Brads1When Brad Gruno, founder of Brad’s Raw Foods, decided to adopt a raw food diet six years ago, he started seeing great benefits right away. This type of diet consists of consuming mainly uncooked, unprocessed, organic fruits, raw vegetables and nuts.

Gruno explains that he lost 40 pounds in the first three months, felt better and healthier, had more energy and his complexion cleared. Though he was sold on his new diet, he missed the familiar crunch of chips and other similar snacks.

Staples1Among the reasons for Staples Canada’s success is its non-hierarchical structure. Steve Matyas, president of Staples Canada, relates that if he arrives at the company’s headquarters in Richmond Hill, Ontario, late in the morning, he parks at the back of the lot and walks, just like every other employee.

Sheetz1Convenience stores are not necessarily the first places people think of when it comes to getting fresh food fast. Sheetz is looking to change that.

Food is a major driver for the regional convenience store chain, which operates more than 428 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.

Titletown1A brand never gains strength overnight – it has to be developed over time before the market holds it in high regard. Founder and President Dan Pamperin has been building Titletown Oil Corp. and its related brands since the mid-1980s, helping Titletown to become a top performer in the Green Bay, Wis., area. It started by standing on the shoulders of already strong brands, but that wasn’t enough to get it where it is today – much of Titletown’s current strength is the result of its service culture and commitment to customers.

“When we started, I was a big customer of brands – I was very loyal to brand-name products,” Pamperin explains. “At the time, the competition was generic, so we based our culture on being a premium brand company – we wanted to sell the best of everything we sold. I started by picking the No. 1 brand for every product we sold. I wanted to create a brand that you can count on and be confident with.”

Solberg1In the 2008 economic downturn, T.A. Solberg Co. faced a decision about its future. How would it weather an economic storm in the midst of markets that were becoming overly saturated with stores that sold groceries? The answer was simple: diversify.

T.A. Solberg is now a company with a broad spectrum of formats, including seven grocery stores, five gasoline stations with convenience stores, one gasoline station, a smokehouse, an events resort, a hardware store, salon, trucking company, central bakery and two recycling centers.

Sunrise1The printing business has changed dramatically since Jimmy Sun founded Sunrise Digital in 1988. Rather than let these changes overwhelm the business, Sunrise evolves to respond to technology and retail trends.

“I think we’re very innovative at adopting to change,” Sun says. “Instead of just hanging on to what we’re doing, we change with our customer and develop solutions to satisfy their demands.”

The Chicago-based company began as a neighborhood printer producing business cards and letterheads, changing gears in the early 1990s to become a pre-press company after the introduction of desktop publishing software. The late 1990s found the company making a full transition into digital printing. Sunrise Digital today offers a number of services including indigo printing, CNC cutting, digital color envelopes and direct mail fulfillment.

Silverlit1The toy industry is always looking for cutting-edge technology, but applying the technology successfully can be the challenge. This has not stopped Silverlit Toys from utilizing the latest technology in its products, Vice President of Marketing in the United States Rick Ruskin says. “[We] take technology that’s already out there in the higher-end markets and take it to the toy-grade level,” he says.

Based in Hong Kong, Silverlit manufactures toys, including radio controlled (R/C) cars and helicopters for children around the world. Ruskin explains that the company began in 1977 as an OEM manufacturer in the toy industry, but eventually moved into making its own products.

Pacificcycle1The Schwinn and Mongoose brand-names typically evoke thoughts of bicycles – a natural reaction, considering they are two of the most recognizable names in the two-wheel realm.

The company behind both brands hopes to take these names beyond their traditional realm on the road and into the home. “The biggest thing we are looking at is how to expand our brands’ footprint and take them into new categories where they make sense,” says Danna Dueck, licensing manager for Pacific Cycle Inc. “We want people to have a positive association with our brands long-term and bring them into other areas of their life year-round.”

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