WSSShoe retailer WSS focuses on engaging its Spanish-speaking customers through neighborhood stores and omnichannel flexibility. By Tim O’Connor

Shoe retailer WSS has experienced 30-plus years of steady growth by adhering to its motto of “best values always.” However, Vice President Bruce Fendell says the idea of value is not limited to cost consciousness. “Value represents a whole lot of things to a whole lot of different people,” he explains.

WSS’s success has been due to its ability to recognize and deliver on those differing views of value. For some, it’s an affordable running shoe while for others it could be having the latest high-end Air Jordan sneaker launch in stock. “Selection is also one of our selling points,” Fendell says. “We have every style our customers wants to get.”

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Family PharmacyFamily Pharmacy celebrates 40 years of success by incorporating the latest technology while never losing sight of being the place where everyone knows your name and treats you like family. By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

Lynn Morris decided in third grade he wanted to be a pharmacist and from then on, every decision he made was geared toward achieving that goal. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Morris’s entire professional life was structured around owning his own pharmacy, which in 1977 became Family Pharmacy.

“My wife, Janet, and I opened Family Pharmacy on August, 20, 1977 and filled 12 prescriptions the first day,” Morris remembers. “Last year, we filled 1.4 million prescriptions in our 24 retail stores, our three closed-shop pharmacies, and our specialty pharmacy.”

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Ozark, Mo.-based company attributes its success to remaining a family owned and Christian-driven business that values innovation and customer service. Lynn and Janet’s three children work in different areas of the business. Daughter Mandy Morris is vice president and director of marketing. Their son, Justin Sanders, is the director of information technology and their daughter, Melissa Sanders, is district manager for Home Medical Services.

Quality FoodsWhether it’s its products, employees or suppliers, Quality Foods strives to provide customers with the best it has to offer. By Bianca Herron

As Quality Foods celebrates its 35-year anniversary this year, the Commerce, Ga.-based company prides itself on consistently delivering a customer experience that exceeds the quality of foods it sells.

“We were founded in 1982 and now have eight locations located in Georgia and South Carolina,” Owner Verlin Reece says proudly. “We strive to provide the best overall value for our customers by offering high-quality products, the cleanest shopping environment and the friendliest associates.”

Bens PharmacyBen’s Pharmacy focuses on the total health of its patients by offering value-added services that set it apart from the competition. By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

With the well-being of its patients always at the forefront, Ben’s Pharmacy has delivered a second-to-none in-store experience for nearly 40 years and continues to raise the bar on customer service. “What do our patients want?” President and founder Ben Smith asks. “To be well, have energy, see their grandchildren grow up and to participate in and enjoy life. It’s something I took away from a course I attended and what I want for our patients. That’s going to be the theme in all our stores.”

Smith opened his first pharmacy in 1979 in Pefferlaw, Ontario and has grown the company to 12 locations today throughout central Ontario. Most of its stores are located in small, rural communities and range from 1,200 to 5,500 square feet with Beaverton being its largest and busiest store.

Mainstream BoutiqueOne woman’s dream turned Mainstream Boutique into a multimillion-dollar business. By Kat Zeman

Even Oprah Winfrey wanted to know her secret. When Marie DeNicola made her exit from the corporate world, she took her passion for the fashion industry and turned it into a multimillion-dollar business.

Working from her basement, DeNicola called her venture the Mainstream Boutique – because she lived on Mainstream Circle. “I really wanted to appeal to women, to empower them through fashion,” DeNicola says.

DeNicola started franchising after appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show in the ‘90s. Today, she sits on top of a $40 million franchise empire that has blossomed into 78 locations throughout the United States. But Mainstream Boutique’s story is still being written.

The United FamilyThe number of The United Family stores has doubled in the past four years and continues to grow. By Kat Zeman

If its current growth rate continues, The United Family will soon open its 100th supermarket. Four years ago, the Lubbock, Texas-based chain operated 53 supermarkets and grocery stores in Texas. Today, that number has jumped to 92 and the company has expanded its operations into New Mexico.

“We’ve been onboarding stores from different companies over the last couple of years and we’ve been merging our cultures,” says Wes Jackson, the company’s chief merchandising officer. “That’s probably our No. 1 key to success.”

The United Family’s 92 supermarkets operate under four different brands: United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos and Albertsons Market. In addition, the company operates more than 30 gas stations with convenience stores under its United Express brand.

Los Altos Ranch MarketLos Altos Ranch Market caters to the Hispanic market and offers something for everyone. By Chris Kelsch

In 2014, Southern California-based Cardenas Markets and Northgate Gonzalez Markets came together to purchase Phoenix-based Pro’s Ranch Market out of bankruptcy for $55 million. They formed CNG Ranch LLC, and upon purchasing 11 stores –seven in Arizona, two in New Mexico and two in Texas – began rebranding while the locations remained open. Since the acquisition they have displaced the two stores in New Mexico and the two in Texas. They now operate seven stores in Phoenix Metro Area. They renamed the stores Los Altos Ranch Market, after the region in Mexico where the Cardenas and Gonzalez families came from.

Since the rebranding, the operation has blossomed. Steve Harding, vice president of operations with Los Altos Ranch Market, knows how important it is to make an impact on a shopper immediately. “You can see and feel it as soon as you walk in,” Harding notes. “You see a different atmosphere.”

For a new supermarket to stand out in the highly competitive grocery industry, it really has to go the extra mile to catch the attention of shoppers. Fortunately for Los Altos Ranch Market there was already some customer loyalty to build upon. Pro’s Ranch Markets had developed a loyal following and was even voted Arizona’s Retailer of the Year in 2012.

AllCare PharmacyAllCare Pharmacy has not only provided its customers with the right prescriptions for more than 40 years, but also service from the heart. By Bianca Herron

Percy Malone, president and owner of AllCare Pharmacy, is modest about the reasons behind the success of the company he founded in 1975. “You don’t make money in the pharmacy industry by making money; you make money by taking care of people,” Malone says. “After more than 40 years in the industry, I think that is what has separated us from our competitors.”

Malone adds that AllCare Pharmacy’s compassionate attitude has set the Arkadelphia, Ark.-based company apart from its competitors. “Since I was a very young man I have learned that no one wants to hear ‘no,’” he says. “I’ve spent my life attempting to not say ‘no.’ I’ve always worked hard to find an answer for the customer or patient, to understand that I’m looking for ways to say ‘yes.’ So I’ve worked hard to instill that in my company and in my people throughout the years.”

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