Silverlit1The toy industry is always looking for cutting-edge technology, but applying the technology successfully can be the challenge. This has not stopped Silverlit Toys from utilizing the latest technology in its products, Vice President of Marketing in the United States Rick Ruskin says. “[We] take technology that’s already out there in the higher-end markets and take it to the toy-grade level,” he says.

Based in Hong Kong, Silverlit manufactures toys, including radio controlled (R/C) cars and helicopters for children around the world. Ruskin explains that the company began in 1977 as an OEM manufacturer in the toy industry, but eventually moved into making its own products.

Pacificcycle1The Schwinn and Mongoose brand-names typically evoke thoughts of bicycles – a natural reaction, considering they are two of the most recognizable names in the two-wheel realm.

The company behind both brands hopes to take these names beyond their traditional realm on the road and into the home. “The biggest thing we are looking at is how to expand our brands’ footprint and take them into new categories where they make sense,” says Danna Dueck, licensing manager for Pacific Cycle Inc. “We want people to have a positive association with our brands long-term and bring them into other areas of their life year-round.”

Nationwide1When people buy glasses or visit a doctor for eyecare, they want to go to someone they can trust their eyes with.

Nationwide Vision strives to be that trusted care provider. Based in Chandler, Ariz., the company’s 64 locations in its home state specialize in comprehensive eye and medical exams, large selections of designer eye glasses, all major brands of contact lenses and surgical procedures, including Lasik, Intraocular contact lenses, Clear lens exchange and Cataract procedures.

Dr. Neal Weinstein and Dr. Mark Hechtman founded the company in 1985, and today, it remains solely owned by the doctors. Additionally, Nationwide Vision is Arizona’s largest optical retailer and the 15th-largest optical retail chain in the United States. In the next three years, the company plans to open 15 new Arizona locations.

Hain1For natural and specialty food stores, as well as traditional supermarkets and foodservice operators, Hain Pure Protein Corp. (Hain PPC) has become a partner of choice. The company’s full range of premium all-natural, antibiotic-free and organic poultry products are well known as some of the top-quality protein on the market today.

“We are pioneers in this business and follow an EarthWise approach that gives our products and brands more appeal to customers looking for top-quality products,” COO and CFO Jay Lieberman says. Hain PPC is known for antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed poultry products that have been humanely raised.

Ebags1Online retailers spend thousands and even millions of dollars on market research to determine where to dedicate resources.

But all eBags.com co-founder and Executive Vice President Peter Cobb has to do is consult with his three children, who are 17, 19 and 20 years old and  and conduct just about all of their shopping through their computers or mobile devices.

Conns1After the economy soured in 2008, Conn’s examined which of its locations – currently numbering 65 in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma – did well during the downturn selling the company’s mix of appliances, consumer electronics, furniture, mattresses, lawn equipment and computers. Conn’s found that the stores with a concentration of its core customers – those with credit scores from 525 to 650 – did better.

“The most unique thing that we do – our key differentiator in our business model – is our consumer finance program,” COO Mike Poppe emphasizes. “Credit scores from 650 down to 525 are our core customer – that is the sweet spot we play in. These customers have limited access to other credit; they generally are good payers and good stewards of the credit that they do borrow, and are typically going to be blue-collar, working-class, lower or fixed-income individuals.”

Cocacola1With a brand that spans gen­erations –  all the way back to 1886 – capitalizing on that longevity while still remaining hip and cutting-edge is the challenge for the worldwide licensing group of Coca-Cola. “For us, continuing to stay relevant with each new generation is important,” emphasizes Kate Dwyer, group director of worldwide licensing for Coca-Cola. “We closely follow trends and technology advances to make sure we are at the pulse of what is happening in the market and continue to be relevant.”

Deklah Polansky, design director for Coca-Cola Licensing, stresses the involvement of the fresh and cutting-edge licensing design team. “They are much closer to the brand, and they live and breathe it every day,” she points out. “It’s the passion they experience in their lives outside of work that mirrors their passion to the brands.”

Brads1When Brad Gruno, founder of Brad’s Raw Foods, decided to adopt a raw food diet six years ago, he started seeing great benefits right away. This type of diet consists of consuming mainly uncooked, unprocessed, organic fruits, raw vegetables and nuts.

Gruno explains that he lost 40 pounds in the first three months, felt better, healthier, had more energy and his complexion cleared. Though he was sold on his new diet, he missed the familiar crunch of chips and other similar snacks.

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