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.

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.

Sigel’s Beverages’ focus on providing the best possible customer experience helps it stand apart from its competitors in the crowded Dallas beverage retail marketplace. “We’ve identified a way of doing business that differentiates us from the competition and placed a premium on having a wide selection that’s far above the market norm,” President John Rector says. “We think those things, as well as the look of our stores and an emphasis on customer service, have been the key to our success.”

Within the southeast Michigan communities it serves, O&W Inc. is more than just a beer distributor – it’s a central part of the community. For more than 70 years, the now Ypsilanti, Mich.-based company has built a solid base of brands and retail customers by making them feel they’re part of one big family.

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.

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.”

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.”

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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