Lush1 ThumbBeing environmentally conscious doesn’t mean you can’t smell good too. At least that’s what the creators of UK-based Lush, a purveyor of fresh, handmade cosmetics, believe, and it’s a concept that’s stayed with the company since its founding in Poole Dorset in 1995.

Bomgaars1 ThumbDespite tough economic times, this chain of farm stores continues to expand its footprint in the Midwest. In an age where general stores have become significantly less common, Bomgaars has managed to stand strong.

Borba1 ThumbNo one can revolutionize an industry on his or her own, not even Scott-Vincent Borba, founder and CEO of Borba, who is known for a radical approach in developing high-end skin care products. But he is trying.

Diamond1 ThumbIn the area between Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware, one privately owned furniture chain rises above the rest. Diamond Furniture has been known for uncompromising customer service since 1927 and is recognized, even among its competitors, as an exceptional retailer even in today’s tough economy. “Our success comes from our determination to constantly fine tune and prune our practices so we can always offer our customers the best deal and the best service,” said Gary Diamond, president and CEO.

Dollargiant1 ThumbIn the last 12 months, Vancouver-based Dollar Giant has opened 17 stores. For 2009, Joseph Calvano, founder, president, and CEO, plans to open 10 more. With the world’s economy feeling shaky and companies looking to scale back rather than branch out, other retailers may be wondering how Calvano can make such decisions. It all comes back to his company’s simple business platform: no piece of merchandise in any of Dollar Giant’s 60-plus stores costs more than $1.00.

Fantastic1 ThumbThe concept of a full-service salon began in 1974 with Sam Ross. Having been a barber years before, he founded Fantastic Sams with the idea of servicing everyone, not only men in a barbershop, and opened a unisex hair salon. 

Gateway1 ThumbWith seven locations throughout Northwest Alabama, Gateway Foods, Inc. is a small supermarket chain that focuses on superb customer service. The company opened its first store in 1978 in Double Springs, Ala. and has gradually expanded over the past three decades. 

Genes1 ThumbWith consumer spending trends pointing downward, it is a wonder that independent retailers can survive at all. But California’s Gene’s Fine Foods has served generations by connecting with customers in a way most chain stores would envy.

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