This c-store chain’s long history of growth has positioned it well for new management and a strong future. Across the Southeastern United States, one name rings true in the world of convenience: The Pantry. With more than 80% of its locations now branded under the Kangaroo Express banner, the big red ‘K’ and yellow marsupial might be a more familiar site. But behind the scenes, when it comes to guaranteeing quality, convenience, and consumer satisfaction, The Pantry is the name to trust. 

Read more: The Pantry

Understanding the unique needs of each of its markets helps this Pennsylvania c-store chain thrive. Convenience store operators find themselves in an interesting niche in a tough economy. They are sure to see a drop in sales in some areas just like any business, but the variety of products and competitive price points gives them an edge that other businesses often don’t have. However, at Pennsylvania’s Top Star Express, the key to surviving the economic downturn comes back to one word—service.

Read more: Top Star Express

Most noted for its fashion, fit, and value proposition, this urban plus-sized women’s clothing retailer is making a name for itself in the apparel industry. Customers shopping at Urban Brands’ Ashley Stewart stores are not shy about who they are. Mostly college educated homeowners with middle to upper-middle incomes, these divas know they can come to any of the company’s 215 nationwide stores and find fashionable clothing that fits their budgets and their bodies. 

Read more: Urban Brands

This Virginia-based c-store chain knows how to make a lasting impression on its customers. According to Carl Hitt, director of retail operations for Wi-Not Stop, running a good convenience store chain isn’t rocket science. It’s a matter of maintaining the basics: keeping hot food hot, cold food cold, and giving the customer what they want.

Read more: Wi-Not Stop

This nationally franchised chocolatier is experiencing growth while other retailers are falling behind. The secret to the success is a focus on quality, family, and perfect chocolate partners. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory began as a single location in Durango, Colo. in 1981. Since then, the company has become the largest chocolate retailer in the US and North America in terms of retail units, but it’s never strayed from its founding principles of family, product quality, and atmosphere. 

Read more: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

This provider of mobility products and services sells more than products to its customers. It sells solutions that give people independence. Approximately 60% of individuals coming into a mobility dealership or retail location are new to the mobility world. Whether through an event or a diagnosis, entry into the world of mobility is rarely gradual, so before needs are met, education must be provided.

Read more: Ability Center

A tightened operational strategy, sustainable building practices, and innovative maintenance capabilities give this pool and spa retailer a leg up in a shrinking industry. Bruce Bagin is the first to admit that pools are an unnecessary luxury. That doesn’t mean he or his brothers, all of whom founded B&B Pool and Spa Center in 1972, approach their business with a frivolous mindset. So in late 2007 and early 2008 when the bottom started to drop out of the economy, the brothers tightened their belts, made adjustments, and successfully guided their business through the murky waters of the retail world. 

Read more: B&B Pool and Spa Center

From work wear to farm equipment, power tools, and multi-fuel stores, this retailer sells what its customers want and is improving its business practices to better service their needs. No matter your target audience, without a strategic plan, your business will not realize its full potential. When a group of farmers and ranchers decided to purchase six Quality and Country General stores in 2002 under the name of Bassco, LLC, later adding five more stores, they did it because as customers themselves, they understood the need to have such services in small, rural communities. 

Read more: The Mercantile