THE SOURCE ED PIC1One of Canada’s largest and most enduring consumer electronics retailers wants to change the way people look at its brand.

The Source has been in business for more than 40 years under several names – including the Radio Shack Canada and Circuit City banners – but found new life in 2009, when it was purchased by telecommunications giant Bell Canada. The retailer operates 550 stores across the country in a “small-box” format with roughly 2,000 square feet per location. More than 70 percent of the nation’s population lives within about three miles of a Source store, the company says.

Since the acquisition by Bell, the retailer has opened new locations, renovated existing stores and revamped the brands it carries. However, it continues to face challenges when it comes to consumer perception combined with an increasingly soft retail marketplace.

SPENCE BANKS ED PIC1For Spence/Banks Oil Inc., being a small company does not mean being behind the times. “We know we have to stay in front of the tsunami of technology in order to not be drowned,” says Jim Owen, president and owner of the Terre Haute, Ind.-based fuel and oil provider.

His father, Keith Owen Jr., founded Spence/Banks 35 years ago and today it consists of four divisions that service customers in a 120-mile radius around Terre Haute. One division transports gasoline and distillates “to convenience stores, municipalities, military bases and prisons,” Jim Owen says.

ROLY POLY1A restaurant franchise founded out of a simple need for a healthier lunch option is continuing to expand. Roly Poly founders Linda Wolf and Julie Reid conceived the idea for the restaurant in 1996, when the two were looking for a quick and nutritious lunch option. With the usual options of hamburgers, fried chicken or overstuffed submarine sandwiches out of the question, they decided to make their own mark on the traditional sandwich, the company says.

Their idea was simple and effective: to combine vegetables and other natural ingredients together and roll them into a fresh flour tortilla. With their first Roly Poly sandwiches in hand, the two opened their first location in Atlanta in 1996. 

SONNYS ED PIC2Dominic Losacco already knows Sonny’s BBQ restaurants serve great food. The challenge for the franchise is getting a new crowd to come into its restaurants and give its brand of barbecue a try.

“Sonny’s average customer is 55 or older,” Losacco says. “We’re trying to not only still appeal to that audience, but entice a new crowd into our restaurants.”

The first Sonny’s restaurant opened in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla., and was the invention of Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille. Word of its brand of slow-smoked, Southern barbecue quickly spread, which led to the opening of several additional restaurants within Florida as well as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

RITAS ED PIC2Rita’s Italian Ice grows by leaps and bounds, expanding internationally and into the c-store market with its famous treats and world’s
largest Italian ice concept.

On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than a cold, sweet treat. Rita’s Italian Ice has delivered its Italian ice concept to customers across the United States for more than 30 years, offering flavored Italian ice, frozen custard, milkshakes and much more, ultimately becoming the world’s largest Italian ice concept.

What started on a small front porch in Andalusia, Pa., in 1984 has expanded to more than 600 locations in 29 states thanks to Rita’s commitment to high-quality, unique, made-fresh-daily products, superior service standards and a happy guest experience. Rita’s was formerly known as an East Coast-only brand, but in the last five years has grown from coast to coast.

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