The current organic food trend is based on authenticity – consumers want to have confidence that what they see is what they get at the grocery store, without hidden ingredients. That authenticity has been and remains the core value behind Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, a chain of organic grocery stores in the United States and Canada with than 19 locations. Mrs. Green’s is part of the Natural Markets Food Group that also operates Planet Organic Markets and Richtree Natural Market Restaurants. As Chief Marketing Officer Curt Avallone explains, the company was founded on the ideal of providing customers with foods that are 100 percent natural, and that remains its focus today.

“We like to think of ourselves as more of a good-for-you grocer,” Avallone says. 

The company opened its first store in Scarsdale, N.Y., in 1991, a store that is still open today. Over time, the company broadened its reach with locations throughout New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia and Illinois. Mrs. Green’s Natural Market also has two locations in Canada – in Calgary and Burlington, Ontario. 

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Sometimes a girl needs a whole new look, and that includes her digs. maurices keeps that in mind. In fact, maurices is so committed to serving its customer and understanding her needs that it has given her a name — but they won’t reveal what it is. Every lady has secrets, right?

maurices’ stores are even getting a makeover for her. The new azure-and-white décor is feminine and flirty, with florid fixtures and ceramic tile flooring. The signature front double doors are azure as well. Dressing rooms are spacious, with seating areas for fashion shows among friends.

“The goal was to create a fun, inspiring experience,” President George Goldfarb says. “And the new design makes it easier for customers to find what they want.”

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Not many would look at a parachute and think it was the ideal material for a handbag, but that level of creativity has enabled LeSportsac Inc. to thrive for 40 years, Vice President and Global Creative Director D’Arcy Jensen says. “This brand has such a unique and distinctive personality,” she says.

Based in New York City, the company manufactures handbags that are sold around the world. Jensen explains that the Shifter family started the company in 1974 after encountering a unique parachute material on vacation. 

“The idea was to take this innovative material and create lightweight handbags,” she says.

Today, LeSportsac is the leading American brand of casual nylon bags in markets throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.

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Operating an independent grocery store in New York City is more challenging today than in decades past. Increasing competition from national chains that previously didn’t have a presence in the city, as well as rising rents, can be daunting obstacles for owners. 

Customer needs have also changed. Although the city has always been known as the nation’s “melting pot,” ethnic and cultural lines are now even more diffuse and numerous. 

“The needs of our stores used to vary by the borough – now they’re different pretty much from one block to the next,” says Dennis Wallin, vice president of retail development for Alpha 1 Marketing.  

Read more: Krasdale Foods

HomeTown Pharmacy’s friendly service, family ownership and dedication to the communities it serves all help the company live up to its name. “We’re an old-fashioned, hometown pharmacy that specializes in building personal relationships with its customers,” says Jim Mathews, COO of the West Michigan-based company. 

For HomeTown Pharmacy, this often includes providing home delivery and other services not often offered by its larger chain competitors. The company’s pharmacists are easy to find, as they are located front-and-center in its stores.  

Clinically, all HomeTown Pharmacies offer immunizations and many participate in a pilot project working with Ferris State University, the University of Nebraska and NACDS to offer rapid diagnostic testing for influenza and strep.

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GUESS?, Inc. is taking its service to the next level by implementing omni-channel retailing that combines all of its shopping channels to provide customers with a seamless experience. “We have first-in-class capabilities or the holy grail of omni-channels,” COO Michael Relich says. “It has been tremendously successful.” 

Choosing to shop in-store or online is nothing new – those two options have been available for years, but GUESS has taken an aggressive approach at combining those two channels over the past few years to revitalize the shopping experience. Although the traditional ways of shopping are always still available, customers are now presented with alternatives to obtain the desired product. 

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Ranked among the top 100-U.S. drug store chains by pharmacy dollar volume, Family Pharmacy has lived according to its “Best Service and Low Prices” motto since its founding in 1977. The company is based out of Ozark, Mo., and has served thousands of families in southwest Missouri since owner Lynn Morris started the company more than 35 years ago.

“We have very attractive stores, and our niche is based on our focus on customer service level,” Morris says. “We believe no one does it better because providing a first-rate experience is engrained in our culture.”

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All odds were against Distinctive Apparel succeeding three years ago when it acquired the Chadwicks of Boston and Metrostyle apparel brands out of bankruptcy. The company has given life back to the brands it believes so strongly in and has been climbing the retail ladder ever since. “When everyone thought we would fail, any other outcome was a good outcome,” CEO Aldus Chapin says.

The Randolph, Mass.-based company was incorporated in 2011 to purchase the Chadwicks of Boston and Metrostyle brands. The following year it purchased The Territory Ahead, which sells men’s and women’s apparel. “We really did believe there was value in these brands and with a highly variable cost business model we were confident we could make them relevant once again,” Chapin says. 

Read more: Distinctive Apparel

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