To many toy companies, their products are simply a diversion, something to keep kids occupied. For MindWare, however, the toys it creates and distributes do more than simply pass the time. MindWare’s line of educational toys help kids increase their brainpower and bring the entire family together. “That’s really what we’re all about,” General Manager Jonathan Staruck says. “We are brainy toys for kids of all ages.”
The Minnesota-based company has been fulfilling this mission since 1990, when founder Jeannie Voigt opened a small retail store in Minneapolis devoted to selling educational toys. Over time, MindWare has evolved into one of the largest catalog retailers in that segment. The company also has developed a robust line of its own proprietary products, which are distributed to more than 2,000 retailers across the country as well as through its catalogs and Internet sales.
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People who live in large urban areas often take for granted the seemingly endless retail options near their homes or jobs. If they can’t find an item of clothing or type of electronics or unit of furniture at one place, they can easily find another establishment to cater to their needs. Residents of smaller towns, however, do not have as many options, but they are still important consumers. With less competition, some small-town retailers might focus less on service and price – what is the consumer going to do? – but that is not the case with Michael Rossy Ltd.
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The family ownership at the helm of K.C. Confectionery Ltd. has led its candy business through the last 90 years with a combination of innovative technologies and old-school sensibilities. Ashmeer Mohamed praises his family’s dedication to bringing the latest technological advances into the company’s facility in Trinidad and Tobago while maintaining handshake agreements with distributors who have worked with K.C. Confectionery for decades.
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As a full-service, third-party logistics provider, Hall’s Warehouse Corp. offers the services that East Coast food and pharmaceutical companies require: temperature-controlled transportation and time-sensitive deliveries from its 75-unit fleet, as well as more than 54.9 million cubic feet of frozen, refrigerated and dry storage. Hall’s is organic certified by the USDA, U.S. Customs bonded and has a superior rating from the American Institute of Baking. But where it really is making a mark in the industry is in its ability to help customers reduce their carbon footprints, while also keeping its own costs in line.
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With so many print procurement management companies in existence, the brain trust behind LogicSource quickly realized it would have to do something drastically different to stand out in the marketplace. President and CEO David Pennino says his company accomplished this by 1) offering a flexible approach to client engagement including offerings in co-sourcing, advisory services and technology; 2) expanding the categories of procurement they could address to include packaging and in-store operational items; and 3) performing an exhaustive analyses of potential customers’ operations on its own dime, a far cry from the standard practice of having clients pay for this service up-front.
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The Source has been part of Canadian’s consumer electronics life for the past 40 years, with several changes in name and ownership during that time. But the retail stores – which once flew the Radio Shack and Circuit City banners – have been given a new life with new and renovated stores, the introduction of recognizable electronics brands, client-focused employee training and a multifaceted marketing campaign since Bell Canada Enterprises bought The Source in 2009.
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Whether it is fielding calls with a live person or buying keywords to top the list of search engine hits for health supplements, Swanson Health Products does everything it can to reach out to and meet the demands of its customers. Director of E-commerce Rachel Rice says this extends from the top of the organization on down.
“As a leadership team, we are always asking ourselves what customers want and expect from us,” Rice says. “Every member of the board is responsible for reading customer comments every week. We focus on the quality of our product and adherence to being the low-price leader – we’ve definitely heard that’s what our customers want.”
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In east-central Louisiana, it takes a local to know how well-traveled the back roads are as they are developed into wider highways. And the more traffic there is, the more business comes. “Most of the metro markets are mature and have all the big-name competitors,” says Todd St. Romain, CEO of St. Romain Oil Co. “We find better opportunity in small, under-developed rural markets.”
His c-stores offer more than just convenience. “I think in an underdeveloped rural market, you can be the liquor store, the cigarette shop, the McDonald’s, the KFC,” he says. “I can be the mini-grocery and the gas station all at one time. In a smaller, underdeveloped market, we can fill the needs of the consumer and be a multitude of stores in one. Our proprietary food service is probably what really attracts people. We have a strong food service offer.”
Read more: St. Romain Oil Co. LLC
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