition of elegant, historic stores, Macy’s is synonymous in pop culture and up-to-date retailing with quality, value and exemplary customer service.

The company gets the most attention for events it creates and produces and for themes such as American Icons, which was an opportunity to celebrate the people and places that make America great. The spring campaign also included exclusive merchandise from American designers, in-store and community events, interactive digital content, patriotic advertising and a give-back program with “Got Your 6” to support America’s veterans.

When it comes to customers and their grocery stores, favorites no longer apply. Because of the wave of multi-state retailers, customers no longer see grocery stores as the friendly neighborhood location, despite the fact that some of them actually still are. The disconnection between customers and brands has created a competitive market in which grocery store operators know that every patron is fair game. 

“Competition is very tough,” explains Justin Hiller, vice president and third-generation owner of Hiller’s Market. He has been in the family business for a number of years in several departments. 

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