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Candle-lite and PartyLite merge under the Luminex Home Décor and Fragrance name to bring unique products to a broader audience.

By Stephanie Crets

Understanding consumers’ needs and developing products that appeal to them is the focus of Luminex Home Décor and Fragrance Co. The company is well positioned to provide high-quality home fragrance and home décor products from its one-million-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility, along with providing a high level of service to its customers.

Luminex HDF is a new company, representing the unification of two organizations with long-standing histories in the industry: Candle-lite Company and PartyLite. Candle-lite, which celebrated its 175th anniversary last year, is America’s oldest candle manufacturer and reaches more consumers through mass-market retailers than any other manufacturer. PartyLite, on the other hand, is a direct-to-consumer sales company with more than 45,000 sales consultants in 19 countries. Where pricing is concerned, Candle-lite competes primarily in the value segment, while PartyLite is tailored to the premium market.

What brought these two companies together was the vision set out by the executive team and private equity partners of both businesses. Candle-lite was acquired by the Centre Lane Partners back in January 2014, while the Carlyle Group acquired PartyLite in October 2015. What they recognized was a great opportunity to create operational synergies and gain significant benefits from bringing these two companies together, with the merger of Candle-lite and PartyLite under the umbrella of Luminex HDF, completed in May 2016.


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Placing elements such as customers, employees, partners and communities at the top have helped Petroleum Marketing Group to grow.

By Eric Slack

Every company claims to put customers and employees first, but Petroleum Marketing Group (PMG) truly walks the walk. The company is constantly investing in its employees and giving back to its communities, and it believes that its success depends on a team approach to business. 

“We always use ‘we’ and not ‘I’ when it comes to the work and business within the company,” President and CEO Hossein Ejtemai says. “It takes all of us to make this work and be a success.”

Carmel Dream

KenJo Markets is luring customers with an interactive app and made-the-same-day foods.

By Tim O’Connor

A few years ago, gas station and convenience store retailer KenJo Markets realized it needed to improve its customer loyalty card program to keep pace with competition. Other convenience stores had rewards programs, but KenJo wanted something more interactive and fun for its customers. It found that in Verge Retail, a marketing platform company that built a phone app that acted as an extension of KenJo’s existing reward’s program.

The app, which launched in February, gives KenJo a way to push coupons to customers through games and tie-in promotions with products such as Red Bull energy drinks. Vice President of Operations Jimmy McBrayer says the company is happy with the number of downloads after about six months and is looking for new ways to drive usage. “While we’re not fully using all of its capabilities right now, we do have it,” McBrayer says. “We’re tinkering with it, playing with it and using it to some degree.”

The app is just one of the ways KenJo Markets sets itself apart from other convenience stores. The company also prides itself on its service standards, array of products, fresh sandwiches and the customer experience. The goal is to get 1 percent better every day, McBrayer says. “The amount of retailers in our area compared to other places is extraordinary,” he adds. “You always have to look for that thing that’s going to separate you from the other competitors on the corner.”

KenJo began in 1977 as the retail arm of petroleum supplier Downey Oil. Today, the company has 37 stores in eastern Tennessee under the Marathon, Shell, Exxon and Mobil brands. Downey Oil also operates other filling stations with the Citgo banner.

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As a third-generation family company, KLN Family Brands manufactures and supplies pet food, confections and candy to retailers across the United States.

By Stephanie Crets

Now in its third-generation of family ownership, KLN Family Brands is upholding its 50-plus year tradition of producing high-quality products in both the pet food industry, as well as the candy and confections arena.  KLN Family Brands is made up of two distinct companies:  Tuffy’s Pet Foods and Kenny’s Candy & Confections.

Tuffy’s was established in 1964. Throughout the years and today, the company manufactures dry, semi moist dog and cat foods. The innovative products it produces with clean labels can be found in its premium brands including NutriSource, Pure Vita and Natural Planet. In these brands, customers can find grain-free, natural and unique ingredients and premium protein sources such as bison, duck and venison. In addition, it manufactures private label dog food for a handful of prominent companies in the pet food industry.   

Recently, Tuffy’s invested $75 million on a new state-of-the-art extrusion facility. “We were at a place until this past year where we were producing high-quality foods in an aged facility,” President Charlie Nelson explains. “We needed to ask ourselves, ‘Are we going to continue being a serious player in this industry or not?’ If we are in, we need to be the safest, highest-quality facility in the country. That is what we expect from ourselves today and going forward.”

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McKenzie Oil’s stores create a ‘friendly, down-home environment’ for their customers.

By Alan Dorich

McKenzie Oil may be a modestly sized company, but that does not prevent it from providing ideal retail experiences for customers, Vice President Martha McKenzie says. “We attribute our company’s success to giving excellent customer service, competitive pricing and having products in our stores that customers want,” she declares.

Eufaula, Ala.-based McKenzie Oil operates a chain of convenience stores in Alabama and Florida. McKenzie’s father-in-law, Robert McKenzie, started the company in 1950 as a Gulf Oil distributor. “They had tires, gasoline and oil lubricants,” she describes, adding that her husband, Dan McKenzie, took over the business in 1975.

But at the time, the industry was changing. Although many companies still delivered gasoline to farmers with trucks, “We knew that would not be feasible,” Martha McKenzie recalls. “Dan decided to change the business and basically start working on convenience stores.”

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