We’re not the typical citrus company,” says Michel Sallin, CEO of Vero Beach, Fla.-based IMG Citrus. Situated among multi-generations of conservative Florida grove families who have “always produced citrus a certain way,” IMG Citrus takes a unique approach, he says. “We’ve been very aggressive in trying to differentiate ourselves by identifying new market trends and finding new ways of doing business,” Sallin contends. “And I think that’s been our strengths.”

Knowing what’s hot before it even hits the market is a key chapter in the 25-year success story of Hot Mama’s Foods. The company was established in 1984 as an all-natural vegetable salsa business run out of founder Cheri Martinez’s Miller Falls, Mass., home kitchen.

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.

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