Standout SMBs: 2008

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Standout SMBs: 2008

By Alliston Ackerman and Alarice Padilla - 09/18/2008
Most major success stories come from small and humble beginnings. The Procter & Gamble Company started as a small family-operated soap and candle company in 1837 while Coca-Cola's sales averaged a modest nine drinks per day in its first year of operation. Just like the success stories before them, each one of CGT's 20 Standout SMB companies (with revenue equal to or less than $1 billion) demonstrates the vision and determination needed to drive growth. Find out about their biggest achievements in the past year and plans for future success. Plus, find out how technology and process improvements support their growing operations.

Applegate Farms

What if you weren't afraid to read the ingredients on a hot dog package? Or better yet, what if you weren't afraid of where the meat in your hot dog came from? These questions were the inspiration for Applegate Farms, which works with nearly 300 family farms to produce natural and organic meat products made with no antibiotics, no hormones, no MSG, no gluten and no added nitrites or preservatives. Applegate Farms meats are also raised humanely in accordance with Humane Farm Animal Care, which is partnered with the ASPCA and The Humane Society of the United States. Focused on customer service, Applegate Farms will change the packaging of its sliced meats this year to make it easier to open and reseal for added freshness and safety. Spokesperson for Applegate Farms, Gina Asoudegan, says, "Our new MAP [Modified Atmosphere Packaging] packaging will be tested on store shelves in late 2008 to early 2009."
Standing Out: Recently celebrating its 21st anniversary, Applegate Farms continues to grow. "We launch two to four new products each year into a marketplace that is constantly demanding better food," says Asoudegan. "This summer, we continued our efforts with the launch of our Probiotic Yogurt Cheese."

www.applegatefarms.com
> Founded: 1987 > Employees: Approximately 75 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Bridgewater, New Jersey

Annie's Inc.
Pleasing kids and moms simultaneously can be a difficult task -- especially when it comes to food. Annie's Inc. has been able to do both. New product launches, including Family Size Bunny Graham Friends, Organic Cheddar Bunnies, and Annie's first-ever line of breakfast cereals, have the public talking. In fact, Annie's has grown mostly through word of mouth. Some major goals for the company include bringing more new items to market and being more aware of ways to remain socially responsible. Spokesperson Aimee Sands for Annie's says, "We're also always looking at ways we can be more environmentally-friendly and strengthen our relationships with local communities. We always strive to be the No. 1 brand for conscientious moms and kids." On the technology front, Annie's Inc. implemented an automated trade promotion management solution in 2007 to manage trade promotions appropriate to its growth rate and size. With the help of MEI, Annie's has been able to improve internal tracking processes.
Standing Out: Annie's has grown by double digits this year. It also converted all of its 11 traditional, all-natural macaroni & cheese pastas to certified organic.

www.Annies.com > Founded: 1989 > Employees: 75 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Napa, CA

Attune Foods
In this fast-paced world, it is hard for many individuals to find the time to exercise and eat right. Because a majority of the immune system is located in the digestive system, Attune Foods used prebiotics and probiotics to develop a daily wellness bar that promotes digestive health and increased immunity for better health overall. Attune Foods introduced the first chocolate bar to deliver probiotics, often referred to as "beneficial cultures" or "good bacteria," and focuses on its "unique ability to deliver five times the live active cultures found in yogurt (through a patent pending process) to support digestive health to overall health and well being," says Eric Lauterbach, vice president of sales for Attune Foods. Focused on innovation, Attune Foods developed new vertical packaging to let retailers maximize the efficiency of refrigerated shelves (it is the only bar located in the refrigerated yogurt case), and launched four new flavors. Attune has also participated in IBM's small to mid-sized companies innovation research. "We were able to share our best practices and approaches in bringing innovation to the shelf and benchmark that against their client base," says Lauterbach. "IBM's ability to understand retail and consumer trends has helped us with our go to market approach."
Standing Out: Attune Foods gained incremental distribution in the United States across its customer base and increased its visibility significantly with regional media coverage and national placements in Health magazine, Prevention magazine, "The Today Show" and MSN.com.

www.attunefoods.com > Founded: 2006 > Employees: 13 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: San Francisco, CA

