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.”

It the beginning of 2013, BIGGBY COFFEE executives set a goal for the company to sign 48 new franchise contracts. By the end of October, it was well on its way to meeting that goal, with 43 contracts completed. “For a company the size of ours that started with 133 stores at the beginning of 2013, doing 48 contracts was a pretty aggressive target,” says Michael McFall, president of the East Lansing, Mich.-based gourmet coffee retailer.

For years, Hebert Candies was a New England icon, known as much for its “candy mansion” retail locations as for its high-quality chocolates. Founded by Frederick Hebert in 1917, Hebert Candies grew from a small business operating out of its founder’s kitchen to a major regional success story. In 1947, Frederick Hebert purchased a Tudor-style mansion in Shrewsbury, Mass., which remains the company’s headquarters to this day. Hebert also holds the distinction of being the man who introduced white chocolate to the United States, bringing it over from Europe in 1956. 

When Harvest Market opened in Fort Bragg, Calif., in 1985, there was little to distinguish it from many of its larger chain competitors in terms of product offerings and atmosphere. That all changed in the mid-1990s after founder and owner Tom Honer began focusing on natural and organic products after recognizing his customers’ demand for such items. Honer’s desire to meet this demand would also eventually lead him in 2006 to purchase Mendosa’s Market, a 100-year-old, small family owned market in Mendocino, Calif., which it renovated and rechristened as Harvest at Mendosa’s.

These days, when it comes to retail, it’s hard to find a place that mixes the styles of the old and the new. But Busch’s Fresh Food Market, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., says it offers customers the right balance of the two.

“Busch’s is the family supermarket that blends the best of today’s freshness and style with the traditional values, personal service and wholesomeness you expect from the neighborhood grocer, but seldom find at other supermarkets,” it declares.

Some firms become set in their ways and choose not to improve, but not Pete’s Fresh Market. Instead, the family owned grocery chain is evolving into a more corporate-like structure as it has grown and achieved success, Corporate Representative Marissa Dremonas says.

Dremonas’ family started the Chicago-based business in the early 1970s as Pete’s Produce, a small, full-service produce stand on the city’s South Side. Her father, co-founder and owner James Dremonas, grew the small business into a supermarket with quality meats, a deli, bakery and a hot foods department.

When Harvest Market opened in Fort Bragg, Calif., in 1985, there was little to distinguish it from many of its larger chain competitors in terms of product offerings and atmosphere. That all changed in the mid-1990s after founder and owner Tom Honer began focusing on natural and organic products after recognizing his customers’ demand for such items. Honer’s desire to meet this demand would also eventually lead him in 2006 to purchase Mendosa’s Market, a 100-year-old, small family owned market in Mendocino, Calif., which it renovated and rechristened as Harvest at Mendosa’s.

To stay profitable over the course of eight decades, Weigel’s Convenience Stores has had to change alongside the ever-evolving definition of the term “convenience.” When it first opened in 1931, customers sought Weigel’s for its home delivery of dairy products. The ensuing decades found Weigel’s leaving its home-delivery business model to build its own brick-and-mortar locations that allowed customers to pick up their dairy products along with grocery items like food, soft drinks, snacks and cigarettes.

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