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.

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.

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