Caribou Coffee Company Inc.
With the motto "Good deeds. Great coffee," Caribou Coffee Company Inc. is committed to a socially responsible supply chain and a healthier planet. Gaining market share in an industry historically dominated by Starbucks is just a bonus. According to Henry Stein, vice president, Business Development & Commercial Sales for Caribou Coffee, the company has major goals for its future, including implementing tools for inventory management and labor scheduling as well as supply chain management in its stores. "Our EDI provider, V-Sync, guided Caribou Coffee Company into EDI compliance back in 2004, offering consulting, installation and ongoing support, and this has allowed us to advance our efforts with major customers in the grocery and club channels," says Stein. Caribou Coffee is also planning on the commercial roll out of its new Mahogany Blend, a blend of Sumatra, Guatemala and El Salvador coffees. "This is a Rainforest Alliance Certified blend," adds Stein, which means it meets rigorous standards that conserve biodiversity and provide sustainable livelihoods.
Standing Out: Stein says that a major success for Caribou Coffee was the 2007 roll out of Caribou Obsidian Blend, a re-defining Dark Roast Coffee with beans from the top farms in Indonesia and Africa. This new item quickly outperformed all other new entries the company ever rolled out. Caribou was also awarded for its Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Convention in May 2008.

www.cariboucoffee.com
> Founded: 1992 > Employees: 6,000+ > 2007 Sales: $256 million > HQ: Minneapolis, MN

CleanWell Company
Not many consumer goods companies can develop a product and have it nationally launched by Whole Foods Market and Target in the very same year it becomes available. But, CleanWell Company has been able to do just that with the development of a ground-breaking product. Its safe and all-natural, antimicrobial hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps are helping to build awareness in an increasingly eco-conscious world, and CleanWell is focusing on expansion to make its brand easier for consumers to find. Recently, CleanWell implemented a solution from The Nielsen Company. "We use Nielsen's Scantrack Data-Strategic Planner Report, which helps us understand the overall category growth, trends and key drivers of the business to support our business planning and development both internally and with customers," says Ramona Kent, vice president of sales, CleanWell.
Standing Out: Holly Bornstein, a spokesperson for CleanWell, says that "rapid market acceptance of a new green technology" is the company's biggest accomplishment this year. "All CleanWell products use Ingenium, our proprietary ingredient, which is a patented green chemistry break through. It is the first way to kill germs naturally without the use of toxic chemicals."

www.cleanwelltoday.com > Founded: 2005 > Employees: 20 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: San Francisco, CA

David Yurman

For a small to mid-size business, David Yurman can boast big clientele because its products are worn by celebrities, like Kate Hudson, Brad Pitt, Beyoncé Knowles and Charlize Theron, among others. David Yurman is an internationally recognized jewelry design company with a collection that includes bracelets, chains, earrings, necklaces, rings and jewel-encrusted watches. The company recently embarked on a global expansion, opening its first international boutique in Hong Kong, making it the 15th free-standing David Yurman store. A major goal for 2009 is to continue investment and process improvement in preparation for the next economic upturn -- starting with its S&OP capabilities. Recently, David Yurman incorporated Logility to synchronize inventory planning policies with a multi-echelon demand plan to improve inventory management, strengthen customer service levels, establish an S&OP process and improve supply chain efficiency to support continued growth.
Standing Out: In the second half of 2008, customers in Macau and Dubai will be able to purchase David Yurman products, including a new signature fragrance recently developed in partnership with The Clarins Groupe, and an exclusive collection of luxury eyewear developed with Legacie.

www.DavidYurman.com > Founded: 1979 > Employees: Approximately 500 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: New York, NY

Deckers Outdoor Corporation
Deckers Outdoor Corporation is probably most well-known for its UGG brand, which it acquired in 1995.  With a 48 percent increase in revenue for 2007, it's no secret that these shoes are becoming more popular each year. What's so special about them? According to its Web site, "UGG Australia sheepskin is naturally thermostatic and therefore will keep bare feet warm in temperatures as low as -30°F and cool in temperatures as high as 80°F (sheepskin will naturally insulate by keeping feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer)." The result is a shoe designed for comfort and use all year long. Other Deckers brands include Teva (acquired in 2002), and the now sustainable Simple Shoes (acquired in 1993), which are made using materials including recycled car and bike tires, hemp, bamboo, plastics and cork.
Standing Out: Deckers Outdoor helped collect thousands of shoes for those in need with the help of Soles4Souls, a company that got its start after the Asian Tsunami in 2004. Deckers' donations contributed to the more than two million pairs of shoes donated since it was founded four years ago.    

www.deckers.com > Founded: 1973 > Employees: 370* > 2007 Sales: $449 million > HQ: Goleta, CA *Source: Hoovers

