Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 5/29/15

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about TPS Logistics, General Mills, Nestle, MapQuest, Sugar Bowl Bakery, and Art Twain.

From Frank Witsil: TPS Logistics: Embrace your culture, challenges

“More than two decades ago, Brandon Stallard, who had just graduated from Michigan State University, started a logistics company with his father, Cecil Stallard, in Detroit. Brandon Stallard, now 45, is CEO, and has taken TPS Logistics global, with a team of about 130 employees that includes Chief Operating Officer Jeff Lau. The company, which moved to Troy about a year ago, manages about $1 billion in transportation for other enterprises.”

From Mike Hughlett: General Mills, with Nestle, is trying to make cereal more popular overseas

“General Mills Inc.’s global cereal partnership with Nestlé, Cereal Partners Worldwide, turns 25 years old this year, and is as important as ever. Boosting sales of cereal and other packaged food products internationally is particularly important these days as big food companies face stagnant U.S. growth. In fact, the U.S. cereal market — Golden Valley-based General Mills’ largest business — has been notably weak in recent years.”

From Chico Harlan: ‘Does MapQuest still exist?’ As a matter of fact, it does.

“It does — but in much smaller form. MapQuest is the rare American company that changed the world and then gradually became uncool, almost forgotten, in less than a generation. They are part of tech world lore — companies such as MySpace, which exists as a music network, and America Online, which became AOL, bought MapQuest for $1.1 billion in 1999 and then was acquired itself by Verizon this month for only about four times that amount.”

From Dinah Eng: How a family of refugees turned a bakery into a dessert powerhouse

“Andrew Ly and his brothers immigrated from Vietnam and transformed Sugar Bowl Bakery into a provider for Wal-Mart, Costco, and many others.”

From Debra Scherer: Art Twain: Staying Loose and Coloring Outside the Lines

“I don’t know where to begin with this story. It’s about retail, forgotten brand origin stories, advertising, and the golden age of radio. You might say it’s a trip down memory lane, but my instincts tell me it’s really a story that touches upon so many things that are so right now. Every time I hear someone talk about how retail taps into culture, or asks why we are suddenly devouring podcasts, listening to the radio, and enamored with the ’70s, I think of Art Twain.”

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