Not many retailers have had the honor of being recognized for their time in their communities, but Clark Appliance soon will. For a century, the company has sold high-quality appliance products to people in Indianapolis.

“We’re one of the very few that has seen 100 years in our business,” President Bob Clark says. His grandfather, Revere Jacobs, started the business with a single store in 1913 that sold washing machines.

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Launched in California in 1997, Rocket Dog Brands has grown into one of the leading footwear brands for girls. The company’s roots stretch to the beach with its EVA and sport products, but it has evolved its collections and introduced full product lines in everything from casual, sandals, flats, dress and boots, and strives to deliver fashion trend relevant styling each season for this consumer. 

“Our brand is very California and playful, and we have been a leader for young girls and teens 15 to 17 with a broad appeal and crossover in the 19 to 25 range, as well,” CEO Cathy Taylor says. “We want to be true to our California roots and the DNA of our brand in casual and relaxed styling. We know our customer and we give her fashion and fun.”

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The world of women’s fashion is vast, with a seemingly infinite number of choices. Standing out among the ocean of brands that can be found in the world’s most popular department stores is a daunting proposition, but that’s a challenge Joyce Azria is only too eager to take on. As creative director of BCBGeneration, Azria says it’s her job to make sure the brand hits its target market with apparel that appeals to young women’s style and budget considerations. With five years already under its belt, it’s clear that BCBGeneration is living up to Azria’s expectations. 

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Innovation and good fortune can help any business get off to a good start. Such is the legacy of Architec Housewares, a growing designer, manufacturer and distributor of an array of unique housewares.

Architec Housewares is the housewares division of its family-owned parent company, Alice Ink, spearheaded by CEO Kathy Sellers.  The company also owns Plastec Lawn and Garden run by Sellers’ sister Susan Yeager who serves as president. Architec, which is led by Sellers’ daughter Jenna Sellers Miller as president and Erin Yergens as operations manager, has seen steady growth since it devised a cutting board with a non-slip surface known as The Gripper. It is now seeing additional opportunities arise. 

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The team that manufactures and sells OKA b. shoes knows exactly what its brand stands for. Director of Operations Davar Irvani says the challenge for the company today is making sure that message is relayed to its customers.

“I’ve been with OKA b. since September 2012, and I came in as director of operations to help rebuild the company,” Irvani says. “We are focused on rebuilding our sales team, redoing or marketing and refining our branding position.”

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Home shopping networks and infomercials have been the butt of jokes for years, known primarily for low-budget production values and disposable impulse-buy products. However, with annual sales now topping $350 billion and well-known brands  increasingly embracing the marketing model, the direct-response marketing industry is having the last laugh.

The industry has matured into one that provides innovative products with a proven channel to consumers, and Wisconsin-based Norman Direct is one of the leading names in the field. Executive Vice President Brian Wargula credits the company’s success first and foremost to the high-quality products it helps develop and bring to market, but there are more than a few key advantages that give it an edge in the industry.

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Big-box retailers can be much more convenient for shoppers with their massive breadth of offerings, and their large buying capacity can help reduce the prices of their goods. But even with those big-box benefits, many consumers enjoy and even prefer shopping at smaller independents, primarily for the dedicated and consistent customer service, as well as their more unique product portfolio.

But when so many consumers are concerned about cost above all, it can be difficult for independent retailers to remain competitive. That’s why MEGA Group USA has developed its comprehensive suite of services – to ensure the success of its members by helping them increase profits.

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No matter how much the world changed around him, Jim Winey, founder of Magnepan, knew that there would always be a market for his company. Winey created the Magneplanar loudspeaker as an alternative to electrostatic loudspeakers, and the company has manufactured Magneplanar stereo and home theater speakers for the past 44 years.

Marketing Manager Wendell Diller says the invention is a “kissing cousin” to full-range electrostatic speakers and takes a purist approach when it comes to transmitting sound. The company aspires to attain the Holy Grail of loudspeaker design and the audience for its products is definitely a niche market, he says. Yet, its speakers are among the most affordable in their category.

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