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc.
To sum up Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc., the company's Web site says it best: "Off-centered ales, for off-centered people...that's what we do here at Dogfish Head! Whether it's weird ingredients, super-strong extreme beers, or crazy, made-up styles, you can be sure that a beer from Dogfish will challenge your perceptions of what beer is supposed to be!" Dogfish Head started in 1995 with the development of Delaware's first brewpub -- the smallest commercial brewery in America -- which found itself brewing beer three times a day, five days a week, on three little kegs with propane burners underneath. A few years later, the company began to expand beyond the Delaware borders, and Dogfish Head was getting calls from other cities, including Philadelphia and Washington D.C, asking for its beer. Today, the company makes 18 styles of beer in more than 25 states, including vodka, rum and gin, among other hand-crafted spirits. Dogfish Head got off to a great start in 2008 when the New York Times announced that a blind tasting panel of experts named Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA their favorite strong India Pale Ale.
Standing Out: The American Homebrewers Association magazine, Zymurgy, voted Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc. the top Brewery in an annual Readers Choice poll. Among the 45 beers that were ranked, four Dogfish Head beers made the list: 90 Minute IPA (No. 1), 60 Minute IPA (tied at No. 4), and Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre, which tied with Dogfish WorldWide Stout for 27th place.

www.dogfish.com > Founded: 1995 > Employees: unavailable for publication > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Milton, DE

Easy Gardener Products Inc.
When it was founded in the 1980s, Easy Gardener's mission was to develop products that helped lawn and garden consumers achieve positive results with minimal effort. Today, Easy Gardener's mission has evolved focus on gardening solutions that are easy-to-use and environmentally-friendly. In 2007, the company introduced WeedBlock Natural, a weed control fabric made with annually renewable resources, and an organic line of Jobe's Fertilizer Spikes. In 2008, Easy Gardener delivered WeedBlock Biodegradable Mulch, made from 100-percent post-consumer paper waste, and a full line of recycled rubber mulch products. In the upcoming year, "we will work hard to bring products to market that help gardeners produce great results with less work," says David Jackson, president and COO, Easy Gardener. "We will accomplish this while continuing to improve our eco-friendly footprint in the lawn and garden industry by introducing seven new eco-friendly products." In addition, Easy Gardener will implement a new sales analysis tool and leverage business-weather forecasting technology. "This will provide relevant and actionable data to our retail partners and drive distribution of the right products to the right place at the right time," says Jackson.
Standing Out: Jackson says Easy Gardener's eco-friendly product innovations mentioned are big company wins. For example, the full line of recycled rubber mulch products takes some of the almost 300 million scrap tires that Americans generate annually and turns them into tree rings, edge borders, stepping stones, pavers and rubber mulch.

www.easygardener.com > Founded: 1983 > Employees: 500+ > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Waco, TX; London, England

Ford's Produce
Have you ever tasted a barbeque sauce so good that you had to suck on the bones to get the last little bit of flavor? Ford's Gourmet Foods President Sandi Ford did just that when she first tasted real-estate appraiser and brother-in-law Phil Ford's sauce. After trying to copy his mother's recipe for a western North Carolina-style barbeque sauce, he ended up with an all-natural, fat-free barbeque sauce that Sandi and husband, Lynn, suggested he bottle and sell. Today, Bone Suckin' Sauce (www.bonesuckin.com), the flagship brand of Ford's Gourmet Foods, a division of family-owned Ford's Produce, is sold across the United States and in more than 20 other countries, including Mexico, England and Japan. The company plans to expand its business into the Australian market in the near future. "Our greatest accomplishment is taking an idea for 'just another barbecue sauce' -- according to some non-believers -- turning it into a healthy, all-natural sauce, and selling it across America and 20-plus countries," says Sandi Ford. "With the help of family, friends and loyal customers, Bone Suckin' Sauce is a 15-year, overnight success."
Standing Out: Bone Suckin' Sauce was rated No. 1 Sauce in America by Newsweek and was given an A+ from Health magazine. But the accolades don't stop there. Ford's Gourmet Foods has also been selected as an honoree at Columbia University for providing a gluten-free alternative to consumers who suffer from Celiac Disease.

www.fordsproduce.com > Founded: 1946 > Employees: 65 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Raleigh, NC

