2checkout1 ThumbDuring the height of the Internet boom in 1999, former database technology consultant Alan Homewood aspired to start his own web-based business, but struggled to develop a specific plan. After extensive research and brainstorming, Homewood identified one of the biggest challenges for online businesses: performing safe, secure and easy financial transactions over the Internet.

Pilot1 ThumbOn July 1, Pilot Travel Centers acquired Flying J to form the largest single operator of travel centers in the US. The public announcement, which came after months of planning, was followed by months of changes to both companies’ locations, equalling a capital investment of more than $150 million. Ken Parent, SVP of operations for Pilot Flying J, said that although both companies knew of the pending merger for many months, there was an embargo on the announcement until after the FTC reviewed the agreement. But when the news hit the public airwaves, those in charge had to hit the ground running to make sure the necessary changes were put in place in a timely manner without disrupting the business at any of Pilot Flying J’s 550 travel centers. 

Curious1 ThumbCuriosity didn’t kill the cat; it created a monkey, and a very popular one at that. First published in 1941 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, the character of Curious George has delighted children and adults for the past 70 years by appealing to one of the most intrinsic components of human nature. “What you hear from fans of Curious George is that he’s appealing because he is childlike in the way he explores the world through trial and error,” said Maire Gorman, VP of sales and children’s marketing at Houghton Mifflin. “That’s why so many parents feel he’s a seminal character in terms of introducing a child to the world and explaining that it’s okay to make a mistake because that’s how you learn.”

Harvesttime2 ThumbAt Harvest Time Bread Company, it’s all about offering the best of both worlds. The company has strategically positioned itself as the bakery that is large enough to handle almost any order but nimble enough to provide a higher level of customized service. Although it has a legacy of more than 25 years behind it, Harvest Time’s present incarnation started taking shape in 2005. The company makes high-quality bakery products for retailers and foodservice companies across the country from its facilities in Woodbridge, NJ and Mount Airy, NC.

Learning1 ThumbBefore the age of mommy bloggers, there was Sharon DiMinico. A mother for the first time at age 38, DiMinico was careful to select the right toys for her children, paying special attention to the educational aspect of each toy and the importance of connecting the right toy to the right child. 

Bravado1 ThumbOver the last two years, Bravado International Group has more than doubled its top-line business and tripled its bottom-line results. The company started out as a small family-owned business 25 years ago, was sold to Sanctuary in 2002, and started making headway in the industry shortly thereafter. But 2007 brought with it a major change that transformed the music-related merchandiser into a one-stop shop: Universal Music Group acquired it. 

Staples2 ThumbAlthough Staples Canada’s colors are red and white, they might as well be green for all the sustainable practices the company has enlisted throughout its history. “What we’ve been doing lately is more of a flywheel effect,” said Steve Matyas, Staples Canada president. “We started off early making sure we were good environmental stewards, going back as far as the opening of our first store in 1991, and the momentum has never slowed.”

Pamida1 ThumbIn the past year, Pamida Stores Operating Co Inc. restructured, rebranded, and refocused its attentions based on three basic tenets: easy, reliable, and affordable. Getting all 204 of the discount retailer’s stores aligned from top to bottom took a lot of work, and is still in progress, but Ken Seipel said the company is already seeing results. 

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