Sunnyway1 ThumbA lot has changed for Sunnyway Foods in the last few years. The family-owned and operated independent grocery chain of southern Pennsylvania saw two Wal-Mart Super-centers and two Giant food stores move into the area in the late 1990s, as well as a Food Lion store less than a quarter mile from each of Sunnyway’s locations. But for Dean Martin, president, the new competition provided an opportunity.

Lightlife1 ThumbThis meat-free food company strengthens its brand recognition by reaching beyond the food and into our environmental consciousness. If the idea that eating well can help you save the planet seems a little far-fetched, then you’re not paying attention.

Home1 Thumb

Almost all retailers are affected by driving decisions due to high fuel prices, but perhaps none so much as the convenience stores owned by Home Service Oil in Barnhart, Mo. With fuel conservation in mind, fewer fill-ups are common, which means a decline in purchases at Home Service Oil’s 10 Express Marts.

Eatzis1 ThumbIn the past two years, Dallas-based EatZi’s has more than doubled its weekly sales. And although owner Philip Romano was in charge of the change, he credits a customer service philosophy he has used since he founded the restaurant-style market and bakery in 1996: always create a meaningful customer experience. 

Hatch1 ThumbPreschool is no longer just about finger-painting and nap time. New research is fueling the creation of more benchmarks and expectations for younger children, and as technology becomes a larger part of everyone’s life, the difference between children who grow up with a computer in their home and those who do not is striking. 

Kohlls1 ThumbMultiple divisions haven’t weakened the vision of this Nebraska pharmacy. If you’re looking for a growth strategy that’s off the beaten path, you’ll be interested in this 60-year-old pharmacy: it adds divisions, ranging from hormone-replacement drug therapy to general contracting, rather than adding locations. 

Vonmaur1 ThumbMore than a century of experience and a willingness to implement unique, customer-centered features help this department store chain thrive. After 136 years of business, it will take more than the current economic slump to bring down Von Maur, an Iowa-based 22-location department store chain that prides itself on unique brands and services to pamper its customers.

Shoe1 ThumbTerry’s son Brent Barkin became vice president about a year ago, but he’s been working for his father for most of this life, in every position from stocking to buying merchandise. He said his latest promotion is more of a title than a role change because he is still doing what he does best. “I’ve been helping the company see itself as a larger entity in need of more efficient and structured procedures than a start-up needs,” he explained.

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