Founded in Mount Pleasant, Mich., in 1977 by Richard Woodrick, Ric’s Food Center has expanded by acquisitions to four locations. Now, under the management of President Andy Woodrick, the founder’s son, Ric’s has built a new location from scratch in Rockford, Mich.

The new store retains the aspects of Ric’s Food Center that have kept the business healthy for more than 35 years. “We have full perishables, a full bakery, a deli, a quality meat department and a quality produce department,” Woodrick says. “So it was really an aesthetic difference that we were able to achieve. It’s a very attractive store. It presents itself fairly high-end in the presentation, whereas our other stores were existing facilities.”

The grocery business is more than just a job for Scott Dunn – it's his family legacy. “I learned the business from the ground up and [have] done everything there is to do in the grocery store, including bagging groceries,” says Dunn, president of Piggly Wiggly Central, headquartered in Pinetops, N.C. “I grew up in the business.”

Dunn's family has owned grocery stores since the 1920s, when his grandfather started Dunn's Grocery, a small store in Pinetops. That business was later purchased by Dunn's father, Marshall Dunn, who in 1968 bought into the Piggly Wiggly franchise. Today, the family's franchise encompasses nine locations in Pinetops, Ahoskie, Farmville, Grifton, Jackson, Rocky Mount and Wilson, N.C.  Allen Jackson, Dunn’s partner in the company, also has strong family ties to the grocery business as he is a second generation store owner.

Conventional medicine and natural remedies are often relegated to separate sections of a pharmacy or even separate retail businesses. But just as natural and organic foods have now become a fixture in conventional supermarkets, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy is filling this niche by combining traditional prescription filling with natural and complementary health solutions.

Now operating 24 pharmacies in five western states – California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington – the chain distinguishes itself from vitamin and nutrition retail competitors by staffing its stores with practitioners who have training in a variety of disciplines. Their fields include nutrition, skin care, homeopathy, naturopathy, Ayurveda – a traditional form of medicine from India – acupuncture, massage, chiropractic and herbal studies.

The word “mother” recalls many adjectives in people’s minds: kind, gracious and loving, for instance. Even more profoundly, it reminds people of someone they can trust because a mother’s instincts will never steer you wrong. Also, mothers tend to make really good food. If you put those last two attributes together in retail form, you might just come up with a small Southern California chain that’s been providing good food that people can trust for the past 35 years.

Being an independent retailer isn’t easy. Corporate chain stores and big-box retailers are around practically every corner in most cities and towns, and an increasing number of consumers are turning to their computer screens to satisfy much of their shopping needs.

Managing the competitive and changing retail landscape can be a challenge even for large companies with deep financial resources. For smaller, independent retailers without extensive marketing budgets or technical knowledge, surviving is even more difficult.

Co-founders Ryan Baty and Mark Barrientos opened the first Mattress Hub store in 2008 in a Hutchinson, Kan., shopping mall. Back then, Mattress Hub focused on low-priced, value mattresses.

“We had a relationship with Glideaway Manufacturing to help liquidate their overstock and clearance items on consignment,” Baty recalls. “At that point in time, Glideaway was our only vendor and our goal was to only do $1,000 a day in sales so that we could make enough to pay the company’s bills and our personal expenses.”

rmcover janfeb2016

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