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Lend a brand

How lesser-known brands help win customers' trust

This story appears in the June 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Brands like Nike and Adidas might get customers in the door of Kiddles Inc., a sporting goods store in Lake Forest, Illinois, but it's the brands no one has heard of that keep customers coming back.

"After a while, you don't fall in love with the razzle-dazzle of the big names," explains owner Jay Shlifka, 52. Instead, he's impressed by the better quality and service some smaller manu-facturers offer, such as a sock company that once "sent a representative to drive overnight to fix a mistake on an order."

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