You don’t need a sweet tooth to recognize Duff Goldman. As the owner and proprietor of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, Goldman and his staff spent 10 seasons as the focus of Food Network’s breakout hit reality show, “Ace of Cakes.” Duff Goldman and Charm City Cakes became famous for their wildly imaginative cake designs. Using methods that often involved blowtorches and power tools, Goldman created cakes in such shapes as Radio City Music Hall for the Rockettes, Hogwarts Castle for the premiere of one of the “Harry Potter” films and even the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA.

Read more: Charm City Cakes

Since it was founded in 2001, Halfbrick Studios has staked out a leadership position in Australia’s game development industry. The company spent many years developing licensed titles for various platforms, including Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. More recently, the company has expanded its offerings, growing its portfolio by creating independently released downloadable games.

Read more: Halfbrick Studios

“Everyone sells the same products,” says Bielat, who serves as vice president of grocery merchandising for BJ’s Wholesale Club. “For BJ’s, it’s all about value. So, we continuously collaborate with our vendor partners to adjust sizes and pack configurations when necessary in order to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and preserve the value for our members. In doing so, we keep our members engaged in the categories, and bring in new members, as well.”

Read more: BJ’s Wholesale Club

Talking Friends is the entertainment franchise and digital app phenomenon that started with everyone’s favorite cat, Talking Tom. Since Tom’s rise to international stardom, he has been joined by a whole cast of characters including Talking Ben the Dog, Gina the Giraffe and Ginger the Kitten. Talking Friends apps have been downloaded more than 500 million times in less than two years. This amounts to 120 million monthly users and more than 850 million plays per month.

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Convenience stores are not necessarily the first places people think of when it comes to getting fresh food fast. Sheetz is looking to change that.

Food is a major driver for the regional convenience store chain, which operates more than 428 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.

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A brand never gains strength overnight – it has to be developed over time before the market holds it in high regard. Founder and President Dan Pamperin has been building Titletown Oil Corp. and its related brands since the mid-1980s, helping Titletown to become a top performer in the Green Bay, Wis., area. It started by standing on the shoulders of already strong brands, but that wasn’t enough to get it where it is today – much of Titletown’s current strength is the result of its service culture and commitment to customers.

“When we started, I was a big customer of brands – I was very loyal to brand-name products,” Pamperin explains. “At the time, the competition was generic, so we based our culture on being a premium brand company – we wanted to sell the best of everything we sold. I started by picking the No. 1 brand for every product we sold. I wanted to create a brand that you can count on and be confident with.”

Read more: Titletown Oil Corp.

In the 2008 economic downturn, T.A. Solberg Co. faced a decision about its future. How would it weather an economic storm in the midst of markets that were becoming overly saturated with stores that sold groceries? The answer was simple: diversify.

T.A. Solberg is now a company with a broad spectrum of formats, including seven grocery stores, five gasoline stations with convenience stores, one gasoline station, a smokehouse, an events resort, a hardware store, salon, trucking company, central bakery and two recycling centers.

Read more: T.A. Solberg Co. Inc.

The 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.”

Read more: Pacific Cycle Inc.

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