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Werner Gourmet Meat Snacks Inc. marks its 25th anniversary with continued growth

while staying committed to product quality and development.

By Jim Harris

In 1994, Ken and Karla Werner began making beef jerky in the garage of their home in Tillamook, the Oregon coastal town in which they were each born and raised. Together, the couple personally processed and packaged their products, which they then distributed up and down the coast in their family minivan.

The Werners’ direct involvement in all aspects of their products earned them a reputation for high quality. “We’re known for having really high-quality products that taste really good,” Marketing Director Lauren Seeger says. “Once you eat them, you’ll be a customer and a fan for life.”

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Original Ford Gum gumball machine

Ford Gum & Machine succeeds with new channels, new products and licensing.

By Mark Lawton

To survive and thrive over 106 years, Ford Gum & Machine Company (FGMC) has adapted to changing markets and tastes. That has been particularly true in recent decades where the number of retailers has shrunk.

“At one time, we did a lot of business with Sears, JC Penney, Toys R Us and drug stores,” says Steve Greene, senior vice president and co-owner of FGMC.

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Gerber is using its relationships with farmers and its supply chain to move its products from the center of the store to areas with fresh, ready-to-eat goods.

By Staci Davidson, Knighthouse Media

As a 91-year-old business, Gerber is a well-known brand, beloved by multiple generations. With so many years of experience in the industry, Gerber knows what babies and children like and the nutrition they require, as well as what parents appreciate. These values not only help the brand endure, they keep it fresh for the next generation of babies and parents. The values start with the relationships Gerber has with farmers.

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Perry Ellis International founder George Feldenkreis regains control, taking the company private

and charging forward with a focus on sustainable practices.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Knighthouse Media

Perry Ellis International (PEI) has remained a global fashion powerhouse for 52 years with its broad portfolio of internationally recognized lifestyle brands. Although the company continues to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of fashion and retail, its success is rooted in an unwavering family culture and adoption of best practices.

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After nearly 90 years, Swaggerty’s Farm thrives with a culture

focused on family and treating people right.

By Alan Dorich, Knighthouse Media

Since its start in 1930, Swaggerty’s Farm has undergone changes, but one thing that has remained constant is its quest to provide a quality product to consumers. “We don’t sacrifice a few pennies for things that will provide a short-term financial gain,” Chief Operating Officer Jon Amidei asserts.



King’s Hawaiian is determined to make strategic product decisions based on data.

By Mark Lawton

While King’s Hawaiian is best known for its sweet Hawaiian bread, it doesn’t think of itself that way. “We have positioned ourselves as a Hawaiian foods company,” says John Linehan, president, chief strategy officer and chief planning officer. “We’re sold in the deli or bakery, not in the commercial bread aisle. Our competition is less other breads and more special foods mom brings home.”

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