Co-founders Ryan Baty and Mark Barrientos opened the first Mattress Hub store in 2008 in a Hutchinson, Kan., shopping mall. Back then, Mattress Hub focused on low-priced, value mattresses.

“We had a relationship with Glideaway Manufacturing to help liquidate their overstock and clearance items on consignment,” Baty recalls. “At that point in time, Glideaway was our only vendor and our goal was to only do $1,000 a day in sales so that we could make enough to pay the company’s bills and our personal expenses.”

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John Cosentino says he still hears stories about the way his family treated customers at its first Kansas City-area supermarket. For example, there was the time his Uncle Jim helped a sick woman carry her groceries home and then stayed to play a song for her on her piano. Cosentino, now vice president of Cosentino’s Food Stores, says that level of customer service has been the backbone of the company’s success from the very beginning, and the family owned and operated grocery store chain continues to be known throughout the city for it.

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William Aubuchon IV, vice president of sales for Aubuchon Hardware, wants the family stores his great-grandfather started more than 100 years ago to be “destination hardware stores.” For Aubuchon, this means continuing to offer the best customer service possible in larger locations, with wider product selection and specialized departments, such as full-service plumbing and paint.

Aubuchon and the company’s management team – comprised largely of family members – have a strategy in place to reach their objectives and keep their brand current and prosperous. It entails expanding the stores’ footprints and re-vamping the Aubuchon website to offer better selection and service.

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The thrift retail environment is vastly different from mainstream retail. America's Thrift Stores is one of the largest thrift store chains in the southeast United States and is guided by more than profit.

“We minister in three areas,” President and CEO Timothy Alvis says. “We support Christian ministries, we provide a lot of jobs as we have more than 1,200 employees, and we provide a product that anyone can afford to buy with dignity.”

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How many people do you know – hopefully not yourself – who have successfully run the gauntlet of obstacles on the way to an airport departure gate, only to discover they left a crucial piece of equipment – such as a cellphone charger or a camera – at home? Have you ever had a flight delayed and wondered how you would pass the time?

Answering these needs are the three retail brands of Project Horizon Inc. – InMotion Entertainment, SoundBalance and Headphone Hub. Since its first two airport stores opened in 1999 renting DVDs and players, InMotion Entertainment has changed with the evolving industry into an airport-only consumer electronics store that still rents DVDs and players. Rentals generate only a small amount of revenue, but they serve an important purpose.

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Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Davenport, Iowa, hopes to find business growth in a geographic area that has seen very little growth of its own in the last 20 years. “One of our biggest challenges is trying to find growth in an area with a stagnant population,” Vice President and General Manager Todd Johnson says. “Trying to manage our number of SKUs these days has become quite the challenge.”

While a large influx of new accounts isn’t necessarily in the immediate offing for the distributor, it continues to look for opportunities to expand its product reach in other ways.

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NewsLink Group became a worldwide brand by setting up concession stores in some of the busiest international airports in the United States. In 2011, however, the company took a leap of faith by opening the Shoppes at Ocean Drive, a 10,000-square-foot department store-style retail location in Miami International Airport.

Not just any company could pull off a feat of this magnitude to critical acclaim and with nary a hiccup. However, NewsLink Group is not just any company. In fact, NewsLink Group’s management and operating team boasts more than 50 years of combined experience in the airport concessions industry dating back to 1959, and the company has delivered a variety of retail concepts and store designs that it says are unparalleled by its competitors.

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Comfort and convenience are two of the most important products any company can offer, and Mirabito does just that every single day. The Binghamton, N.Y.-based company serves central New York state and parts of Pennsylvania with a slate of energy products for families and businesses as well as a successful chain of convenience stores.

Mirabito has been family owned and operated since its inception in 1927, the company says. Over the years, it has come to be known as one of the best providers of energy and related products including heating oil, propane, natural gas, coal, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuels and lubricants.

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