More and more, big box retailers are super-sizing their stores by adding groceries and produce. As a result, if a consumer needs a new Wii game, laundry detergent and a couple of T-shirts, he can also do his grocery shopping at the same place. Small, independent retailers often fear for their business when a big box giant moves in, but this is not a huge concern to Thomas Balistreri III, vice president and co-owner of Sendik’s Fine Foods Inc. 

If there’s one thing Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has learned in the last few years, it’s that the recession hasn’t dampened people’s love for chocolate. COO Bryan Merryman says that although a lot of people have done away unnecessary spending in light of the tough economic times, simple things like chocolate don’t fit into that category. 

Roadtown Wholesale Trading Ltd. (RTW) is a good example of how a company can grow from humble beginnings into a leader in the food and beverage business, Executive Chairman Delma Maduro says. “We are the largest in the food industry in the British Virgin Islands [BVI].” Based in Road Town, Tortola BVI, the company is a wholesaler and retailer of food, beverages and other goods. Majority Shareholder and Director Peter Haycraft founded the company in 1961.

Just because we live in an era of convenience with little time to spare in our daily activities doesn’t mean our food and drinks can’t be freshly made – that’s Quick Chek’s philosophy and a key reason why the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based chain of convenience stores continues to grow by about six to eight stores per year. “Since our beginning in 1967, Quick Chek continues to redefine the term ‘convenience’ and remains the market leader in food service, fresh coffee, fast fuel and friendly people – something we call ‘fresh convenience,’” it says.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt makes sure its operations are just like its product: smooth. Two San Francisco partners conceived the self-serve yogurt model in 2008 and introduced it to the Bay Area. It was the beginning stages of the help-yourself yogurt concept, which Orange Leaf helped pioneer. The company’s bold idea has sparked several copycats around the country. However, as with most things, nothing beats the original.

For Balboa Brands, it is not only important to deliver food products that improve the well being of consumers, but also ones that are appetizing, CEO Frank Easterbrook says. “We’re trying to build a product that is very healthful and tastes great,” he says. Based in Irvine, Calif., Balboa Brands manages two franchise concepts: Juice It Up!, which sells smoothies and juices, and its Juice It Up Frozen Yogurt concept. The company was formed, Easterbrook notes, from the merger of Juice It Up! and Blue Sky Juice in 1999.

Cupcakes have had their place in the sun for many years – they comprised 10 percent of all cake sales in 2010, and cupcake stores are popping up all the time, according to the American Institute of Baking. Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz believe it’s time for another cake to take center stage, and having combined “the warmth of nostalgia with a fresh, modern approach,” these entrepreneurs created Nothing Bundt Cakes. 

After nearly 30 years, Kolache Factory says it has developed “a history of good taste.” Based in Katy, Texas, the company specializes in kolaches made from fresh ingredients and old-world recipes. President John Banks and his late wife Jerri Banks founded the company in Houston in 1982 when they saw the need for a breakfast product that could be consumed “on the run,” the company says. The kolache, a fresh-baked pastry filled with sausage, cheese or fruit, fit the bill.

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