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Sit ’n Sleep goes above and beyond the call of duty to satisfy a customer and strives to give back to the community that brought it success.

By Stephanie Crets

After nearly four decades, Sit ’n Sleep has become one of the largest mattress retailers in the United States. With 37 locations – and counting – across southern California, the company offers the largest array of mattress product with 110 SKUs. Helping customers find the right mattress for their needs, body type, health and wallet is the driving force behind Sit ’n Sleep.

“Whether a customer wants a $200 set to a $10,000 set, we can help them through the process,” CEO Larry Miller says. He recalls a time early on in the business when he put this philosophy into practice to help a customer purchase a $199 king mattress set. Ten years later, that same customer came back to purchase a $999 set, and after another 10 years passed, the customer returned to buy two deluxe, high-end Tempur-Pedic adjustable mattresses for $3,200.

“It’s not how big the sale is initially; it’s what can we do to attract new customers, service them properly and treat them the right way,” Miller says. “You can build customers for life.”

Miller believes Sit ’n Sleep can promote happy and repeat customers because the company hires the best people. And it’s not even about people with mattress retail experience; it’s important to hire people that care about other people, Miller notes. “We can teach people what they need to learn to sell the mattress but we can’t teach people to be better human beings,” he says. “We want people that want long careers. Most people are here about 10 years and some 20 years. We treat them properly. We hire, attract and keep great people. Some companies feel their sales associates are secondary but I feel they’re critical to our success.”


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Ritzman Pharmacy intends to rebrand the pharmacy experience by sticking to its customer-driven roots.

By Bianca Herron

After 65 years in the industry, Ritzman Pharmacy is taking a page out of Starbucks’ book to rebrand the pharmacy experience, just like the fast-casual giant did with coffee. “We call it ‘customer centric’ because everything we do is seen through the eyes of the customer,” COO George Glatcz says. “We use the Starbucks analogy because they created a completely different experience by creating new language for their drink sizes and a whole new environment for what a cup of coffee should bring you.”

It’s all about the brand experience that customers have, Glatcz says, which is why the Wadsworth, Ohio-based company has changed its language by calling its pharmacies ‘practices’ as opposed to ‘stores’ because they practice healthcare. In addition, Ritzman has also consciously changed how its organization is structured.

“For example, our practices now have what we call a ‘concierge,’ that greets everyone when they come into the practices and identify what needs they have within the location,” Glatcz says. “So they’re recommending them to the pharmacist, as the person who helps them with their nutrition or wellness. Our pharmacists are specifically trained in those tasks and services that we are providing customers.”

Ritzman is also remodeling the look and feel of its locations. “When you walk into one of our pharmacies now, it doesn’t look like a pharmacy, but a wellness center,” Glatcz explains. “Customers cannot see where the pharmacist or technician are counting pills – that’s completely hidden from the customers. So the experience that the customer is having is more about the healthcare professional and less about the transaction of the prescription. So interaction is critically important.”

In addition, the company has implemented technology bars in its new and renovated practices. “In the old days, the pharmacy had a soda fountain where people would come and gather. We now believe the tech bar is where people can do the same thing,” Glatcz says. “Many people want to learn about technology and there is more than 22,000 health apps out there in the world. Who can better help navigate them for our consumer but the pharmacist?”


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Thanks to strong franchising efforts and growth, Club Pilates can bring a beneficial workout and healthy lifestyle to people everywhere.

By Stephanie Crets

Getting motivated to go to the gym can be an ongoing struggle for many people, but Club Pilates makes the experience fun and engaging. With more than 50 group classes to choose from every week in a state-of-the art facility and private training studio, members won’t get bored with the variety offered to challenge them at every level.

“What we do is vastly different from any other Pilates studio out there,” President Shaun Grove says. “We’ve created these facilities that are really best-in-class in terms of instruction we provide, equipment in the studios and facilities and how they look. We offer everything at a value price, vastly less expensive than what you’ll find at other studios.”

Every 1,500-2,000-square-foot studio accommodates 300 to 350 members. They are assisted and taught by instructors who each have more than 500 hours of comprehensive training before becoming certified at the highest level of Pilates competency. “Our members expect a high-quality Pilates class, provided by a very educated instructor in a very controlled and friendly fitness atmosphere,” Grove notes.

One of the hurdles the company has to overcome is encouraging more men to try Pilates and become members. Although former boxer and wrestler Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method in an effort to help rehabilitate World War II veterans, Pilates has traditionally been seen as a female-oriented workout. And it really took off because his studio was across from the New York Ballet Dance Company, so many female dancers and models began incorporating it into their routines and workouts.

“But it has benefits that are far-reaching for men and women of all ages,” Grove argues. “We’re trying to make Pilates more accessible for everyone and trying to bring the workout to the masses, so it’s available to so many more people across the country. I had never tried it before Club Pilates, and I’d say you’re missing out if you’ve never tried it.”

