The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is well known for its logging industry, proximity to three of the Great Lakes, quality of sites for skiing and especially for the down-to-earth nature of its residents, commonly referred to as “Yoopers.” The Yoopers share a strong regional identity – primarily due to the physical separation from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula – and as a result, tend to take care of each other. In fact, this value for the local community is one of the main characteristics that local chain Pat’s Foods works to demonstrate every day through its product offering and services.

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When life throws you a curveball and puts you in a wheelchair, in need of oxygen or in a hospital bed, most consumers want to find an organization that will empathize with them, not treat them as a number, and understand that their situations are unique. That is what differentiates Boardman Medical Supply (BMS) from other durable medical equipment (DME) companies; with BMS, patients always come first.

BMS supplies home medical supplies ranging from respiratory products such as oxygen tanks and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices for apnea treatment, to scooters, wheel chairs and mastectomy products.

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You don’t see a lot of grocery businesses being bought by individuals without a private equity partner,” says Bill White, owner, president and CEO of Belle Foods. “It is usually the big companies buying the small ones, so it’s refreshing to see a different kind of business transaction, one that returns a business to 100 percent family ownership.” White is not new to the business; he has been CFO and vice president of different food retail stores for over 20 years.

At the beginning of 2012, White and his son Jeff bought 57 stores in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida from Southern Family Markets, operated under the Bruno name. White has been slowly changing the name to his own brand, Belle Foods.

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From Madagascar and Tanzania to Thailand and Sri Lanka, Jewelry Television (JTV) sources gems from mine and independent gem sources around the world and works with designers to create what President and CEO Tim Matthews of JTV calls “America’s Showplace of Jewelry and Gemstones.” Founded in 1993, JTV brought broadcast and jewelry together to create a 24-hour multi-channel retail entity that has become the fourth-largest home shopping network in the country, the third-largest e-commerce jewelry retailer in the nation and, it says, the largest retailer of loose gemstones worldwide.

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It is never easy to take a business in a new direction, but the process has paid off for CountryMax, Retail Operations Manager Brad Payne says. “We’re able to change with the demands of the consumer,” he says.

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According to some of the beverage industry’s accepted stories, the margarita was created in 1941, the daiquiri in 1905, the piña colada in 1954 and the cosmopolitan was created in the 1970s. It was in the late 2000s, however, that American Beverage Corp. (ABC) began offering these cocktails in ready-to-drink packages, which more and more consumers value.

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With four stores in southern Alabama and one in northwest Flo­rida, Barrow Fine Furniture has come a long way from the small company founded by Teddy Barrow in a little Alabama town called Red Level. Created in the 1940s and sold to the late Tommy Northrop and Will Hall in the 1970s, the company has gradually expanded to other locations but remains a family business today.

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Nearly 50 percent of the American population engages in outdoor activities each year, which amounts to 137.9 million people, according to the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). People don’t have to live in a particular area to enjoy the outdoors – cities from the east (Burlington, Vt.) to west (Portland, Ore.) and north (Minneapolis) to south (Asheville, N.C.) are popular for their range of outdoor activities, and residents of rural areas enjoy a close proximity to the open American landscape. Additionally, outdoor activities can be as low-tech or high-tech as people care to make them. Whether a person is a full-fledged enthusiast or newcomer to outdoor activities, Sportsman’s Warehouse is proud to be “America’s premier outfitter” by supplying whatever is necessary for their full enjoyment.

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