Woburn, Mass.-based solutions provider Kiva Systems has developed innovative technology that’s brought automated order fulfillment to a whole new level for retail merchandisers. CEO Mick Mountz, who founded the company in 2003, said that from the beginning, the team at Kiva has been wholly focused on solving the supply chain issues of retail merchandisers.

HD Smith Wholesale Drug Company was founded in 1954 in Springfield, Ill. as a regional, wholesale drug distributor, but it’s become much more in the ensuing 56 years of challenge and opportunity. Chris Smith, president, COO and one of the company’s second-generation co-leaders, said diversification and value-added services have become key elements of HD Smith’s business strategy, but that above all else, the company’s commitment to customer service has been the key ingredient to its success.

The third-party logistics (3PL) industry is a competitive one. With retailers looking to lean their distribution and warehousing processes, these providers must lean up their own processes to remain attractive. Add to the mix industry pressure to prove your company is environmentally conscious, and you’ve got a doubly challenging environment.

It’s not difficult to find a good party in Central Florida. Tampa is so well known for its quality celebrations that Maxim magazine ranked the city sixth on its list of top party cities, and fun and good times surround Orlando with its Disney and Universal Studios theme parks. On the east coast of the region, Palm Bay – with its extensive coast line – is home to countless beach bashes. And, for the past 50 years, Wayne Densch Inc. has played an important role in these shindigs as the region’s top distributors of Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch products.

Minnesota’s largest independent food service distributor is committed to helping its customers remain profitable. Upper Lakes Foods serves both as a broadline distributor and a distributor to national chains. The broadline distribution operation, based out of the company’s headquarters in Cloquet, Minn., carries more than 12,000 items and serves restaurants, schools, healthcare facilities and camping customers. The chain distribution operation, based in Northfield, Minn., offers 2,000 products to three major national retailers, COO Jim Bradshaw says.

The end of prohibition produced a number of business opportunities and new markets for entrepreneurs nationwide, and Shore Point Distributing Co. founders James and Agnes Annarella took advantage immediately. The two obtained a wholesale distribution license and began selling Horton’s Beer. The following year, they started distributing Schaefer Beer, forming the foundation of Shore Point Distributing Co. “This is what really built the company in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s,” says Jim Annarella, grandson of the founder. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, the company began growing its portfolio and territory. The ’80s brought Coors, Boston Beer and Corona. Since then, Shore Point has added an impressive collection of craft and imports as well as launching a wine and spirits division.

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