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.

LumimexLuminex Home Décor & Fragrance is launching new products and investing in technology. By Kat Zeman

Luminex Home Décor & Fragrance is looking forward to an exciting fall season for its Candle-lite Company and PartyLite businesses.

Founded in May 2016, the Cincinnati-based company is the result of a merger between Candle-lite and PartyLite. Under the umbrella of Luminex, the two brands are launching a variety of new candles and accessories this fall.

Coen OilCoen is far from finished in making its business better. By Alan Dorich

Coen Oil Company thrives as a family owned business in its home state of Pennsylvania. “We were born here and raised here in our market,” Chairman Charles C. McIlvaine declares, noting that the Coen name has consumer recognition locally. “We have a very long history of serving our customers since 1923, and have a track record of community involvement.”

Based in Washington, Pa., Coen operates convenience stores, distributes petroleum and provides energy field services. Coen began in 1923 with World War I war bonds funding two trucks that hauled fuel for customers. Later, McIlvaine’s grandfather Charles Coen grew the company to be one of the largest jobberships East of the Mississippi with over 400 dealer locations.

“The original direct operation store was located across the street from our old headquarters and provided a daily reminder of our roots,” McIlvaine explains. McIlvaine and his brother, Andy, who is the company’s president, bought Coen in 2000 from various family members. Today, it has multiple businesses, including Coen Energy, one of the largest fuel distribution and energy services companies in the Pittsburgh area; Coen Tire, a retail tire platform; and Coen Transport, a commercial fuel hauler.

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