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. 

At Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt’s stores, customers not only find a broad selection of frozen treats, but also a lively social environment, co-owner and CEO Reese Travis says. On any given afternoon, “You can see anything there from a [meeting of executives] to a student council group,” he says.

Based in Oklahoma City, Orange Leaf operates a chain of 305 self-serve stores that offer multiple flavors of frozen yogurt. “We have a lot of options,” Travis says. 

Orange Leaf started operations in San Francisco in 2008, and caught the eye of Travis, who became a franchisee with his own locations in Norman and Lawton, Okla., and Wichita Falls, Texas. After falling in love with the concept, he and several investors began lining up additional markets they wanted to pursue.

Amere seven years after it was founded, Caribbean Cream Ltd. stands as the leading provider of ice cream in Jamaica, Managing Director Chris Clarke says. “We are No. 1,” he says, adding that the company has achieved that status by remaining distinctively Jamaican.

Some U.S. competitors will sell vanilla, chocolate and strawberry products, but Caribbean Cream instead stays true to local favorites. “The top-selling flavors in Jamaica are grape nut [and] rum and raisin,” Clarke explains. “We [also] understand the product and make a product that’s smoother.”

Two countries make up the island of Saint Maarten in the Caribbean, but they are not both Dutch – only one is. The other, Saint Martin, is French and includes approximately 60 percent of the island. It is one of the smallest islands to be divided between two countries, an arrangement that has persisted since 1648. This has made the grocery business very interesting on this island. 

As one of the most industrialized islands in its region, Trinidad is accustomed to modern conveniences. Its proximity to Venezuela and an abundance of oil and gas has given Trinidad the second-highest country rating in its region. But for all of  the country’s economic progress, Christopher Mack, managing director of J.T.A. Supermarkets Ltd., says it still yearns for old-fashioned customer service. 

When it comes to expansion, Breadsmith prefers to take a “quality over quantity” approach. “If we can open two stores per year, we’re happy with that,” says Tim Malouf, president of the Whitefish Bay, Wis.-based company. “Most companies want to open as many stores as possible as quickly as possible, but we want to make sure our existing stores get the support they need.”

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