Pride Stores picPRIDE Stores distinguishes itself from other gas stations/convenience stores with high-quality food and attractive surroundings.
By Jim Harris

Mario Spina knows that many people have preconceived notions about the quality of the food available in gas station convenience stores. “The biggest thing we battle is getting the perception of gas station food out of people’s minds when they come to our locations,” says Spina, CEO of the Warrenville, Ill.-based PRIDE Stores. “We want people to look past the fact that our food is made in a gas station.”

The company in recent years renovated its locations in the Chicago-area market to make them more appealing to guests, and added three foodservice concepts: Urban Counter, The PRIDE Café and Taco Urbano. “We try to do things differently than most gas station convenience stores in this market,” Spina says. “We try to carry name brands along with a heavy focus on fresh, high-quality food at an affordable price.”

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Things Engraved is rebranding and exploring new opportunities to improve the customer experience.

By Kat Zeman, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

It’s known as Canada’s premier gift store chain, but Things Engraved is rebranding and exploring new opportunities to expand the customer shopping experience outward. “We’re not just one link in the gift-giving chain,” says Shawn Brock, the company’s new CEO. “We can also serve as a destination for a complete gift giving experience, rather than being a link in the chain.”

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Nicole Miller will introduce more casual designs and launch a new visually aesthetic website.

By Kat Zeman, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

A long-time veteran of the fashion world, Nicole Miller CEO Bud Konheim doesn’t believe in following trends set by others. The company stands apart from other brands thanks to its dogged determination to follow its own path and avoid sticking with the herd. It has thrived for more than three decades by embracing change and marching to the beat of a different drum. “The philosophy of being different is about embracing change,” Konheim says.

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Earth Shoes is relaunching its iconic ‘70s Kalso shoe and releasing a new insole as it rebrands.

By Kat Zeman, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

With new products and projects on the horizon, Earth Shoes is preparing for launch off. Focused on comfort and wellness, the shoe manufacturer is relaunching its iconic ‘70s Kalso shoe this fall and undergoing rebranding. “Our new tagline is ‘Modern Wellness Fashion’ and Kalso is at the top of that,” CEO Phil Meynard says. Along with the Kalso shoe, Earth Shoes will be introducing its new Powerpath insole that is designed optimize comfort and performance.

Sit n SleepSit ‘n Sleep keeps the customer experience fresh in its stores.

By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

Sit ‘n Sleep strives to make the process of buying a mattress as comfortable as it is to sleep on one. “From the time our guests walk into the stores to the time it’s delivered, they need customer service,” Chairman and CEO Larry Miller declares. 

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