Despite tough economic times, this chain of farm stores continues to expand its footprint in the Midwest. In an age where general stores have become significantly less common, Bomgaars has managed to stand strong.

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No one can revolutionize an industry on his or her own, not even Scott-Vincent Borba, founder and CEO of Borba, who is known for a radical approach in developing high-end skin care products. But he is trying.

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In the area between Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware, one privately owned furniture chain rises above the rest. Diamond Furniture has been known for uncompromising customer service since 1927 and is recognized, even among its competitors, as an exceptional retailer even in today’s tough economy. “Our success comes from our determination to constantly fine tune and prune our practices so we can always offer our customers the best deal and the best service,” said Gary Diamond, president and CEO.

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In the last 12 months, Vancouver-based Dollar Giant has opened 17 stores. For 2009, Joseph Calvano, founder, president, and CEO, plans to open 10 more. With the world’s economy feeling shaky and companies looking to scale back rather than branch out, other retailers may be wondering how Calvano can make such decisions. It all comes back to his company’s simple business platform: no piece of merchandise in any of Dollar Giant’s 60-plus stores costs more than $1.00.

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The concept of a full-service salon began in 1974 with Sam Ross. Having been a barber years before, he founded Fantastic Sams with the idea of servicing everyone, not only men in a barbershop, and opened a unisex hair salon. 

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With seven locations throughout Northwest Alabama, Gateway Foods, Inc. is a small supermarket chain that focuses on superb customer service. The company opened its first store in 1978 in Double Springs, Ala. and has gradually expanded over the past three decades. 

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With consumer spending trends pointing downward, it is a wonder that independent retailers can survive at all. But California’s Gene’s Fine Foods has served generations by connecting with customers in a way most chain stores would envy.

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Julian Gold founded the eponymous luxury retail chain in San Antonio, Texas in 1945, the first suburban speciality store in the city. Back then, all sales and accounting data was computed by hand or with a mechanical adding machine. When Bob Gurwitz, current co-owner and president, joined     the company in 1963, he had a lot to learn about retail.

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