In its 90 years of business, H.C. Schau and Son has grown from supplying deli meats to corner stores in the Chicago area to offering a range of products to retailers in 18 states.

The company known today as DeConna Ice Cream Inc. began in the late 1940s as a small, one-truck vending operation in Miami. Over the years, founder Don DeConna expanded his business to include the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 20 different varieties of ice cream products. Today, DeConna’s tasty offerings can be found in schools, convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, ice cream parlors and hospitals across the southeastern United States.

The family-owned Critchfield Meats has earned a reputation for consistently meeting its clients’ needs, CEO Larry McMillan says. “[Customers can] walk in our retail operation and say, ‘I want a steak that’s 2 inches thick and I want 10 of them,’” he says. “We can do just about anything you ask us, and Critchfield Meats’ wholesale operation is USDA-inspected.”

In its chicken processing services, C&L Foods provides a level of service that is not offered by most of its competitors, President and owner Cindy Cox says. “There’s not really anybody that does exactly what we do in Dallas-Fort Worth, [Texas],” she says. 

Bread is an important part of American culture. It’s a food that brings people to the table, it’s what holds a sandwich together and it’s one of the first items served at a restaurant. However, as important as this element from the grain group is, the art of baking it and serving it with pride got lost.

For avid wine enthusiasts, nothing is more satisfying than coming home to a well-stocked cellar full of the world’s finest bottles of cabernet sauvignon, pinot grigio, chianti and merlot. Ideally, the area in which these personal treasures are stored should be as sumptuous and sophisticated as the wine taster’s palate.

Producing just about every type of spirit enables White Rock Distilleries to benefit from trends in the market. Among the hundred of spirits the company produces are vodkas, tequilas, gins, rums, whiskeys, brandies, pre-mixed cocktails and liqueurs. “We’re not in every single category, but we try to be as diversified as possible,” says Bill Dabbelt, White Rock’s president. But what success in the spirits industry really depends on is strong distribution.

Regarding the management and staff of Valley Meat Co. in Modesto, Calif., Director of Marketing Adam Heffner describes them as “warm and fuzzy business people.” Explaining the company focuses on maintaining a comfortable, family-like atmosphere, he says the business is “not at all abrasive.” His father, owner, President and CEO Russell Heffner, agrees.

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