Rick Barber knows a thing or two about children’s retail: before founding Ricky’s Candy, Cones, and Chaos ice cream, candy, and toy store chain, he worked for the biggest children’s retailer of all, FAO Schwarz. After its bankruptcy, Barber was part of a team developing a new platform for it to grow from: ice cream, the hottest growth sector of the fast food industry. But FAO Schwarz passed on the idea, so Barber took it with him and struck out on his own.
Read more: Ricky’s Holdings, Inc.
Fifty years after opening its doors as a wholesaler of sewing machines, Pittsburgh’s largest purveyor of room furniture packages is asking for a favor. Because of the success the company has seen as it’s evolved throughout the years, Roomful Express is asking its customers to write in and nominate someone they know who needs furniture, and they’re giving it away for free.
Read more: Roomful Express
Really Good Stuff (RGS) in Monroe, Conn., which makes and markets a wide variety of creative educational tools for teachers and school systems via direct-mail catalogs and the Internet, is itself growing more creative in how it goes to market. From a steady stream of new products to ongoing cost-cutting strategies, President and CEO Jim Bennett is leading his company through a fiercely competitive marketplace today, to prepare kids for their own competitive marketplaces of the future.
Read more: Really Good Stuff
The Gap could have a new neighbor in the next few years, and it’ll be one you’d never expect: a high-end preschool. Colorado-based Crème de la Crème owns and operates early childhood learning centers and plans to roll out 10 to 12 new locations each year, so one could be coming to a retail center near you.
Read more: Crème de la Crème
Before even opening the doors of its first urban clothing store in 2004, EbLen’s Clothing & Footwear had a problem. As they were unloading the first shipment of merchandise, the dozen or so kids hired to work at the Brockton, Mass. store had to not so gently remind owner and president Richard Seaman that if he was planning to put Yankee hats in the store, he would need to find someone else to work there.
Read more: EbLen’s Clothing & Footwear
Five years ago, Plumb’s grocery stores had to contend with just two Meijers Supercenters in the Muskegon, Mich. area. Today, there are three Meijers and two Walmart Supercenters. Jim Nader, president and CEO, said his predecessor saw the influx of new competition as the perfect time to sell the chain and retire, but the younger executives thought differently. They bought the company, established it as an ESOP, and started making changes.
Read more: Plumb's
This woman’s clothing retailer completed a successful turnaround in a decade of new ownership and redefined systems and products. This women’s clothing retailer completed a successful turnaround in a decade of new ownership and redefined systems and products. When Canadian-based Northern Reflections was sold seven years ago, it began a new era on its own. But it wasn’t without challenges, such as redesigning product lines and rebuilding IT infrastructure. Lalonnie Biggar and Bill Booth, managing directors, helped lead the reinvention that returned a once distressed business to profitability.
Read more: Northern Reflections
Not your typical drug store chain, this company has with a variety of services and never stops innovating. The drug store industry has changed a lot in the last 30 years or so, as Lynn Morris knows. He and his wife founded Family Pharmacy in 1977, when patient profiles were recorded by hand, prescription labels were typed on a typewriter, and generic drugs were rare. But what hasn’t changed for this Ozark, Mo.-based company is the values the Morris family founded it on.
Read more: Family Pharmacy
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