At first glance, it appears that over the last 30 years the independently owned and operated pharmacy has disappeared, especially in the United State and Canada. Corporate chains, mass merchandisers and big-box stores have congested the industry by increasing their pharmaceutical presence, making it seem as though the doomsday bell has rung for independents.

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Many say every ship needs a strong captain, and for Vallarta Supermarkets Inc., a store is nothing without the skills of a competent manager to guide it through the rocky waves of daily business. “[We believe] that all the success we may enjoy is 100 percent attributable to [our] ability to attract and develop high-performing management and supervisors,” COO Kurt Erickson says.

Based in Sylmar, Calif., Vallarta Supermarkets operates 41 stores in its home state that specialize in traditional and Hispanic food items, including fresh-made tortillas, salsas and Latin-style cheeses. Founder Enrique Gonzalez Sr. started Vallarta Supermarkets in 1985.

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With a business model that empowers thousands of entrepreneurs to succeed in a marketplace increasingly impacted by consolidation, CCA Global Partners’ Chairman and co-CEO shares the core principles that have helped CCA Global find success.

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Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet is finding success and growth in a market dominated by big-box stores through two simple focuses: product knowledge and  customer service.

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Founded in Kirkland, Wash., in 1983 Costco has become one of the largest retailers and membership warehouse club chains because it sticks to its low-price/high-volume business model. The company’s model has clearly proven to be successful, as it currently has nearly 600 locations in the United States and abroad in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

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When shoppers make decisions about where to buy groceries, they are confronted with different options, even in rural areas. For a small, independent operation like County Fair Food Stores to prosper against the competition, there needs to be a compelling competitive difference. According to Vice President of Operations Jim Stewart, County Fair Food Stores has staked its past, present and future on providing better service than the rest.

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Some family business owners have difficulty convincing their children to join them in the business – but not at Darrenkamp’s three grocery stores, which are headquartered in Lancaster, Pa. “I have three boys, my brother Larry has two boys and a girl, and my other brother Joe has a boy and a girl,” lists Vice President Dave Darrenkamp. “With a lot of them coming in, we’re looking at other stores right now.”

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Harry Good, founder of Good’s Stores, grew up in Pennsylvania’s farm country. When he realized his health was not suited for farm life, he had to find a new way to support his family. In 1957, he found his new calling in retail and opened a store out of his garage, selling everyday goods he purchased in Philadelphia.

Today, Good’s third- and fourth-generation descendants run the company he founded. The retail chain has four stores and a distribution center in the Pennsylvania area and continues to be a family owned business with family values at its core.

“What we sell now is pretty much what Harry was selling – although in a much larger scale,” President Ken Burkholder says. Burkholder, who is married to one of Good’s granddaughters, started working in the company in the 1980s.

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