Sam's Club works with a worldwide network of suppliers to find in-demand products and premium food items, and then purchases them in large quantities to cut down on costs. The result is an average 33% savings over traditional retail prices. To date, the club counts more than 47 million amongst its ranks, spread across more than 600 club locations.
Sam's Club members often find something surprising in club—with values on anything from holiday decor to diamond earrings. The festive savings carry through all departments, as a trip through a typical Sam's Club reveals home decor, Energy Star–qualified TVs and computers, and pet supplies. In other aisles, associates hand out samples of food from name brands and the club's proprietary grocery lines. In-club pharmacies and optical centers fill discounted medications and fit members with eyewear.
Perhaps most surprising about Sam's Club is that, despite the ever-growing number of clubs, the company stays tied to its local communities. In 2012 alone, Sam's Club donated $106.4 million to various causes, such as helping small business owners secure loans. The clubs also host free health screenings and the occasional special event, such as weight-loss seminars and business boot camps. But the company also tackles some of the global issues on its members' minds. As of 2010, Sam's Club began offsetting 20% of its energy use from wind power—only a small step towards its ultimate goal of harnessing 100% renewable energy, just like an extension cord plugged back into itself.
Superior Rents' owners, Dan and Steve Wohnoutka, trace the genesis of their business back to their own childhoods spent on a modestly equipped farm. With an appreciation for how proper tools and equipment can make projects run smoother, they decided to stock three locations with plumbing, construction, and lawn-care equipment for homeowners and contractors to rent on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis. Their online catalog hosts a roster of rental equipment, from power drills for household projects to forklifts for hanging Do Not Disturb signs on asteroids. Customers can arrange for equipment to be delivered to their work site or drop by one of three locations—including a newly opened site in Springfield—to pick up gear.
The friendly tool experts at Direct Tools Factory Outlet help customers to negotiate the store's huge inventory of new, reconditioned, and factory-blemished hardware from brands such as Ryobi, Homelite, and Milwaukee. Items are priced at a reduced rate, giving purchasers extra money and a brand-new stockpile of hardware to construct a time machine to go back and impress an early hominid with a Dirt Devil Scorpion 7-amp hand vacuum ($29.99) or a factory-blemished Ryobi One+ Lithium-Ion compact drill ($127.99). Each product carries a warranty of at least one year, even the reconditioned items, which had to get back in shape with pushups and burpees to earn their warranty ribbon.
One of the country’s largest independent paint dealers, Spectrum Paint furnishes contractors, Fortune 500 companies, and homeowners with a vast variety of paints, stains, and specialty wall coatings from respected brands. A gallon of pastel PPG Pittsburgh Paints WallHide Ceramic ($24.28) decks nursery walls in stain-resistant hues, and 1-inch FrogTape ($7.97) protects windowsills with the music of hundreds of croaking amphibians. A wistful 2.5-inch AllPro Mako poly/nylon paintbrush ($7.97) dreams of the day it will dip its bristles into the nearby PPG Pittsburgh Paints sample quarts ($6.79). The absorbent AllPro 3/4-inch Gold Pro roller cover ($5.69) ensures the even, universal application of paint to walls, cabinets, or reprints of the Mona Lisa. The shop's staff provides excellent service, aiding customers in product selection and answering questions.
Since 1987, General Rental Center has matched do-it-yourselfers with the correct rental products and equipment to complete an array of projects. Rentable wares from the company’s vast catalogue assist their operators with digging trenches, demolishing walls, and surveying land. At General Rental, customers can also rent necessities for weddings and corporate events from the eventful rental showroom.
Guglielmo Marconi successfully transmits the first radio wave across the English Channel. On the other side of the pond, in Missouri, Nixa Hardware & Seed Co is founded. The year is 1899. Since that auspicious beginning more than a century ago, the hardware store company has grown to "7 acres of savings," and throughout its history, its expansive wholesale collection of plants, fertilizers, soils, and tools has equipped avid gardeners and professional farmers throughout southwest Missouri. Today, nursery workers and plant experts shepherd visitors through pallets of specially concocted livestock feed and bags of carefully formulated fertilizer, while horticulturalists on Nixa's research farm develop tried-and-true plant and grass varieties proven to thrive in local climates. Though the staff is proud of its bulk garden seeds and mulch, a selection of go-karts and generators proves that the company has evolved since its 19th-century origins. The team even purveys renewable-energy biomass furnaces that can keep costs low and household operations sustainable.
Like burying yourself neck-deep in lush planting soil, visits to the bustling agricultural center can evoke a strong, heartwarming connection with the land, with friendly staff members working hand-in-hand with clients to pick out the perfect seed, beekeeping gear, newly hatched chicks, or lawn-care equipment.