As a manufacturer and retailer of wood furniture, this family-owned company knows what matters most to its customers. Talk about belly of the beast. When scouting for all of the six locations it now operates, Colorado-based Woodley’s Fine Furniture looked for a spot closest to the competition. Paul Woodley, director of marketing and the second generation of the Woodley family to work in the business, said locating showrooms this way simply makes the most sense. 

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By keeping its customer base at top of mind, this independent grocery store chain makes the right decisions to strengthen its business. As part of an independent grocery chain, the 25 stores under the KV Mart Co. umbrella are at an advantage: there isn’t a lot of downtime between making a decision and implementing it. This fast-paced approval process works particularly well because each KV Mart location is tailored specifically for its community.

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More than two decades of experience and a focus on 100% customer satisfaction keeps this mattress company ahead of the game. One of the difficult truths we learn as we transition into adulthood is that in life, there are no guarantees. That is, until now. 

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This Pennsylvania retailer was advised not to make renovations during hard times but did so anyway, in hopes a sleeker store would bring in more customers. When the owners of John Reyer Company, Inc. decided to revamp large sections of the selling floor at their Sharon, Pa. shoe store this past year, people told them they were crazy. It didn’t matter, they said, that the store has been around since 1886, that it carries the world’s largest selection of hard-to-find sizes, or that its 36,000-square-foot selling floor could well be a tourist attraction for its sheer size.

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This young fuel retailer is racing toward the future of the industry, and with a smart rebranding campaign, it’s well on its way to be the first one there. After just 13 years, the privately held fuel retailer and c-store chain Road Ranger is fast approaching $1 billion in sales, hasn’t lost nearly as many gallon sales as its competitors in the Midwest during the recession, and is enjoying three times the industry average in same-store gallons sold.

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With a year under its belt, this rolling stool manufacturer is looking to broaden its customer base. "Our main goal is to sell the idea that not only can you eliminate some of your workers’ compensation claims, you can also be more efficient using our stool,” said Bryan Whitely, sales manager for Tryke Products. Whitely’s goal might be a little unusual, especially considering the company’s history in the automotive industry, but it’s not out of line.

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A clean atmosphere, well-trained staff, and supportive management team keep this c-store chain going strong. With a small footprint and a vision of excellence based on customer service and cleanliness, Houssein Ejtemai and Julio Cornejo founded PMG/E&C Enterprises in 1991. By 2004, they had 15 stores, and then it all changed. That year, Ejtemai, president, and Cornejo, vice president, saw the company’s growth skyrocket. Six years later, there are a total of 320 locations under the E&C umbrella.

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This specialty outdoor sporting goods retailer understands that to keep its customers happy, it must live the lifestyle it’s selling. Hudson Trail Outfitters is in a class of its own as the oldest privately held retailer in the Washington, DC Metro area. The trick to staying alive in one of the strongest retail hubs in the country, said General Manager Sandy Cohan, has been to not use tricks when dealing with the company’s target audience of specialty outdoor sporting goods consumers. It is also important to make sure your offering is relevant to your customers and that you offer them nothing but positively outrageous customer service.

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