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.

New England is a region steeped in tradition and the perfect setting for a company like Idylwilde Farms. The Acton, Mass.-based, family owned and operated grocer and greenhouse has grown and supplied quality foods to the community since 1925. Owners Thomas, Richard and David Napoli come from a rich tradition of farming. Their grandparents, Frank and Mary Napoli, immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1898 and made their living raising vegetables, poultry and eggs on 40 acres in Lexington, Mass.

When Scott Hagg stepped in as director of operations for Arabica Coffeehouse in 2005, it signaled the company’s desire to move from a regional chain to an international brand. However, before brewing plans for expansion, Arabica took a step back to pare down. “We really wanted to make sure our quality was second to none,” Hagg says. “And so first we made some necessary changes.” Before it could venture from its original Cleveland market, Hagg knew that Arabica needed a definitive brand with enough flexibility to mesh with any community – starting with its reputation.

A lot has changed in the natural/organic grocery business since New Leaf Community Market opened its first 3,000-square-foot store in a converted warehouse in a mixed residential/light industrial area of Santa Cruz, Calif., in 1985. Scott Roseman was working at the cooperative grocery while attending the University of California at Santa Cruz when in 1984, he offered to buy its assets. It had been operating for 13 years before that as a cooperative.

As shoppers peruse the aisles of Westside Market – be it one of the grocer’s three locations in New York City or its Maywood, N.J., branch – they’ll catch glimpses of owner John Zoitas’ family roots, whether it’s one of his children overseeing the day-to-day operations of a particular store or a specialty food item imported from his native Greece. 

With roots deep in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” S & R Quisberg is a family owned independent supermarket company based in Baxter, Minn., that believes in making meal planning and the shopping experience as convenient as possible for its customers.

The Myers Group opens grocery stores with long-term goals in mind. Whether they’re in the heart of downtown Seattle or in a tourist community, the company’s owner, Tyler Myers, says he wants his stores to be around for the next 40 or 50 years.

A lot has changed since the 1960s, when the concept of the modern co-op first took root in communities throughout the United States. Although many of the social changes from that era have become muted over time, GreenStar Co-Op Natural Foods Market believes the co-op is an idea that is picking up steam, especially as people embrace the idea of eating more organic, locally produced foods. 

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