With a year-round population of about 25,000 and a geographic area of only four by two miles, the island of Key West, Fla., is a relatively small community, figuratively and literally. Fausto’s Food Palace has been the community’s grocery store since 1926, which speaks to the strong connection between the two.

When the economy began its decline in 2008, the staff at Dion’s Quik Marts decided to look at it as less of a challenge and more of an opportunity. With 10 convenience stores and two grocery stores dispersed throughout the Florida Keys and South Dade County, the locally owned and operated chain is a favorite stop of residents and tourists.

After several years of selling fish and produce out of a horse and buggy, George Darrenkamp opened a retail store in the front room of his home in Lancaster, Pa. The family called it the General Store, and few could have anticipated the ongoing success that would stem from this modest convenience store. Today, the company has grown to three locations throughout Lancaster County, Pa., and is operated by the third generation of family ownership.

Brent Eastman and his brother Kevin were born into the grocery business. Their father, Robert “Bob” Eastman, rose through the ranks of the Kroger supermarket chain to district manager before he decided in 1980 to go into business for himself and open a Foodland franchise location in Gallipolis, Ohio. Bob Eastman got his wife, Sheila, and sons involved in the business right away.

Situated on the lush, picturesque island of Dominica is a supermarket, playground, ice cream parlor and wholesale distribution center well known and favored by locals of all ages called O.D. Brisbane & Sons (Dominica) Ltd. Brizee’s Mart – the retail component of the company – is located in Canefield, Dominica. It was built in 1994 by Jerry Brisbane, who named the supermarket after his father, Ivan Brisbane, a businessman known around the island as “Brizee.”

If you want to learn how to run a business, or understand an industry, it is an advantage to know what goes on at each level of an organization. What takes place at the bottom affects what takes place at the top just as much as what goes on at the top affects what goes on at the bottom.

If Arthur Mackenthun could see what Mackenthun’s Fine Foods has become today, he would likely be astonished by what he found. Kim Mackenthun, Arthur’s grandson and president and CEO of the company, says his grandfather’s original store in Waconia, Minn., was a simple meat market known for its high-quality sausage.

In describing John Napoli & Associates Inc., co-owner and President John Napoli easily sums it up: “We are just 23 cats working for a common cause.” That “cause” is supporting Puerto Rico’s foodservice industry, and the “cats” are his associates and himself, who work together to ensure a high level of service and support is maintained, consistent and always in the best interest of the company’s clients.

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