With a brand-new headquarters open in Southern California and international expansion proceeding at a brisk pace, these are sunny times for Rocket Dog Brands LLC.

The young women’s shoe manufacturer started in 1997 and has since become one of the leading footwear brands for the millennium consumer. While remaining true to its sunny California beach roots, Rocket Dog continues to evolve its collection and expand offerings by introducing full product lines in casual, sport, sandals, flats and boots, and works to offers fashionable trends in each season.

“Our brand philosophy has not changed,” CEO Cathy Taylor says. “We remain a strong California brand and so much comes to life when we design to our spirit and remain true to our DNA of its soul. Today we are a young global fashion brand that works to inspire our consumers to express to their own individuality while always being true to our California spirit and heritage. That’s our bond, vision and blueprint.”

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With Remington firearms handed down from generation to generation, the company’s reputation for quality adds luster to the brand that its holding company, Remington Outdoor Co., has relied on as it has emphasized licensing over the past two years.

Looking to expand its roster of 24 licensees to no more than 30, Remington Outdoor Co. – formerly named the Freedom Group – is emphasizing reliable products and market-leading licensees to reinforce the brand’s reputation for quality and being made in America. Its licensed products are branching out far beyond the hunting market into most outdoor products. “We believe our brand has a definite opportunity to expand,” maintains Patricia Rickard, head of global licensing.

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The current organic food trend is based on authenticity – consumers want to have confidence that what they see is what they get at the grocery store, without hidden ingredients. That authenticity has been and remains the core value behind Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, a chain of organic grocery stores in the United States and Canada with than 19 locations. Mrs. Green’s is part of the Natural Markets Food Group that also operates Planet Organic Markets and Richtree Natural Market Restaurants. As Chief Marketing Officer Curt Avallone explains, the company was founded on the ideal of providing customers with foods that are 100 percent natural, and that remains its focus today.

“We like to think of ourselves as more of a good-for-you grocer,” Avallone says. 

The company opened its first store in Scarsdale, N.Y., in 1991, a store that is still open today. Over time, the company broadened its reach with locations throughout New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia and Illinois. Mrs. Green’s Natural Market also has two locations in Canada – in Calgary and Burlington, Ontario. 

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Not many would look at a parachute and think it was the ideal material for a handbag, but that level of creativity has enabled LeSportsac Inc. to thrive for 40 years, Vice President and Global Creative Director D’Arcy Jensen says. “This brand has such a unique and distinctive personality,” she says.

Based in New York City, the company manufactures handbags that are sold around the world. Jensen explains that the Shifter family started the company in 1974 after encountering a unique parachute material on vacation. 

“The idea was to take this innovative material and create lightweight handbags,” she says.

Today, LeSportsac is the leading American brand of casual nylon bags in markets throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.

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HomeTown Pharmacy’s friendly service, family ownership and dedication to the communities it serves all help the company live up to its name. “We’re an old-fashioned, hometown pharmacy that specializes in building personal relationships with its customers,” says Jim Mathews, COO of the West Michigan-based company. 

For HomeTown Pharmacy, this often includes providing home delivery and other services not often offered by its larger chain competitors. The company’s pharmacists are easy to find, as they are located front-and-center in its stores.  

Clinically, all HomeTown Pharmacies offer immunizations and many participate in a pilot project working with Ferris State University, the University of Nebraska and NACDS to offer rapid diagnostic testing for influenza and strep.

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GUESS?, Inc. is taking its service to the next level by implementing omni-channel retailing that combines all of its shopping channels to provide customers with a seamless experience. “We have first-in-class capabilities or the holy grail of omni-channels,” COO Michael Relich says. “It has been tremendously successful.” 

Choosing to shop in-store or online is nothing new – those two options have been available for years, but GUESS has taken an aggressive approach at combining those two channels over the past few years to revitalize the shopping experience. Although the traditional ways of shopping are always still available, customers are now presented with alternatives to obtain the desired product. 

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All odds were against Distinctive Apparel succeeding three years ago when it acquired the Chadwicks of Boston and Metrostyle apparel brands out of bankruptcy. The company has given life back to the brands it believes so strongly in and has been climbing the retail ladder ever since. “When everyone thought we would fail, any other outcome was a good outcome,” CEO Aldus Chapin says.

The Randolph, Mass.-based company was incorporated in 2011 to purchase the Chadwicks of Boston and Metrostyle brands. The following year it purchased The Territory Ahead, which sells men’s and women’s apparel. “We really did believe there was value in these brands and with a highly variable cost business model we were confident we could make them relevant once again,” Chapin says. 

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Offering high-end luxury, upscale urban and value hair salons, Dessange Group North America has something for everyone. “We are the only franchise company that offers the breadth of the industry that we do,” says Dessange Group North America CEO and President Allyson King.

The Dessange Paris is its ultimate luxury offering; Camille Albane is its brand for chic, active urban women ages 25 to 40 years old; and Fantastic Sams offers families a wide range of haircare service at an affordable price.

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