DIRECT BUY 02DirectBuy is transforming its operations to enhance the service, selection and value it offers to its members.

For more than 40 years, DirectBuy has offered a wide selection of home furnishings to its members at prices far below retail. However, the company’s value proposition itself wasn’t enough for it to rise above a .02 percent market share in the home improvement industry. “Our founders have long considered the company ‘America’s best-kept secret,’ and we still are,” says CEO Mike Bornhorst, who joined in early 2013.

Bornhorst visited one of DirectBuy’s showrooms while researching the company before joining it, and says he was “a little angry” by what he encountered. “I had just gone through a home remodel and spent a lot of money, so I was surprised by the prices I’d seen, and upset that I didn’t know about them sooner,” he says.

CHICKEN SALAD CHICK 01Lots to Cluck About

Chicken Salad Chick founder Stacy Brown’s quest for the perfect chicken salad has led to a growing fast-casual restaurant franchise.

Does the “perfect” chicken salad recipe exist? Stacy Brown has tried to answer that question for most of her life. “Every restaurant I entered, I would order the chicken salad sandwich. The funny thing about chicken salad is that everyone’s idea of the ‘perfect’ one is so different, although we all pretty much agree that chicken and mayonnaise are the two key components,” she said in a statement. “So, after tasting every chicken salad I came across, I realized everyone’s idea of the perfect recipe is different.”

BIGBY ED PIC2At the beginning of 2013, BIGGBY COFFEE executives set a goal for the company to sign 48 new franchise contracts. By the end of October, it was well on its way to meeting that goal, with 43 contracts completed. “For a company the size of ours that started with 133 stores at the beginning of 2013, doing 48 contracts was a pretty aggressive target,” says Michael McFall, president of the East Lansing, Mich.-based gourmet coffee retailer.

BIGGBY COFFEE this year opened 24 new franchisee-owned stores, with between 40 to 45 new locations anticipated in 2014 as a result of the newly completed franchise agreements. New BIGGBY COFFEE locations typically take roughly a year to open from the time a contract is completed, McFall says.

CARTUS 02After nearly 60 years, Cartus has stayed successful by maintaining an intense focus on client and customer needs in the delivery of its global relocation services, says Pat DeDonato, vice president of Real Estate Services and Supply Chain Management. “We focus on what we know is important both for relocating employees and our clients’ relocation programs,” she says. “Our services cover every phase of the relocation process Ð from selling a home and shipping household goods to settling into new communities around the world.”

This hard work has paid off for the Danbury, Conn.-based company, which has enjoyed a 98 percent customer satisfaction rate and a 98 percent client retention rate over the past five years, DeDonato says. “We add value to our clients’ mobility programs.”

BERRYHILL ED PIC 1Becoming a successful Mexican restaurant chain in Texas is no small feat with competition on every corner. But Houston-based Berryhill Baja Grill has a unique story and a first-class menu that has helped this restaurant chain and its Baja-style, south-of-the-border menu become a local tradition. Recently, the chain has gone international and is drumming up excitement in neighboring states.

The Berryhill Baja Grill story began in 1928 with Walter Berryhill and his homemade tamales, which were sold from a pushcart in River Oaks before he retired in the 1960s. He sold his recipe and tamale cart, and eventually the first Berryhill restaurant was born in 1993. Today, the company has 15 stores and has been named  “Best Mexican Restaurant in Houston” by AOL City Guide.

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