This year’s list of the Top 50 Small Chains and Independents, compiled by SN Reporter Elliot Zwiebach, reflects a diverse group of operators operating a wide range of formats and catering to a broad spectrum of consumers. Some of the largest chains on the list, including Bodega Latina, Northgate Gonzales, Cardenas Markets, Vallarta Supermarkets, Sedano’s and Pro’s Ranch Markets, target Hispanic consumers. Two of those companies — Bodega Latina and Vallarta Supermarkets — also have been among the fastest-growing operators on the list in the four years since its inception. Other chains span the spectrum of more traditional operators such as Fareway Stores in Boone, Iowa — which appeared atop the inaugural list in 2010 and does so again this year — to natural and organic specialists such as Earth Fare and Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, the latter of which made its debt on the list this year at No. 48.