SardaFast-growing Balinese jewelry manufacturer Sarda plans to expand its exotic empire. By Kat Zeman

It was meant to be. When her eyes first spotted that tray of silver beads in a small boutique, they brightened. Janyl Sherman instantly recognized the unmistakable Bali-style beads known for their intricate and detailed silver-dotted and wiry patterns.

Balinese beads, often considered the highest quality of beads, are handcrafted by skilled silversmiths on the exotic island of Bali, Indonesia. She had to have them.

“I bought them all,” Sherman admits. But little did she know that this moment set in motion events that would change her life forever. It was as if the beads spoke to her. A woman possessed, Sherman drove through two states in search of more beads.

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RockyRocky Brands overcomes recent challenges by refocusing on its legacy boot brands. By Jim Harris

The heritage and longevity of Rocky Brands’ footwear brands have long distinguished the company from its peers. Founded in 1979, the company designs, manufactures and markets premium boots, footwear and apparel under four brands. The oldest of the brands, Lehigh, dates its history back to the 1920s.
Two of its other brands, Georgia and Durango, date back to the 1930s and 1960s, respectively. “It carries a lot of weight that we’ve been able to stay around that long while dealing with changes to the marketplace and still be a reasonably strong brand,” CEO Jason Brooks says.

Since becoming the company’s CEO, Brooks has worked to build on and preserve the legacy of the company. Brooks was named to the position in May 2017, succeeding his father Mike Brooks, who had been acting as interim CEO of the company since September 2016. Mike Brooks still serves as the chairman of the board of directors.

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DOERRWith the opening of its second store, Doerr Furniture brings its trusted name and high-quality promise to an expanded market. By Tim O’Connor

Buying furniture for your first apartment or home is an exciting and scary prospect. Young people living on their own for the first time often don’t have the experience to identify a quality dining room table or a good bed frame. It’s not unusual for them to enlist their family members for help in shopping for furniture. For eight decades in New Orleans, those parents and grandparents have brought their children to Doerr Furniture.

The shop, located at the corner of Burgundy Street and Elysian Fields Avenue in the city’s Marigny neighborhood, has served multiple generations of New Orleans families since it opened in 1938. “Our focus is on the quality of products first and foremost, and building relationships with our customers over the years,” President and CEO Shane Mutter says.

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Diamond of CalifDiamond of California embraces its history while undergoing a brand redesign and developing a new product line to meet the ever-changing market demands. By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

Diamond of California’s mission since 1912, when it was started by a group of walnut farmers, has been to bring the bounty from the state’s Central Valley farms to America’s tables. “Diamond of California is a 106-year-old brand with a rich history in California agriculture, a lasting presence in the kitchens of families across America and a continued promise to deliver only the highest in quality,” CEO Gary Ford says. “Our success is attributed to paying homage to this century-old legacy in everything we do.”

Diamond of California packages fresh walnuts, almonds, pecans and other culinary nuts in whole, sliced, diced and chopped forms. All of its walnut and almond orchards lie up and down the state of California, including near its headquarters in Stockton, which Ford describes as the heartland of the state.

“Diamond of California has worked with walnut growers since 1912, making the company one of the earliest pioneers of the farm-to-table movement,” he adds. “And while nut farming may have changed a bit in the past century, our commitment to our growers – and their commitment to cultivating the highest-quality nuts – hasn’t.”

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RakutenRakuten Kobo experiences steady growth and introduces audiobooks to its product portfolio. by Kat Zeman

As tablets and smartphones grew in popularity, many people predicted the death of the e-reader. They were wrong. E-readers have millions of dedicated fans, especially among avid readers 45 years and older.

Rakuten Kobo, the second-largest manufacturer of e-reading devices and accessories in the world, can testify to that. The Toronto-based company, which introduced audiobooks to its portfolio in September, has been enjoying a steady revenue stream in recent years. It has also been studying readers and their habits. It segments them across a number of data points to glean who they are, how old they are and how they decide to buy and what motivates them.

It has found that its thriving business is driven partially by middle-aged adults and people in retirement age. Why? E-readers give them the ability to change font size to suit tired eyes or diminished eyesight, they are much lighter than the weight of most books and they offer instant access to books without having to venture outside of the home.

CostaCosta Del Mar plans to be a world-class organization by investing in its people, technology and partnerships. By Bianca Herron

After growing tired of wearing sunglasses that didn’t stand up to the elements, a group of dedicated fishermen decided to create their own. In 1983, Costa Del Mar was born. Its founders were inspired to develop a specific lens technology that not only provided the ultimate clarity and color enhancement, but protected the eyes as well - and sunglasses that stood up to even their harshest pursuits.

Still today, Costa remains true to its commitment to producing the world’s clearest polarized performance sunglasses, including prescription sunglasses, with unparalleled fit and durability – for life on and off the water.

The Daytona Beach, Fla.-based company is located “just up the road” from where it was founded 35 years ago in Ormond Beach, Fla. and prides itself on building their sunglasses here in the United States. “From product design and development, to manufacturing and distribution, it’s all done here in Florida,” CEO Holly Rush says.

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