Doris Italian Market & Bakery’s biggest business challenge is one that is well known to many of the “little guys” – the family owned, regionally based supermarkets doing their best to find their place in a retail market dominated by large national corporations. “We’re constantly fighting for our piece of the pie,” says Joey Alfano, operations manager of the Hollywood, Fla.-based specialty supermarket. “Our success has been a result of focusing on our niche market and being different and refreshing to our customers. That’s how we keep them coming back to us instead of going to bigger supermarkets.”

The market offers its customers a level of expertise and personal attention that is often difficult to find in its larger competitors. “Our employees are knowledgeable about our products and are able to assist customers with questions or offer helpful advice,” Alfano says. “They will go the extra mile to make customers satisfied. 

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In 2008, when DLR Restaurants LLC President and COO Ralph McCracken was researching the purchase of Dick’s Last Resort with the investment group Triton Pacific Capital, he would strike up conversations with people sitting next to him on airplanes who had visited one of the irreverent chain’s distinctive locations.

“The first thing they did was smile, and they had some kind of crazy story,” McCracken recalls. “They never remembered what they had to eat, but they remembered they had a great time.” That pretty much sums up the experience of eating at Dick’s Last Resort.

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The mission of the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) is to enhance the morale and welfare of the military community, thus contributing to the operational readiness and effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). As one of the four main operational entities of CFMWS, the Canadian Forces Exchange System (CANEX) has been fulfilling a crucial component of that mission by providing CAF servicepeople and their families with retail outlets and other services on military bases for more than 45 years. 

“We’re here to support the CAF community and in doing so have modernized our mission and competitive strategy in an effort to optimize our retail infrastructure,” Associate Vice President of Marketing Diana Sousa says. CANEX continues to develop new ways to serve and benefit the men and women of the CAF and their families, and Sousa says maintaining a strong connection with the community has assisted in achieving this for so long. 

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Whether selling direct-to-consumer or developing its own products, the team at C&A Marketing is successful because of its vision, commitment and creativity. “There’s no magic at play,” Executive Vice President Chaim Pikarski says. “People believe I have a secret formula, but it’s just about doing a lot of things right.”

C&A Marketing is the exclusive manufacturer, engineer, distributor, developer and marketer for Polaroid brand photography equipment and accessories. The company operates other photo businesses such as Ritz Camera and Image, RitzPix, Wolf Camera, Inkley’s Camera World and Calumet Photographic. It distributes tens of thousands of SKUs online and at 15 retail locations including its Ritz, Wolf and Calumet brand stores.

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Treat people well and they’ll come back – that is the secret to Brandi Companies success. “I’m a firm believer that if you treat a person like you want to be treated you will have success,” President Bob Brandi says.

The company operates 32 Pitt Stop gas stations within a 20-mile radius of Columbia, S.C. The company also has 19 locations with Burger King franchises, five with Subways and five Blimpies. Its locations distribute Shell and ExxonMobil petroleum. 

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When Intersport International (IIC) acquired The Athlete’s Foot in 2012, the parent company knew early on that the potential for growth was great. But instead of embarking on a sprint, the company, which now owns retail banners INTERSPORT and The Athlete’s Foot, approached the task as more of a marathon. 

“IIC is not a boom-and-bust type of organization; it has always had the long-term in mind,” explains Ingmar Kraak, global CEO of The Athlete’s Foot. “This is not a public company that has to answer to Wall Street with quarterly reports; it actually has a background as a co-op, a buying group. So when they acquired The Athlete’s Foot, they wanted to make something great out of it.”

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Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar is the place to be in Pennsylvania for the big game, date night or night out with friends. “We are a non-traditional casual sports bar with a focus on quality food and offering a great value to our guests,” Co-Founder and President Gary Huether Jr. says. 

The Harrisburg, Pa.- based company was founded in 2008 by Huether and Mike Murphy and offers a diverse menu. The highlights include fresh antibiotic- and hormone-free Kobe/Wagyu burgers, its signature Maryland Crab stuffed pretzel cheesesteaks, salads and flatbread pizza, but the restaurant is best known for its extra large wings, Huether says. 

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Founded in 2001 by CEO Dave Cook and President and COO Dave Eckley, TradeGlobal assists retailers and brands with technology and processes to manage the direct-to-consumer channel. Over the last decade-plus, the business has grown dramatically by sticking to its core values of integrity, innovation and execution along with its founding principles of customer, profitability and team. 

“We pride ourselves on having the discipline to do what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it, to continue to add new services and technologies as part of a consistent process of innovation and our commitment to day-to-day blocking and tackling that is the hallmark of our business,” Eckley says. 

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