Fashion is much more than what someone wears or what they listen to – it’s a lifestyle. Not every retailer lives by that credo, but DTLR Inc. certainly does, and because of that it has been a leading retailer for 30 years. By focusing on the latest and most popular trends in urban culture, DTLR has created a core of loyal customers who view the stores as centers of their communities. “Our moniker is ‘your fashion, your lifestyle,’ and we pride ourselves on having the greatest, latest footwear, apparel and music,” Chief Merchandising Officer Scott Collins says.

Twenty-nine years ago, Carpet One Floor & Home was founded on a philosophy that didn’t focus solely on how cheaply it could buy from suppliers. Instead, it also focused on how well it could merchandise and sell for a higher profit.

“Our foundation was merchandising, management and marketing,” President Eric Demaree says. “Our parent company is CCA Global Partners, which has 12 affiliated divisions. Carpet One Floor & Home is the first and still the largest.”

A focus on customer service and technical knowledge give Ben’s Pharmacy the edge it needs to compete against much larger big-box retailers. The pharmacy, founded in 1979 in a medical center in Pefferlaw, Ontario, today has 12 stores including its largest, flagship location in Beaverton, Ontario. That is where founder and President Ben Smith can be found personally helping customers.

“We believe in personal service and being involved in the community,” Smith says, noting the pharmacy regularly sponsors local hockey, baseball and soccer teams and organizes events including an annual golf tournament.

Ever since it was founded in 1996, APW Brands has stayed on top of technology trends. The organization is known for its airport retail locations, where it sells and services electronic devices and accessories.

The company began with The Cellular Shop, a cellphone and accessory store in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Over the next few years, the organization created the Airport Wireless brand, selling wireless phones and accessories from a cart in Terminal B of the Philadelphia International Airport in 1997 before opening a small store in the airport in 1998.

Thrifty consumers equal smart consumers, and since 2008, consumers have been getting smarter about their money every day. The shopping hasn’t ceased, but the way people shop certainly has changed and smart retailers have adjusted to that fact.

“Everything in the economy has slowed down in the last five to seven years, and we slowed down, too, until we knew exactly where we wanted to go,” explains Jim King, president of framing and art supplies retailer Aaron Brothers. “We made the decision that we needed a growth strategy and we needed to reinvent our stores. The chain is a 65-year-old chain. It’s had its ups and downs from a sales and profit perspective, but to be successful in the future we needed a new store prototype and growth strategy.”

When you leave a Yumz Gourmet Frozen Yogurt® store, you will see a sign on the door that reads “Thousands of combinations… See you tomorrow!” With great taste, more than 53 flavors, 80 toppings and new flavors introduced regularly, Yumz Gourmet Frozen Yogurt knows you won’t be able to try it all in just one visit.

At the heart of Yumz is the taste. Matt Thelander, founder of the company, had visited a number of frozen yogurt stores before the idea to start his own concept started taking shape. “I knew we could greatly improve on the standard frozen yogurt store concept,” he recalls. “I spent a lot of time doing research before presenting my concept to anybody.”

When new technologies emerge to enhance the movie-going experience, UltraStar Cinemas is an early adopter, Executive Vice President of Operations Damon Rubio says. He explains that its seven locations specialize in providing more than just movies to their audiences.

“We spend a lot of time focusing on providing ... a great entertainment experience,” he explains. “That [covers] everything from pristine facilities to amenities to great technology to great guest services.”

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