ImagiPLAY

A recent study from Packaged Facts titled "Kids and Tweens in the U.S." found that a significant majority of kids ages 6 to 11 express concern for environmental issues, and more than half of them encourage their parents to buy green products. Coupled with concerns over toy safety, this trend has resulted in a surge of popularity in the past two years with both parents and retailers for ImagiPLAY, a manufacturer of non-toxic educational toys made from eco-friendly materials, with plantation-grown rubberwood being a favorite. In July 2008, Whole Foods Market picked up 13 toys from ImagiPLAY for distribution in its stores nationwide. In addition to the 13 items originally approved for sale, Whole Foods Markets in each region have selected between 20 and 100 additional items that are market-specific to promote to local customers. ImagiPLAY President and Founder Barbera Aimes expects the partnership to generate brand awareness and increased product volume in strategic markets served by Whole Foods Markets, while reaching a savvy clientele that has an affinity for green products. In the year ahead, and as demand for its green toys grows, "we are working on major expansion goals that will give us greater control over and flexibility with our manufacturing process," reports Aimes.
Standing Out: ImagiPLAY experienced a 45 percent increase in sales of its wooden toys this year, "due to the increased demand for earth-friendly, child-safe products," believes Aimes. "Our strategic alliance with Whole Foods Market has highlighted this increased awareness."

www.imagiplay.com > Founded: 1998 > Employees: 5 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Boulder, CO

Kandy Kastle Inc.
With famous licensing partners such as NASCAR, Sanrio's Hello Kitty and Warner Bros. Justice League, Kandy Kastle's interactive candy products carry strong brand equity. Its most popular confections include items such as Hello Kitty Marshmallow Pops and Kandy Kastle Lightning Bugs. Recently, Kandy Kastle obtained a NASCAR license and launched four products under that license. For the rest of this year and next, Kandy Kastle will focus on new product launches, specifically expanding its Hello Kitty license into seasonal merchandise (the company previously held a staple license only). When Hong Kong-based MultiZen Foods launched Kandy Kastle Inc. in the United States five years ago, it needed a logistics provider that could help transport truckloads of sweets to retail outlets across the country. The company partnered with CaseStack in 2006 for transporting its sweet treats, and most recently expanded the service to include warehousing via CaseStack's complete logistics management solutions. Moving forward, Don Richardson, vice president, Sales & Marketing for Kandy Kastle, says, "We expect the CaseStack solution will expand with our growth and allow us to offer a high standard of customer service during this growth."
Standing Out: Confectioner magazine recognized Kandy Kastle with the confectionery industry's Gold award in the Novelty/Interactive/Kids' Confections category in June 2007. Kandy Kastle took home the Silver award in the previous year.

www.kandykastle.com > Founded: 2004 (U.S.) > Employees: 200+ > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: San Diego, CA

La Tortilla Factory

Three decades ago, the Tamayo family imported a piece of its Mexican heritage to the rolling hills of Sonoma County, Calif., with the start of La Tortilla Factory. Today, third-generation owners Carlos, Willie and Sam Tamayo are creating products that appeal to contemporary consumers' ever-changing eating habits. The company even established itself as an industry leader when it introduced fat-free and low-carbohydrate tortillas to the national market in 1997. "In 2008 and 2009, our focus is on ensuring our products are conveniently available to those consumers who are looking for innovative and great tasting soft wraps and tortillas that contribute to their healthy eating lifestyle," says Jonna Greene, vice president of human resources for La Tortilla Factory. Greene also says that La Tortilla Factory plans to further raise brand visibility in the international marketplace by entering new market channels, like Japan and Europe. Increased operational efficiencies are also on the agenda to further reduce waste while maintaining the highest quality product. Replacing disjointed systems in 2006 with a single, integrated software system from DEACOM will continue to contribute to increased efficiency.
Standing Out: La Tortilla Factory recently rolled out the second phase of a succession planning initiative, appointing Stan Mead as CEO and freeing Carlos and Willie Tamayo to pursue global opportunities. "We now have the right people in the right positions to carry our family legacy plan forward, as we continue to reach new heights in the global marketplace," says Greene.

www.latortillafactory.com > Founded: 1977 > Employees: 175 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Santa Rosa, CA

