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Chukar Cherries was doing all-natural and locally sourced before it was cool. In the past 15 years, the Washington-based manufacturer of fruit products rethought its organization and turned a good concept into a thriving business. “From the very beginning, we defined what we were going to do and what we weren’t going to do,” owner Pam Montgomery says of Chukar’s natural approach. “We wanted the product line to be a mix of wholesome and decadent with a limited number of ingredients. We wanted a well-operated work environment where employees could be creative, part of a team, and rewarded.”

“Our focus has always been on the best of nature, the best of chocolate,” Montgomery says. That motto has been a key motivator since Montgomery founded the company. Montgomery was 30 and a mother of three young girls in 1986 when she decided to move from Seattle and bought a cherry orchard with 8,000 trees in Prosser, Wash. At the end of each season, cherries were harvested by hand, leaving many trees unpicked or only partially picked. 

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Founded in 1986, Alaskan Brewing Co. has come a long way since co-founders Marcy and Geoff Larson enlisted 88 investors throughout Alaska to start their Juneau-based brewery. At the time, there were fewer than 100 operating breweries in the nation. Today, Alaskan Brewing produces more than 150,000 barrels annually from it single brewery in Juneau, and it is one of the top 20 craft breweries in the United States as defined by the Brewers Association. 

“We faced financial and logistical challenges to brew beer in the Last Frontier, but we brought a unique skill set to the task of opening a brewery in Alaska,” Marcy Larson says. “Geoff was a chemical engineer and a home brewer, and I was an adventure-seeking accountant and aspiring bush pilot.”

Wireline1

Consumers may not always notice wire racks that display retail products. But retailers who focus on marketing and product placement understand the critical role they serve.

Many of those retailers look to Wireline.net, a leading manufacturer of store merchandising accessories and point-of-purchase displays. The Hayward, Calif.-based company has built a reputation since 1965 for working closely with its customers to offer effective display solutions.

With 50 years of merchandising experience, the company is a leader in the industry. “We are relied on and trusted for manufactured metal displays,” President Kyle Robinson says. “We’ve evolved in certain ways, but we’ve always been about merchandise.” Wireline.net has adapted to market fluctuations by partnering with retailers and brand markets to develop display solutions to meet specific needs.

Vigoss1

Since its start in 2002, Vigoss USA has established itself has a well-known force in the world of denim, CEO and founder David Kubresi says. Today, the company is proud that retailers such as Nordstrom and Maurices carry its denim products.

Based in New York City, Vigoss USA’s denim products include, but are not limited to jeans, skirts, shorts and maternity wear. When Kubresi started the company, he chose its specialty based on how lucrative it could be with American consumers.

“One of the things I was debating [was whether] to get into athletic footwear or get into the denim products,” he recalls, noting that he ultimately chose denim, due to its popularity in the marketplace.

Natures1

Many people turn to doctors or prescription drugs to manage their weight, stress, cardiovascular issues and countless other conditions. But Nature’s Sunshine has a different, healthier, more natural solution to everyday health challenges. 

Nature’s Sunshine began 43 years ago after Gene Hughes developed a nagging stomach condition and began taking cayenne pepper to help with his symptoms. Although this significantly improved his symptoms, he found the substance difficult to consume by the spoonful. Soon his wife, Kristine Hughes, suggested putting the powder into a capsule for easier ingestion. Thus, the first company to encapsulate herbs in the United States was born. Nature’s Sunshine has since grown from a small, family owned business to one of the leading health and wellness companies in the world.

Martin1

The Martin Bauer Group’s roots go back nearly 100 years when company founder Martin Bauer started collecting herbs from fields and selling them at the local market, President and CEO Richard Enticott says of the company’s early days.

Martin Bauer founded the company in 1924. He started off collecting, drying and cutting locally sourced botanicals and selling them in the domestic market. Business accelerated rapidly in the post-war years, and today the company is a leading manufacturer and worldwide supplier of hundreds of teas, extracts and botanical ingredients to the food, beverage and dietary supplement industries, Enticott says.

Krispy1

Picture yourself on a road trip across the country. You pull off the highway and stop for gas at a Citgo. When you go in to pay, suddenly the zesty smell of Cajun chicken fills your nose. You weren’t expecting to buy chicken at the gas station’s convenience store, but the tantalizing display of chicken and buttery biscuits is too irresistible. And that is Krispy Krunchy Chicken’s goal.

“We believe that 50 percent of our volume comes from people walking into a convenience store with no intention of eating,” Executive Vice President Dan Shapiro says. “We try to merchandise it so that he sees it, he smells it and it looks great. And all of the sudden, he realizes he’s hungry.”

Neal Onebane, president and founder of Krispy Krunchy Chicken, purchased a chicken program from an old time convenience store chicken supplier in 1989. But he wanted to master the merchandising of it. Taking inspiration from how Popeye’s Chicken displays its product, he developed a hot food case with grates at the top to better display his new chicken product rather than having it rest inside pans.  

East1

When it comes to warehousing and logistics services, East Coast Warehouse believes it’s not a transaction business; rather, it’s a relationship business. The New Jersey-based leader in refrigerated and ambient warehousing wants to have a close relationship with customers so they feel as if East Coast Warehouse is an extension of their own team. “We try to take away that vendor/supplier type of mentality by going above and beyond,” Vice President of Sales Rich Coppola says.

East Coast Warehouse offers customers one point of contact and one point of concentration for distribution services. “We provide that one-stop shop that allows our customers to spend less administrative time on the supply chain,” CEO Jamie Overley says. “We’re so important to our customers and we relish and we value that relationship. We realize the responsibility we have to our customers. And that’s our focus, being able to execute on that vision.”

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