JJ Snack 2J&J Snack Foods leads the way in the soft pretzel market.

By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

J&J Snack Foods Corp.’s business is focused on food, but the company would not have its success without its team of associates, President and CEO Gerald B. Shreiber says. As the company has built its staff, it has sought people with drive, ambition and intelligence.

Braswell Family Farms web photo 1

Braswell Family Farms prides itself on being involved in its employees’ lives. By Tim O’Connor

When employees go through struggles at home, many companies want them to leave that baggage outside the office doors. There’s no time to deal with those personal hardships when deadlines are looming and customers are looking for a fast response. But more often than not, those home factors bleed into an employees’ work in one way or another.

The folks behind North Carolina egg producer Braswell Family Farms recognize that sometimes their employees need extra help coping with hardship. Five years ago, the company enlisted Corporate Chaplains of America to provide crisis care to employees 24/7. Workers have access to a chaplain who can help them manage grief, deal with home problems or simply act as a listener.

Pladis Global picConfectionary and snack company Pladis Global builds on its established brands by maintaining a commitment to its mission and values.
By Jim Harris, Senior Editor for Knighthouse Publishing 

Pladis Global’s dedication to its core values of honesty, integrity and passion drives it to fulfill its mission to “promote happiness to the world with every bite.”

“I think what really drives our success here in North America as well as globally is our interest around serving our company mission,” says Brian Blanchard, managing director and regional CEO, North America. “Every brand that we produce was founded by entrepreneurs, and we have retained that entrepreneurial spirit. We have built a team and culture around our values, and that is one of the key things that allows us to be successful.”

BorgesBorges’ olive oil expertise has earned it loyal customers worldwide.

By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing

Borges is the definite expert when it comes to producing high-quality olive oil, President Francesc Sola says. Not only are millions of consumers loyal to the products sold under its brand name, but “we are the No. 1 producer of organic extra virgin olive oil in the world,” he says.


SedlakSedlak Supply Chain Consultants helps retailers and others improve their supply chain and distribution operations. By Jim Harris

For the past 60 years, Sedlak Supply Chain Consultants has helped retailers and others navigate through a constantly changing marketplace. “There are existential challenges for retailers who are trying to deal with today’s market, and our job is to help them through that space,” says Dave DuBose, vice president of business development.

One of the most obvious of these challenges is competition from e-commerce giants such as Amazon. Meeting next-day and same-day delivery expectations without driving up costs is a constant challenge for retailers. The Cleveland, Ohio-based company helps many of its clients build their e-commerce distribution capabilities. “In-store sales might be declining and stores are closing across retail, but online sales are growing by double digits,” DuBose adds. “We help retailers think about ways they can leverage the assets in their in-store networks to creatively meet online sales demand, such as shipping from stores or using stores as pop-up distribution centers.”

Rise BakingRise Baking Company has earned its clients’ trust by making them winners in the bakery category. By Alan Dorich

When some companies get larger, they lose their nimbleness when serving clients. Rise Baking Company has successfully avoided this fate, Senior Vice President of Sales Jeff Getzkin says. “We’ve been able to maintain exceptional service levels and grow with our customers,” he asserts.

One example, he notes, is how Rise can commercialize items quickly. Some companies take three to four months, but “we will jump through hoops and knock down walls to get products commercialized,” he declares.

Based in Minneapolis, Rise Baking Company provides baked cookies, cookie dough, crispy bars and artisan breads for in-store bakeries and foodservice clients. The company, which was formed from the merger of multiple legacy businesses, started with New French Bakery in 2013.

Rubies Pet ShopRubie’s Pet Shop Boutique unveils new pet costumes in response to a growing demand. By Kat Zeman

Fido is no longer man’s best friend. He’s a member of the family. That appears to be the consensus among the millennial generation, which is leading a pet-pampering movement that is becoming a very lucrative business for retailers who’ve noticed the trend.

Rubie’s Pet Shop Boutique has noticed. In fact, the company has seen its pet costume sales grow by roughly 400 percent in the past five years.

“I’d say that the trend began when cats and dogs started to become more human with millenials,” Executive Vice President Howie Beige says. “Millenials seem to be spending more time interacting with their pets much like a parent would with a child. I’m amazed by this, but it’s wonderful.”

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