Bob Goldberg and the team at this food manufacturing and distribution company believe in their mission to bring vegetarian, all-natural, and organic food to the country. In the 1970s, there were four friends who ran a lunch bar in a Canoga Park, Calif. health food store. When the owners decided to sell the store, the friends bought it and created one of the first strictly vegetarian food stores. Two of those friends went  on to run one of the fastest growing natural, organic, and vegetarian food manufacturers in the country today.

This California-based toy manufacturer sends a message of innovation and imagination with each of its products. After 30 years, how many toy manufacturers can still say they manufacture their signature product in the US? Not many. But Little Tikes, sister company to MGA Entertainment, can. As the parent company to brands including Bratz, Bratz Kidz, Zapf Creation, and Rescue Pets, MGA is proud of its American heritage and even more proud of the message its products send. 

Because of a commitment to people, planet, and profits, this maker of healthy, organic beverages has seen rapid growth in a little more than six years of operations. Perhaps this is overstating the obvious, but excessive soft drink consumption is bad for you. Or at least it used to be. Thanks to Eric Schnell and Steven Kessler, co-founders of the Steaz brand of organic beverages, soft drink lovers can now choose a soft drink that is good for both body and mind. 

Growth for this Asian-inspired food company will come through new distribution channels, according to Walt Riglian. For more than 15 years, Vitasoy USA has been importing soy beverages from its parent company headquarters in Hong Kong to Asian specialty food stores in the US, but in the last few years, it’s started broadening its scope. “In the late 1990s and early 2000s, interest in and sales of soy and tofu products jumped to a new level as people in this country became more aware of its health benefits,” said Walt Riglian, president and CEO. “They know now that these are healthy options, but the typical American consumer doesn’t know just how healthy or how to integrate these products into their daily diet; our current focus is to teach them.”

With roots as a basement business selling through eBay, this e-tailer is taking a new approach to online sales and marketing of branded products geared toward kids. If you thought it wasn’t possible to build a business by selling items in places like eBay, think again. Just ask Ty Simpson, the founder, president, and CEO of Brand Performance, a company that literally began in Simpson’s basement.

This family owned book display marketing company is finding success by meeting the needs of its stakeholders. Earl Kaplan started Books are Fun in his two-bedroom house in Fairfield, Iowa in 1990. The company started out small, but by 1999, the book display marketer had grown tremendously and was displaying, selling, and marketing books, gifts, and educational products to corporations, schools, universities, early learning centers, hospitals, government offices, and nonprofit organizations across the US and Canada. 

This vertically integrated nutritional supplement manufacturer and distributor broke into the retail world by continuing to deliver quality ingredients and effective formulas designed to improve lives. When Rod Burreson started Roex, Inc. in 1994, he gave away his product for free. Because he believed so strongly in the nutritional benefits of PC-95 (procyanidin), the former bodybuilder and health enthusiast knew that once his clients tried it, they would be convinced of the benefits of taking it. 

This accessory footwear provider knows that comfort alone won’t build a successful business, but it doesn’t hurt, either. The start of RG Barry Corporation was not so much the result of thinking outside of the box but rather thinking outside of the sole. In the late 1940s, as the War wound down, companies that manufactured for war use only began looking for other ways to commercialize their products.

rmcover janfeb2016

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