Mrwilliams1 ThumbBy anticipating industry trends and investing in technology, this convenience store supplier has grown to serve more than 1,000 stores on the East Coast. Staying in business for more than three decades requires the ability to think ahead. North Carolina-based MR Williams, a second-generation, family-owned convenience store distributor, has used an uncanny knack for staying ahead of the industry and investing in technology to become one of the top 50 distributors in the country.  

Mistercookie1 ThumbWhen its business platform crumbled, this novelty ice cream manufacturer developed an even stronger one by building on the strengths of its past. Since its founding in 1992 as the manufacturer of its own branded product, Mister Cookie Face has undergone tremendous transformations. In the late 1990s, when its branded ice cream sandwich no longer brought the level of success it needed to survive, the company moved into the private label/co-pack business and developed an association with Silhouette, creators of the Skinny Cow brand, a weight management novelty ice cream. 

Kc1 ThumbThis store fixture manufacturer is holding its own in a down market by listening to what customers want and adjusting to meet their needs. If you think the current state of the retail industry would have a negative impact on a retail store fixture supplier, think again. Retailers needing to adjust and rearrange their stores to better suit the changing market keep KC Store Fixtures busy, although not in quite the same fashion as the company has done in previous years. 

Henrys2 ThumbFor 80 years, this organization has remained strong, and despite a down economy, its footprint continues to grow. Alexandria, Minn.-based Henry’s Foods ties its roots back to 1929 when founder Henry Eidsvold took on a dairy route that stretched around parts of rural Minnesota. From there, he began to sell candy, and eventually he began to offer cigars and cigarettes to his customers too.

Federated1 ThumbThis private label sales and marketing broker reevaluated its processes and found a way to offer its customers more for less. Several years ago, Federated Group, a retail brand owner and broker representing manufacturers at retailers and wholesalers, adjusted its business model. The company uses commission it receives from manufacturers to develop and expand its customers’ brands and drive their businesses.

Activis1 ThumbWhen one of the world’s largest global generic pharmaceutical manufacturers wanted to move into the US successfully, it made strategic acquisitions to develop a pipeline and build critical mass. Before 2005, Actavis Group was not a player in the US generic pharmaceutical marketplace. In four short years, the US division of this global company, Actavis Inc. grew its net revenues to $600 million and positioned itself as one of the leaders in the industry. 

Tastybite1 ThumbFor this company, success is about more than lots of products on the shelves; it’s also about satisfied employees and playing a positive role in the community. If a company wants its ex-employees to be ambassadors who bring in new talent and enjoy a reputation for high quality product and be a key player in its community, Preferred Brands International, manufacturer of the brand Tasty Bite, is a great example to follow.

Distantlands1 ThumbOne of the largest private label specialty coffee suppliers in the US continues to find new ways to bring the highest quality product to consumers. Founded in 1982, Distant Lands is the only vertically integrated specialty coffee company in the US. With more than 30 years of farming experience and more than 20 years of roasting experience, the company has developed a seed-to-cup business structure that begins by maintaining close contact with coffee farms and mills across the world. 

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