Original Ford Gum gumball machine

Ford Gum & Machine succeeds with new channels, new products and licensing.

By Mark Lawton

To survive and thrive over 106 years, Ford Gum & Machine Company (FGMC) has adapted to changing markets and tastes. That has been particularly true in recent decades where the number of retailers has shrunk.

“At one time, we did a lot of business with Sears, JC Penney, Toys R Us and drug stores,” says Steve Greene, senior vice president and co-owner of FGMC.

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Gerber is using its relationships with farmers and its supply chain to move its products from the center of the store to areas with fresh, ready-to-eat goods.

By Staci Davidson, Knighthouse Media

As a 91-year-old business, Gerber is a well-known brand, beloved by multiple generations. With so many years of experience in the industry, Gerber knows what babies and children like and the nutrition they require, as well as what parents appreciate. These values not only help the brand endure, they keep it fresh for the next generation of babies and parents. The values start with the relationships Gerber has with farmers.

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Perry Ellis International founder George Feldenkreis regains control, taking the company private

and charging forward with a focus on sustainable practices.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Knighthouse Media

Perry Ellis International (PEI) has remained a global fashion powerhouse for 52 years with its broad portfolio of internationally recognized lifestyle brands. Although the company continues to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of fashion and retail, its success is rooted in an unwavering family culture and adoption of best practices.

1 Swaggertys Corporate Bldg Front

After nearly 90 years, Swaggerty’s Farm thrives with a culture

focused on family and treating people right.

By Alan Dorich, Knighthouse Media

Since its start in 1930, Swaggerty’s Farm has undergone changes, but one thing that has remained constant is its quest to provide a quality product to consumers. “We don’t sacrifice a few pennies for things that will provide a short-term financial gain,” Chief Operating Officer Jon Amidei asserts.



King’s Hawaiian is determined to make strategic product decisions based on data.

By Mark Lawton

While King’s Hawaiian is best known for its sweet Hawaiian bread, it doesn’t think of itself that way. “We have positioned ourselves as a Hawaiian foods company,” says John Linehan, president, chief strategy officer and chief planning officer. “We’re sold in the deli or bakery, not in the commercial bread aisle. Our competition is less other breads and more special foods mom brings home.”


An almost century-old chocolatier is relaunching its name brand

to cement its reputation and grow even more.

By Mark Lawton, Knighthouse Media

Pretty much everyone considers buying a box of Russell Stover chocolates to mark a special occasion or holiday. “We are the market leader at Valentine’s Day,” explains Mark Riegel, who is vice president of marketing. “Russell Stover is known as an occasion-based gift brand.”

BlairCandy Family

Blair Candy Co. finds its sweet spot with e-commerce, attracting wholesalers

and retailers nationwide to its vast and unique candy offerings.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Knighthouse Media

The Dandrea family knows candy. What began in 1939 as a corner store selling candy and newspapers has blossomed into an impressive distribution company that has evolved and diversified over the past eight decades to remain successful. Today, Blair Candy Co. is in its third generation of ownership led by President Patrick Dandrea, Vice President Terry Dandrea, CFO Bill Ajay and Director of E-Commerce Pam Macharola with the fourth generation waiting in the wings to move the company into the future.

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