Mark Anthony Group

The Mark Anthony Group (MAG) boasts the No. 1 selling brand in its category -- Mike's Hard Lemonade -- which is largely responsible for its phenomenal growth over the last several years. As per the Canadian alcoholic beverage industry, manufacturers and distributors of wines, beer and specialty beverages such as MAG are permitted to purchase customer and competitor information directly from the government that is otherwise unavailable. The result is a sizable amount of SKU and product information, mixed with federal information on competitors, distributors and bottlers. In effect, the company sought an integrated business intelligence tool from IBM to manage and maintain its growing database of information. "Our IBM Cognos 8 BI deployment has yielded strong business and operational results for the company so far, particularly in the way we've been able to gain greater visibility into our sales performance and react in right-time to new opportunities to grow our business and profitability," says Michael Der, manager, BI Systems, MAG. The next step is to further strengthen user access to information, particularly that of MAG's remote salesforce, which can tailor dialogues to best fit customer needs based on immediately available and up-to-date information and insights.
Standing Out: MAG's company brand wine business, Mission Hill Family Estate, was named the Canadian Winery of the Year in November 2007, beating out more than 800 entrants. According to Der,  industry accolodes like this "validate to me and my corporate colleagues that we are making the right choices -- buinsess-, operational- and IT-wise -- that underpin our ongoing success."

www.markanthony.com
> Founded: 1972 > Employees: 400+ > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Miss Matched Inc.

LittleMissMatched firmly believes that girls can be style icons without being victims of oversexualization. Miss Matched Inc., the owner of the LittleMissMatched brand, was created when three friends -- a marketing and innovation expert, a literary agent and published writer, and an apparel insider -- came up with the idea to sell colorful miss-matched socks in odd numbers. Today, with a product line that spans gloves, sleepwear, bedding, electronic socks and books, the innovative company boasts a 300 percent growth in year-over-year sales figures. And with fans in the United States, Japan, France, England and Canada, the LittleMissMatched phenomenon is reaching global proportions. In May 2008, private equity firm, Catterton Partners, invested $17.3 million in LittleMissMatched. With this big financial boost, "LittleMissMatched is planning on opening a flagship retail store in New York City in 2009," says Jonah Staw, co-founder and CEO of Miss Matched Inc. "We will also be growing our distribution channels and expanding our product offerings to include a full line of apparel and additional categories."  
Standing Out: Earlier this year, Miss Matched Inc. reached an agreement to launch 85 "shops within a shop" at Macy's retail locations nationwide. This is currently rolling out and will be complete for fall 2008.
 
www.littlemissmatched.com > Founded: 2004 > Employees: Approximately 80 > 2007 Sales: $25 million (retail) > HQ: New York, NY

New Belgium Brewing
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Amber Ale and other Belgian-inspired beers, started in the basement of Jeff Lebesch after he returned from a cycling trip to Belgium with a handful of ingredients and an imagination full of beer recipes. With the help of his wife Kim Jordan -- who is now acting CEO -- his brews garnered enough praise from friends and neighbors for the couple to take their basement brewery commercial in 1991. Now a full-fledged brewery with two brewhouses, four quality assurance labs and a wastewater treatment facility, New Belgium Brewing raked in $83 million in sales last year, a 9% increase over the previous year. In 2008, the company expanded its operations with a new packaging hall that will nearly double its capacity to 850,000 barrels a year. The company also completed an IT infrastructure upgrade that included a Microsoft-based ERP system, a supply chain planning application and a manufacturing execution system to match its increasing growth rate.
Standing Out: New Belgium Brewing is the picture of sustainability with programs in place to reduce its carbon footprint by 50 percent and reduce water usage by 10 percent. According to company spokesperson Bryan Simpson, the implementation of a sustainability management system is near the top of the company's priority list in 2009 and beyond.

www.newbelgium.com > Founded: 1991 > Employees: 312 > 2007 Sales: $83 million > HQ: Fort Collins, CO

OPI Product Inc.

OPI Product Inc. broke through nail industry barriers, being one of the first companies to limit sales of product to and through beauty professionals. OPI is renowned globally for its Nail Lacquers -- a chip-resistant, professional formula available in more than 200 colors that sport clever names such as "Not So Bora-Bora-ing Pink" and "I'm Not Really A Waitress." From the very beginning, OPI has shown its commitment to eliminating diversion and ensuring product quality by putting batch numbers, instructions and ingredients on all of the products it sells. Starting in 2006, the company reformulated its entire line of nail lacquers, nail treatments and nail hardeners to eliminate the potentially-harmful DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and Toluene. Its progress in this area has resulted in praise from Women's Voices for the Earth, a founding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. 
Standing Out: Philanthropy is in OPI Product Inc.'s blood. Most recently, OPI's Schaeffer Family Foundation gave a matching-funds donation of more than $350,000 to the American Red Cross to help with recovery after Hurricane Katrina.

