All odds were against Distinctive Apparel succeeding three years ago when it acquired the Chadwicks of Boston and Metrostyle apparel brands out of bankruptcy. The company has given life back to the brands it believes so strongly in and has been climbing the retail ladder ever since. “When everyone thought we would fail, any other outcome was a good outcome,” CEO Aldus Chapin says.

The Randolph, Mass.-based company was incorporated in 2011 to purchase the Chadwicks of Boston and Metrostyle brands. The following year it purchased The Territory Ahead, which sells men’s and women’s apparel. “We really did believe there was value in these brands and with a highly variable cost business model we were confident we could make them relevant once again,” Chapin says. 

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Offering high-end luxury, upscale urban and value hair salons, Dessange Group North America has something for everyone. “We are the only franchise company that offers the breadth of the industry that we do,” says Dessange Group North America CEO and President Allyson King.

The Dessange Paris is its ultimate luxury offering; Camille Albane is its brand for chic, active urban women ages 25 to 40 years old; and Fantastic Sams offers families a wide range of haircare service at an affordable price.

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Chris Gilchrist and his family were not strangers to Convenient Food Marts of Northeast Pennsylvania when they purchased the company in December 2012. The family had a long-established supplier relationship with Jerry Zubert, who started the 30-location franchise in 1976, as they distributed much of the fuel sold at Convenient locations.

The retail world was also not new to Gilchrist, who also helped manage and operate a truck stop and travel plaza built by his uncle William Gilchrist. Several of the Convenient locations the family took over have long histories and well-established cultures, which the Gilchrist family seeks to encourage and build upon. 

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Based in Flint, Mich., Beacon & Bridge Market operates 23 convenience store gas stations and two restaurants in small Michigan towns. “We are from here,” General Manager Bob Carpentier says. “We are a wholly owned Michigan company so we focus a lot on Michigan-made products. We have one of the largest, if not the largest, selection of products for sale made in the state of Michigan.”

This local focus has served Beacon & Bridge Market well since it was started in 1969. Bob Eastman has been the owner and CEO since the start.  

Beacon & Bridge Market emphasizes its Michigan-made inventory with interior signs. “We are known as a place the locals want to go,” Carpentier says. “We are from here so people react pretty well to our message.”

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If you live in Southern California, there’s a good chance you know Larry Miller’s face and/or voice. As chairman and CEO of mattress and furniture retailer Sit ’n Sleep, Miller has appeared in radio commercials for more than 30 years and in TV ads for more than 20 years, making catchphrases such as, “Or your mattress is free!” a part of Los Angeles pop culture. Sit ’n Sleep’s commercials have made Miller a household name in Southern California, but that would never have happened if Sit ’n Sleep wasn’t one of the best and most successful mattress retailers in the region, and Miller says the company has been focused on that from day one. 

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When the first Sam Ash Music store opened in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1924, the stock consisted mostly of the era’s most popular musical instruments: banjos and mandolins. Although the stores’ stock today is vastly different, the business philosophy and ethics established by its founders continue to live on 90 years later. 

“My grandparents believed in doing all the right things with regard to honesty, opening early and closing late, making deliveries and doing everything they could to make sure their customers were taken care of,” says COO Sammy Ash,  who was named after his grandfather, the store’s founder. “They believed in running a clean house – no lying, no cheating, no nonsense.”

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Customers know something is different about Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy as soon as they step through the doors of one of its locations. Traditional pharmacy services and products are offered alongside holistic remedies and supplements, and the staff includes not only credentialed pharmacists but also practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine such as herbalists, naturopathic doctors and chiropractors.

“Pharmaca is a unique and innovative retail concept – there’s nothing else like it in the United States today,” says Laura Coblentz, vice president of marketing and innovation for the Boulder, Colo.-based company. “This is a store that has wide appeal for consumers interested in being proactive about their health and wellness.”

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For the past 50 years, The Paper Store has nurtured a sense of community in more ways than one. With its vast array of products, ranging from jewelry to Hallmark cards to home décor, The Paper Store aims to bring friends and families closer together as they celebrate life’s moments. With the retailer being family owned and operated, this philosophy comes naturally. 

The same kinship that The Paper Store fosters between its customers is also fostered with the general public by becoming a true partner in helping its communities flourish. In addition to helping customers find the perfect gifts for loved ones, the New England-based company is a gift-giver itself. Over the years, it has partnered alongside charities such as Dana-Farber and The Jimmy Fund with fundraisers such as Dress for Soxcess, Strike Out Cancer and DFCI Holiday Program. With help from generous customers, The Paper Store has been honored to donate more than $700,000 to DFCI to date. 

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