By understanding how to compete on more than price, this family-owned grocery store is growing while others in its industry are not. Ninety-three years after opening its doors, Mackenthun’s Fine Foods continues to find new ways to entrench itself in the lives of its community. Headquartered in Waconia, Minn., this fifth-generation family-owned and operated grocery store started off as a butcher shop. Although the meat and homemade sausage department continues to bring in customers today, it’s the spirit of service and innovation that makes Mackenthun’s a Twin Cities staple. 

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This 100-year-old, single-site women’s specialty store offers everything a lady desires from a successful shopping experience. A phrase coined by Miss Jackson’s founder Nelle Jackson in 1916 aptly describes the concept behind the Oklahoma-based women’s specialty store: culture counts for more than coin. 

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High quality goods at reasonable prices make this men’s high-end retailer a perfect fit for any business professional. Paul Fredrick MenStyle focuses on getting men into clothes that fit them well, are stylish, and are reasonably priced. It may sound basic, but according to COO Allen Abbott, there aren’t many companies that do the work required to make sure all three elements come into play, especially when it comes to fit. 

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Using its founder as an inspiration, this c-store and foodservice retailer continues to innovate. Carl Bolch, Sr. opened Carl Bolch Trackside Stations in 1934 with one thing in mind: to offer consistently lower-priced gasoline to the public. More than 75 years later, his legacy lives on in the more than 525 retail gasoline and convenience stores spread across 12 Southeastern states that make up RaceTrac Petroleum’s footprint. Under the guidance of his son Carl Bolch, Jr., who is chairman and CEO, and his granddaughter Allison Moran, who is a senior vice president, this family-owned company is now one of the larger c-store and foodservice retailers in the country. 

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On the corner of Main & Main, you’ll find these red-topped drive-thru grocers ready to meet your fill-in grocery needs. The concept of drive-thru convenience might be more relevant today than in decades past, but Swiss Farms has managed to make itself a staple in neighborhoods across the Northeast since 1968. Known for its iconic old barn and Swiss store silo, this Pennsylvania-based retailer has built its reputation on a hybrid concept combining express lane speed with fill-in foods that keep your pantry running smoothly. 

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This hometown grocery chain is using its local presence to gain an advantage over the national, big-box stores it’s competing against. Nearly every sector of the retail industry has suffered a hardship of some kind during the last 12 to 18 months as a result of the economic downturn. Big-box chains and independent operations of all shapes and sizes have been forced to adapt; few have proven immune.

Read more: L&L Food Centers

Having existed for more than two decades under its former name, this Canadian closeout retailer believes rebranding is just the latest step in shoring up its extreme value business model. It takes a lot of gusto to ditch an established brand identity, even for one closely tied to the original moniker. At the Canadian closeout retailer LW (formerly Liquidation World), the decision to change the name of the store was about appealing to a wider customer base without alienating the long-time customers.

Read more: LW: Liquidation World

Running a grocery store isn’t about profit for this organization but rather about providing a community with healthy, sustainable food. For all those who say cooperatives are loosely organized, hippie-driven start-ups going nowhere, Rainbow Grocery can prove them wrong. After more than 30 years selling sustainable, organic, and vegetarian food in San Francisco, this one-store business has only bigger plans for the future.

Read more: Rainbow Grocery

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