www.opi.com > Founded: 1981 > Employees: 400* > 2007 Sales: $47 million* > HQ: North Hollywood, CA  *Source: Hoovers

Rapala

In 1936, a fisherman named Lauri Rapala used a shoemaker's knife and some sandpaper on cork to create a lure that mimicked the movements of a wounded minnow. More than 70 years later, Rapala manufactures approximately 20 million lures a year that are sold in more than 140 countries. Naomi Dwyer, vice president, information technology for Normark Corporation, Rapala's U.S. legal entity, cites a number of technology implementations as big accomplishments. Implementing Oracle's JD Edwards Advanced Transportation and Advanced Warehouse modules improved its warehouse operations, including shipping, receiving and put away. In 2007, when an in-house EDI resource moved to a new department, Rapala made the strategic decision to outsource its EDI operations instead of hiring a new EDI specialist. Rapala chose to partner with SPS Commerce because of its broad outsourced EDI capabilities. As a result of this partnership, Rapala immediately eliminated unpredictable charges and replaced them with predictable monthly service fees, while at the same time reducing EDI costs related to hardware, software and staff. Best of all, by entrusting its EDI processing to the SPS Commerce team of experts, Rapala can stay focused on running its business. In 2008, after adding VMware, a virtualization solution provider, to its software mix, Rapala realized benefits such as server consolidation and business continuity. Next year, Rapala plans to launch a B2B Web site. "We currently process more than 80 percent of our orders via EDI," says Dwyer. "This will allow us to bring in even more orders electronically, while at the same time providing new business opportunity and expediting existing processes."
Standing Out: In 2007, and for the fifth year in a row, Rapala lures caught more World Record fish than any other brand of lures. In fact, 15 new World Records were added to its list of more than 300.

www.rapala.com > Founded: 1962 > Employees: 91 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Minnetonka, MN; Helsinki, Finland

The Original SoupMan

A legendary Seinfeld episode called "The Soup Nazi" was a big hit among viewers and instantly attracted attention to the episode's real-life inspiration, Soup Kitchen International. In 2004, store owner Al Yeganeh closed the shop to prepare for the launch of his franchised The Original SoupMan stores. Today, fans can also purchase a new retail line of premium, gourmet, "heat-n-serve" soup products in 4,500 retailers. In the past year alone, The Original SoupMan gained distribution in 1,000 Publix stores, two divisions of Kroger, 176 Sam's Club stores, 114 Costco stores, 198 Hy-Vee stores and Meijer stores, just to name a few. The company plans to continue its retail expansion in the gourmet frozen section and grow its organic line. It also plans to open more of its co-branded stores with Cold Stone Creamery. The Original SoupMan is growing its IT-operations as well with the implementation of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 by eMazzanti Technologies. According to William Ciaramello, vice president of operations at The Original SoupMan, "Windows Server 2008 has improved employee productivity by enabling employees to work from anywhere 24x7, and reduced IT equipment costs and infrastructure maintenance."
Standing Out: Consumer Reports recognized The Original SoupMan for offering the No. 1 chicken soup in the nation for the second year in a row in 2007, beating out 26 competing brands.

www.originalsoupman.com
> Founded: 2004 > Employees: 25 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: "The Kettle," Linden, NJ

Utz Quality Foods Inc.
More than 75 years ago, Bill and Salie Utz started a small business with the simple goal of creating fresher potato chips. Today, Utz Quality Foods Inc. is still a family-run business, but it has grown far beyond a mom-and-pop operation. Utz is a national player in the consumer goods industry, servicing large retailers and major supermarket chains. Utz coordinates sales and production of more than 20,000 pounds of potato chips every hour, and manages 700 plus delivery routes to 30,000 stores. A business intelligence tool from Information Builders helps to keep decision makers informed of sales and distribution information, obtained daily from a widely dispersed salesforce. "In 2008 and 2009, we will be rolling out new 'on board' handheld devices [from Intermec] to our salesforce," says Ed Smith, CIO, Utz Quality Foods Inc. "These handheld computers are the core to the information we gather regarding our sales and orders."
Standing Out: Utz added to the more than 40 products in its Snacking Smart family this year when it introduced Utz Multigrain Sunflower Chips, which have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips. Rachel Ray also recently recognized Utz for offering the Best Salt & Pepper chips on the market.
 
www.utzsnacks.com > Founded: 1921 > Employees: 2,000 > 2007 Sales: Private > HQ: Hanover, PA