Other companies may scale back in times of economic instability, but Kohler Distributing Co. – a Hawthorne, N.J.-based beer and wine wholesaler that sells more than 6 million cases a year – has forged ahead, undertaking new initiatives over the past few years to maximize efficiency, drive growth and improve its bottom line.

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For more than 85 years, Hi-School Pharmacy has found success in rural communities that are typically underserved by big-box retailers and larger national chains.

“In most of our markets, we’re the only pharmacy in town,” says Jack Holt, COO of the Vancouver, Wash.-based independently owned chain. “We’ve found a niche we’re able to fill in our communities.”

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When it comes to greeting cards, there is not a better-known brand than Hallmark. Janet Boychuk says the company stands as one of the most recognized name brands in the world, next to Coca-Cola, Colgate and Hershey’s.

The Hallmark brand is consistently in the top 10 most recognized and trusted brands. “We are considered to be the leader in providing consumers quality products that help them connect with others in a creative and caring way.”

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People have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a pharmacy. But not every pharmacy returns that favor. Fruth Pharmacy is one organization that sees providing consumers with more choices and personal service as integral pieces of its mission.

“The big boxes limit their selection, and we are competitive because we don’t tell the customers what they have to buy,” President Lynne Fruth says. “The big-box mentality is to pick a few vendors and have a limited amount of SKUs. At Fruth, you have more choices. Our customers know we will go out of our way to bring in a product for them.”

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To obtain personal career satisfaction, people strive to be involved in a business they love. And for the people at Fantastic Sams, the beauty industry happens to be “a passionate place to be,” President and CEO Scott L. Colabuono  declares. “The salons and stylists, through the consultation at the beginning of the service, give the guest the best possible look that matches the guest’s desire.”

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Despite what its name suggests, the growth of charming CHARLIE is not attributable only to natural amiability. Rather, the success of this fast-growing fashion accessories retailer has been hard-won through a combination of business acumen and fortunate timing. These factors have carried the young company through the worst economy in decades.

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Who doesn’t like a bargain – where fair prices and quality goods come to a happy junction – especially in the current market? Consumer spending may be down, but the demands on product performance have not diminished. In fact, one can argue, because dollars are scarce and more precious, people are more concerned today with getting their money’s worth than in the past.

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If the ancient Chinese philosophy of “yin and yang” were embodied into a business entity, it might just take the form of Apricot Lane Boutique. Since 2007, the national retailer has quickly spread into wardrobes employing a strategy unheard of in the fashion world – a national retailer with a local boutique concept using a franchise model.

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