When Unidine developed its Fresh Food Pledge the dining management company had to think about what “fresh food” really was. Other businesses may stretch the definition, but for Unidine Founder and CEO Richard Schenkel it boiled down to the simple concept of cooking from scratch. “It’s really what separates our brand and our competitor brands,” he says. “It’s the only way we operate our business.”

The approach has led the Boston-based company to an average growth of 25 percent each of the past seven years. “When we started 14 years ago the movement toward wholeness and fresh wasn’t as strong as it is today.” Matching its customers’ desire for healthy eating has driven much of that success. “We really are a disrupter in our industry,” Schenkel adds.

Cincinnati has always been a beer town. In the 1890s, Cincinnatians consumed 40 gallons of beer per capita, two-and-a-half times the national average of 16 gallons, and the town was once called the “beer capital of the world.” Even today, Cincinnati boasts more than a dozen craft breweries and the state of Ohio as a whole produced more than one million gallons of craft beer in 2013, the fourth most in the nation, according to the Brewers Association.

Craft beer is also big business, having an economic impact in Ohio of $238.1 million in 2012, according to the Brewers Association. So when hops-loving locals are craving a pumpkin pale ale, regional grocer Remke Markets wants to be top of mind. 

Sonoma Design, Apparel and Promotions found its niche designing top-of-the-line apparel and accessories in Northern California’s wine country using state-of-the-art engineering techniques. 

The Santa Rosa, Calif.-based company was founded by Eddie Brascia and Tim Keehn in 2003 and is located in Sonoma County. Brascia started his career at North Coast Clothing in 2003 and prides himself on customer relations and a “do whatever it takes to get the job done” attitude. Keehn founded Sew Be It Embroidery, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., in 1996 and has built his businesses around product quality and a commitment to meet deadlines.  

Shady Maple Farm Market is known throughout Pennsylvania for its smorgasbord, which features 200 feet of authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Giving customers as much as they want isn’t restricted to the smorgasbord, however, and President Elwood Martin says going all out to provide customers with exceptional service and variety has been the key to Shady Maple Farm Market’s long run of success. 

The company’s origins began with a single roadside stand run by Henry Martin and his wife, selling produce they grew on their family farm. By 1970, their son-in-law and daughter – Marvin and Miriam Weaver – took over the business and expanded to a modest 3,000-square-foot building on the farm property. In time, an opportunity to expand to more general grocery products through IGA came up, and the Weavers jumped on it. Over the years, the store continued to grow as more people discovered Shady Maple’s high-quality produce and affordable prices. 

Overseeing wholesale and retail operations in an island environment can be a daunting task. But for Roadtown  Wholesale Trading and RiteWay Food Markets, the organization has decades of experience in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). This experience allows the company to succeed no matter what the challenges.

Roadtown  Wholesale Trading and its retail division RiteWay Food Markets are the largest wholesale distributor and retailer of food and beverages in the BVI. The company was founded as Roadtown Wholesale in April 1961 and grew from humble beginnings in a small rented store in Road Town, Tortola, the capital of BVI.

After 50 years, Pic-n-Pac Convenience Stores remains successful by making smart decisions, Director of Operations Phil Wuest says. “The company’s strength has to be our main focus,” he says.

Pic-n-Pac’s wise decisions have included growing itself at a conservative rate, as opposed to other chains that expand store count quickly. “They don’t recapitalize because they’re sucking the company dry,” he says. “My family has been good about not doing that.” 

Based in McQueeney, Texas, Pic-n-Pac operates convenience stores in the Lone Star State that sell food, drinks, novelty products and gasoline. The company started C-Store operations in 1964 with the opening of its first convenience store that operated in an ice house format without fuel.

Already thriving in working-class Chicagoland neighborhoods, Pete’s Fresh Market is opening several new grocery stores. “We are a Chicago-based independent grocery company with 10 stores,” Executive Officer Stephanie Dremonas says. “We are in a growth phase and plan to open another three to four within the next couple years.”

The expansions come at an exciting time for Pete’s Fresh Market, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Owner James Dremonas has been working in the grocery business since the ripe old age of 16, when he and his brother opened a full service produce stand named after their father in the early 1970s. Pete’s Fresh Market is still very much a family owned and operated business, as Dremonas works alongside many family members, including daughters Marissa, Stephanie, and Vanessa Dremonas.

BIGGBY COFFEE® listens to what its customers want and if that is butterscotch mocha or a Neapolitan latte, the East Lansing, Mich.- based company makes it happen. “We are developing products that cater more to the upper middle class, as opposed to how many of our competitors brand their products as if they are in Italy,” President Mike McFall says. 

Starting as a single unit café in March 1995, the company quickly grew after it began franchising in 1999. Because of its success in franchising, BIGGBY COFFEE decided in 2006 to sell its company owned locations and focus only on building franchises. “Our objective is to come to work and assist people in developing a business utilizing the BIGGBY COFFEE platform,” McFall explains. 


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