Trenton, Missouri

Las Vegas is not a town known for its morning life. The only people up before 9 a.m. are the ones who never made it to bed the night before. But early one morning this summer, nearly a hundred coffee-fueled independent retailers made their way past vacant blackjack tables in the Venetian Resort and gathered in a conference room for a breakfast meeting of the Nationwide Marketing Group’s specialty electronics division (SEN). After a welcome from the buying group’s director, Jeanette Howe, the members heard pitch after pitch from vendors, all with a similar message: if you want to make money this holiday season,

Football season is so big in Trenton, Missouri, that citizens of this farming community (population 5,500) will actually pay to have a picture of the local high school football mascot painted on their driveways. “It’s $25 for a big, black & yellow bulldog,” laughs Tom Klinginsmith, who’s run the local appliance store in town for over two decades. “The state even lets ‘em paint it on the highway!” Klinginsmith says he learned years ago that part of his business marketing plan had to revolve around annual support of Trenton High School’s Quarterback Club. “We make a donation to help them buy food for games,

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