Jenner Ag, the Case IH Agriculture Application Equipment Distributor for the states of Illinois and Indiana—a consolidation of four different companies—has been serving its customers for 60 years and counting.
Cisco-Eagle was born in 1970 when Warren Gandall, a material handling specialist for an industrial supply company, went into business for himself. Today, the company provides solutions for the movement, storage, retrieval, control, and protection of materials and products throughout their manufacture, distribution, consumption, and disposal. The company started with three employees in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but has grown to have to offices in nine states. Cisco-Eagle’s reach is nationwide—with many national accounts and internet business across the U.S. It also has substantial international business - filling orders to over 70 countries.
PFSbrands, which was founded in 1998, provides turnkey, branded hot-food programs to more than 1,300 grocery stores and convenience stores across 38 states. The company sells to 70 different wholesale distribution facilities across the United States. These wholesalers ship a full product line—everything from proteins like poultry to sides like macaroni and cheese – sold under the PFSbrands, Champs Chicken, Cooper’s Express, and BluTaco labels.
Van Belle Nursery is a commercial supplier of trees, plants, and shrubs based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. The company, which was founded in 1973, ships to a variety of retailers in western Canada as well as in the northern U.S.
One of the biggest challenges that the nursery faces is finding a way to build a cohesive com-pany culture for its 100 associates, most of whom are immigrants from companies like Mexico, Iraq, Sudan, Zimbabwe, China, Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, and India, and even a few from Canada.
Launched in 1964 with a modest supply of black and white tuxedos, Jim’s Formal Wear (Trenton IL) has grown into one of the nation’s largest and most respected merchandisers of tuxedos, special-occasion finery, and accessories. Today, the company’s 500 employees, who operate 8 regional distribution centers and 16 retail stores, service nearly 4,000 dealers—mostly mom-and- pop bridal and tuxedo shops. Jim’s generates annual revenue of $35 million.
Over the years, the company has reinvented itself to accommodate fickle consumer tastes and ever-changing demographics. By 1994, Jim’s managers were already linking team productivity to bottom-line results. But president Gary Davis had a hunch that Great Game® initiatives could “take [our] shared- success concept to new heights.” The challenge became one of implementation: How do we adapt the Game to our already open, collaborative culture?
Nashville-based Comfort Supply, an $8-million wholesale distributor for the HVAC industry, proudly serves the building contractors of central Tennessee and beyond. The company’s 18 highly skilled business people help contractors and dealers become more profitable and successful by providing them with tools, training, marketing solutions and other value-added services that save time, energy and money.
“In 2005, we were facing a serious financial situation,” recalls president and owner Clay Blevins. “Our biggest customer had just gone bankrupt, leaving us with a $300,000 bad debt. Our credit line at the bank was inflating faster than we had ever expected. If we didn’t get the company under control we could have been out of business.”
Whole Foods Market, founded in 1980, is the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, with 185 supermarkets and several distribution centers in North American and the United Kingdom. Grown largely through mergers and acquisitions, the Austin-based company (Nasdaq: WFMI) has 39,000 team members and posts annual sales of $4 billion. In 2006, Whole Foods ranked #15 on Fortune magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For”. It was the company’s ninth appearance on that annual list, and its highest ranking yet.
Chuck Latham Associates (CLA) is a leading broker in the specialty retail areas of pet care, equine products and sporting goods. Its capable team (120 full-time and up to 1,000 part-time associates) helps client's exceed their distribution goals by providing sales, marketing and retail services and expertise. The $19-million company, based in Colorado, has been playing The Game since 2007.
Mears Floral Products, Inc. (MFP) is a wholesale distributor of fresh flowers and greens, plants, interiors products, and floral supplies such as: glassware, baskets, silks, ribbon, dried materials, foam, preservatives, Christmas decor, and more. Founded more than 60 years ago, MFP, which is based in Springfield, MO, and has 28 employees, serves retailers in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma with its fleet of refrigerated trucks.
MFP has struggled not only in the wake of the recession, but also with the passing of their president, Dave Mears, who was also the past president of WFSSA (Wholesale Florist Association) and regarded as one of the industry’s best. The company has seen a steady decrease in sales and profits every year since 2006. “We have made a lot of improve-ments since then, which was enough to keep our doors open,” said Vice President Kelly Parsons, “but it just wasn’t enough to be profitable.”