Graham C Stores

Graham C-Stores makes large investments as it celebrates 80 years in business. By Kat Zeman

Petroleum runs through their veins. As third generation pioneers of the gasoline marketing and oil business, Mike and John Graham know their industry.

Their grandfather, Eugene Graham Sr., founded Graham Oil in 1938 as a venture into the petroleum and gasoline market, delivering fuel and oil to homes and farms in Illinois. By 1954, Eugene’s two sons, Jack and Eugene Jr., joined their father and the family acquired its first group of full-service gas stations with repair shops. It also became a distributor for Sinclair Oil.

By the 1990s, the third generation took over, expanding into the convenience store business and becoming Graham C-Stores Company. “We have tripled in size since taking over in 1991,” says Mike Graham, who co-owns Graham C-Stores with his brother John. “We continue to impact the market with consistent, quality offerings which drive more business to our retail outlets.”

Wellshire FarmsWellshire Farms pioneered the movement away from over-processed meats. By Tim O’Connor

Few people knew what “clean eating” was in the mid-1990s when Louis Colameco started the company that would become Wellshire Farms. Organic foods were still a small market and families didn’t look as closely at nutrition labels.

But Colameco had a vision for selling meats free of preservatives and antibiotics. After some initial success selling spiral sliced holiday hams with his father, Colameco founded his own company focused on all-natural meat and deli products. “I wanted a better way for my kids to eat, my family to eat, and I realized it could be done,” he says.

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LiDestri creates strategic partnerships and leads the industry with innovations in products, processing and packaging.

By Stephanie Crets

For more than 40 years, LiDestri has combined innovation and collaboration to become the premier private-label and contract manufacturer of food, beverages and spirits. From pasta sauce and salsa to packing and processing innovations, LiDestri has been and continues to be a pioneer in the industry. And with the recent transition of presidency from Giovanni LiDestri to his children, co-presidents Stefani LiDestri and John LiDestri, the company is poised to break more ground in food and beverage processing and packaging.

In just the past eight months, the company launched a High-Pressure Processing (HPP) tolling station and increased its capacity to process cold fill aseptic beverages; both in response to ever-growing demand from a more health-conscious consumer base. LiDestri also brought to market ‘Living Jar,’ a more sustainable and shatterproof sauce package that instantly began winning prestigious awards. And new products are rolling out of its Innovation Center like clockwork.

“Creating a shift as we have in the last six years has been a lot for the organization to digest, and it’s pivoting mostly due to our diversification efforts,” Stefani LiDestri says. “My father really started to recognize the commoditization of the sauce market meant we would have to get outside of our comfort zone and tap into other products, processing and packaging. It’s really about our strategic initiatives of diversification to remain relevant and to become true innovators.”

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MegaMadnessEvent

MEGA Group USA helps retailers buy better, increase traffic and strengthen profits through its membership services.

By Stephanie Crets

Sometimes retailers need an extra bit of help to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. That’s where MEGA Group USA comes in, helping retailers buy better, increase traffic and strengthen their profitability through services like merchandising, advertising, retail financing, training and product protection. The group has 1,800 members with more than 3,000 storefronts and about 250 vendors among which its members can purchase. It serves the appliance, electronics, furniture, mattress and outdoor product industries.

Most of its members are mom-and-pop stores in secondary and tertiary markets, operating in smaller towns. “Our members need to be able to buy, advertise and look just like a big-box retailer without having the footprint of a big-box store,” says Missy Hodges, vice president of appliances at MEGA Group. “We’re making sure that members are taking advantage of everything out there as the competition continues to grow. Most of our storeowners have been in the business for many years, starting at the bottom and working their way up. We encourage our dealers to continue to educate themselves and stay savvy in their business.”

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netelixir

Seeing Beyond the Click

By Chris Petersen

In the digital world of ecommerce, it can be easy for retailers and manufacturers to simply see their online marketing efforts as click drivers. Generally, the more clicks a website receives, the more likely their business will succeed. Just because these transactions take place in the digital realm, it doesn’t mean there aren’t people behind those clicks. That’s the philosophy that’s helped NetElixir, a leading provider of digital marketing, provide solutions for clients worldwide.

As Udayan Bose, CEO of NetElixir explains, NetElixir helps its clients succeed in their online marketing efforts by humanizing every click and providing them with a more complete picture of their customers than a purely numbers-driven approach.

With three offices serving customers worldwide, NetElixir provides a complete suite of digital marketing services that help companies reach consumers. Among these services are paid search advertising, website analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. Across all of these services, Bose says, NetElixir’s international team of highly motivated and enthusiastic technology experts help clients grow their opportunities through their global perspective and technology savvy.

Advance Packaging

Advance Packaging's Build A Bag™ Program gives formalwear boutiques and national retailers

the opportunity to make their garment bags truly stand out.

By Jim Harris

The garment bag is the unsung hero of the formalwear world; simple in concept, yet brilliant in performance. Without it, dresses, suits and tuxedoes would be more difficult to organize, transport and keep wrinkle free and undamaged. 

While many mistakenly attribute the sole purpose of a garment bag to its functionality, for Advance Packaging’s many customers, garment bags are an exciting, creative and vital part of a much broader merchandising and marketing strategy.

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