Grove notes that he himself had participated in more traditional types of workouts for men, like lifting weights, boxing and kickboxing. “They’re great but very high impact, which takes a toll,” he says. “I found that adding Pilates every other day really counteracts those negative effects from the other workouts, and I get just as good of a workout with Pilates because it’s low impact and so beneficial to your core, balance and spine structure.”

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Rexall boosts the ‘wow’ factor of its stores with its Inspired Beauty departments.

By Alan Dorich

Women who come to Rexall Pharmacy Group Ltd.’s beauty departments want more than just products. “People are often looking for a specific look,” Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer Mary Kelly says.

Rexall’s stores help them achieve that look through its Inspired Beauty departments, which co-locate a variety of product brands and tools in one place. “We’re able to bring hair, skin, nails and the whole look together,” Kelly says.

Based in Mississauga, Ontario, the company operates more than  470 Rexall and Rexall Pharma Plus locations across Canada. With a heritage dating back to 1904, Rexall has evolved into one of the most trusted pharmacies in its home country.

Rexall enjoyed great success after the recent launch of its Inspired Beauty departments in three existing stores and two new locations. Kelly explains that the initiative began when the company decided to focus more on its beauty business.

“We started brainstorming six to eight months in advance with some of our beauty partners,” she recalls. “We sat down with them and got their views about Rexall and our customers.”

The company also performed research with customers, enabling it to get a better view of the beauty industry worldwide. “From that, we started to create our vision of what Rexall could do,” Kelly says.


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Michigan State University’s Culinary Services department offers a wealth of dining and retail opportunities to students and campus communities.

By Jim Harris

Michigan State University’s Culinary Services department offers more than just meals to students on the East Lansing, Mich., campus. The department’s physical and culinary offerings help to further the university’s mission of preparing students for the professional world by giving them a sense of community as well as something to eat.

“Feeling a sense of belonging can contribute to student success; we want students to be successful in and out of the classroom, and once they graduate and start their career we want them to be comfortable in what they do,” Executive Director of Culinary Services Guy Procopio says.

The department formed in 2008 following the combination of the university’s retail services and residential dining functions. During the re-organization, Procopio – who was named head of the new department – was tasked with creating an integrated operation that kept student success at the forefront. “We’re about more than just great food – we want to provide spaces that promote student success and help build community,” he says.

MSU Culinary Services’ retail food services include Sparty’s, an on-campus convenience store concept with 21 locations; two campus food courts, one of which is self-operated with the department’s own self-branded concepts while the other includes a corporate-owned Panda Express, a Subway franchise and a location for Woody’s Oasis, a local Mediterranean-style eatery; beverage and vending services and a food truck. The department also operates two Starbuck’s Coffee franchises as well as the concessions for on-campus athletic facilities.


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LCBO develops technology to enhance the customer experience and solidify its position as the premier destination for alcohol sales in Ontario.

By Tim O’Connor

What’s a bar without alcohol? For the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), it’s a demonstration of social responsibility. The organization opened Bar Zero in November, a pop-up bar in Toronto specializing in 0 percent alcohol cocktails. “We try to show people having a good time and a safe time are one and the same,” says Keeley Rogers, LCBO senior communications consultant.

Bar Zero is just the latest in LCBO’s 90-year history of responsible stewardship of Ontario’s alcohol industry. The organization, which is one of the world’s largest buyers and retailers of alcohol, lessens its carbon footprint by transporting product on waterways such as the St. Lawrence Seaway, utilizes lighter-weight, recyclable glass bottles and chemically tests all of the products it sells.

Its responsibility extends to consumer education. LCBO works with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and launched its own website,, to promote moderate consumption and safe drinking practices.

The LCBO’s socially responsible practices are tied to the organization’s status as an enterprise of the government of Ontario, making it effectively owned by the province’s taxpayers. LCBO stems back to 1927 when Ontario was the last southern province to end prohibition and created the LCBO as a means to control the distribution and sale of beer and spirits. The enterprise now operates 657 retail stores throughout Ontario and earns $5.57 billion in revenue. Those sales provide a direct benefit to the province through an annual dividend – $1.935 billion in 2015-16 – that funds roads, health programs and other infrastructure projects and public initiatives in Ontario.

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Tradewinds believes in giving back to the community as much as it possibly can.

By Chris Petersen

Every company wants to be successful, but Tradewinds stands out because it invests heavily in ensuring that its communities are successful, too. CEO Chuck Lawrence says the company is committed to making sure the communities it serves in Maine thrive just as much as its supermarkets, convenience stores and car washes. By investing in employee housing, donating to local charities and supporting other local businesses, Tradewinds is keeping Maine a vibrant place to live and work for the future, Lawrence says.

Originally operating a single supermarket location in Blue Hill, Maine, Lawrence discovered an opportunity to expand when another supermarket in the area burned down. Lawrence bought the property and built his second supermarket, which has been expanded several times to become the flagship of the Tradewinds Marketplace chain today.

Today, the company has four supermarkets, five convenience stores and two car washes under its umbrella, and although the company faces some strong competition in at least one of its markets from Walmart, Tradewinds nevertheless thrives thanks in no small part to the people it has in place.


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