PharmacaPharmaca is focused on growth and escalating the customer experience. By Alan Dorich

When customers come to a Pharmaca store, they can be confident in the products it sells. “The people at the home office and those managing our stores have a passion for making sure we’re putting the best thing on the shelf,” President and CEO Richard Willis declares. “That’s what sets Pharmaca apart.”

Based in Boulder, Colo., the company’s locations sell both pharmaceutical medicines and alternative and wellness products. Founder Barry Perzow started Pharmaca 17 years ago, after traveling in Europe.

“He had the idea of combining a pharmacy with a retail store that would also sell alternative and wellness medicines,” Willis explains. Perzow bought a pharmacy in Boulder and followed it up by constructing the company’s first full-service location.

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Beacon BridgeBeacon & Bridge Market serves its communities and state by selling products from local suppliers. By Tim O’Connor

In a state known as the center of the auto industry, where American-made is a way of life for millions of blue collar workers, Beacon & Bridge Market replicates that homegrown pride on an even more local scale. The chain of convenience store gas stations purchases products from Michigan suppliers and manufactures whenever possible, keeping its spending in-state and helping fellow Michigan businesses grow.

“We pride ourselves on being a Michigan company,” Vice President Scott Nelson says. “We’re trying to carry as many Michigan-made products as possible.”

Benzer PharmacyBenzer Pharmacy’s new CFO introduced processes and technologies to improve operations and support accelerated growth. By Tim O’Connor

On the march to 200 stores, Benzer Pharmacy is creating a cohesive brand known for expert service from dedicated pharmacists. Going forward, the collection of independent retail pharmacies will all use the Benzer name, the same technology and standard processes. “We want to get the philosophy across the whole company,” CFO Bob Shatanoff says. “It’s one Benzer.”

Where large competitors try to be all-in-one retailers that sell groceries and greeting cards alongside prescription drugs, Benzer sets itself apart as a pure pharmacy dedicated to personal service. When customers enter the building, they are greeted by a pharmacist who knows their history and will take the time to answer any questions they have. “We don’t have a lot of brick and mortar,” Shatanoff explains. “We don’t want a 10,000-square-foot store. We want a 2,500-square-foot pharmacy with a pharmacist.” 

MonopriceAs the No. 1 3D printer brand in the world, Monoprice aims to capture more customers globally. By Bianca Herron

Monoprice was founded in 2002 with one goal in mind: to sell premium products at an affordable price. Founder Seong Hong found success by eliminating layers of markup within the supply chain and selling products in a direct-to-consumer model via a website: He continued to grow the company, emphasizing cables, adapters and wall mounts as its core business.

In 2013, Hong sold Monoprice to Blucora Inc., a provider of technology-enabled financial solutions to consumers, small businesses and tax professionals. Around that time, the retail environment was being dramatically altered by increased competition from notable brands - including Amazon, Walmart, and eBay – that were creating or expanding online marketplaces.

This ultimately made it easy for small and overseas businesses to sell affordable products directly to consumers. Simultaneously, there was a rise in white-label manufacturing by large brands including the introduction of AmazonBasics by Amazon.

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McAneny BrothersMcAneny Brothers offers everything a c-store needs plus fresh produce, meats, deli, dairy, frozen and more for independent groceries. By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

It was a leap of faith McAneny Brothers’ parents took back in 1979 when they put their family home on the line to secure the bank loan three of their sons needed to buy a small wholesale business from the family’s next door neighbors.

Steve McAneny remembers, “It was asking a lot. Our parents believed in us enough to literally put up everything they had. We were young. I was 24 years old, my brother Tom was 22 and Joe was just graduating high school at 18 years old.”

“We paid off that first loan, and now 38 years later, we’re still growing, continuing to work hard,” McAneny says. “My parents instilled a work ethic in us and I think that’s a good part of what helped us. My brothers and I worked after school and summers for our neighbors, Harry and Mary Jo Helsel. When we bought Helsel Wholesale, it was a one-room storefront that was no more than 3,000 square feet. We sold tobacco, confections, novelties, and fundraising games to local stores and organizations. That was our focus for the first several years.”

WESCOWesco Inc. strives to be a great place to work and shop. By Alan Dorich

Wesco Inc. not only makes sure its convenience stores are stocked with the products its customers are looking for, but also the right people to serve them. “We work hard to find great associates,” Co-President Nancy Westgate-Sytsema says.

“Our mission statement here at Wesco is that we want to be a great place in the world to work and shop,” she says. “Our culture really exemplifies that and embraces it.”

Based in Muskegon, Mich., Wesco operates convenience stores within its home state. Sytsema’s grandfather, Bud Westgate, started the company in 1952 with a single gas station that he built himself.

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Associated Supermarkets GroupAssociated Supermarkets Group strives to constantly provide its customers with quality products and the necessary tools to succeed. By Bianca Herron

Associated Supermarkets Group (ASG), under the leadership of CEO, President and Executive Chairman Bob Striano, is the largest group of independently operated supermarkets in the New York tri-state area and other states along the Eastern Seaboard including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based company was formerly known as Associated Food Stores and decided to change its name after adding the Met Foods, Metropolitan Citymarkets and Pioneer Supermarkets banners to its portfolio. The well recognized brands have served the New York City marketplace for many years.

Today, ASG serves a network of over 300 independent grocery retail stores with solutions and services that include procurement, distribution, marketing, merchandising, advertising and promotion services, in addition to store financing.

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