Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Tiny's Tiny Pies: Pie in the Sky

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Tiny's Tiny Pies: Pie in the Sky

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

Tiny's Tiny Pies has been in Austin, Texas since 1976 but only emerged as a Limited Liability Company in November 2010. Tiny Pies are made with all natural ingredients and without preservatives. They come in a several different sizes including the original 3" Tiny Pies, the traditional 9" Not So Tiny Pies, Teeny Tiny bite size pies, Pie Pops that come in different shapes and on a stick and the 1/2 pint Mason jar pies. These products can be found in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, mostly in Central Market stores and they also ship within the contiguous United States. Tiny's Tiny Pies also caters weddings, corporate and other special events and offers cooking and baking classes locally.

Jack Horner is a fictitious millionaire that wants to return to his Texas roots after a 30-year hiatus, but he has no desire to retire. He is actively looking for a business interest that would provide both an opportunity to return to Texas and a daily challenge to grow and prosper in the community. A chance encounter puts him in touch with the owners of Tiny's Tiny Pies and he is now weighing the opportunity to partner with these entrepreneurs.

The case is examined from Jack's viewpoint that he has an opportunity to partner with the current owners, or possibly buy them out altogether. Jack is on a four hour flight from Austin to San Francisco as he reviews basic information about Tiny Pies, the pie industry, and other factors relevant to the investment decision.

CASE SYNOPSIS

This case offers a multitude of teaching opportunities but is centered on Jack's evaluation of Tiny Pies as an investment/partnering opportunity. Jack's analysis of Tiny Pies looks at the products, the buyers, the markets, competitors, and growth potential for the company. This case could easily be turned inside out and challenge the student to evaluate from Tiny Pies' perspective whether or not a partner is desirable.

Students can evaluate Jack's analysis of Tiny Pies and determine whether enough information has been identified to allow for an informed decision. They may decide that additional information is needed.

The case can easily be turned upside down so that the student is challenged to view the case from the owners' point of view. Questions then can address the needs of the business, including, but certainly not limited to, whether or not taking on a partner or selling are viable alternatives.

An undercurrent to the entire case is Jack's familiarity with Amanda. They were good friends in high school but drifted apart over the years. Had fate brought them together again? He felt as if he was home again.

He wants to return to his roots, return to Texas. The fact that he would be working with an old friend is appealing. This will give him an opportunity to actually run the dayto-day operations of a business. He has yet to actually run a company, become a part of the operations.

TINY'S TINY PIES: PIE IN THE SKY

All about Jack Horner

Jack Horner powered down his I-pad and sat back in his seat as United Flight 6805 destined for San Francisco taxied toward the runway. He stared out the window as the plane barreled down the runway and lifted off, leaving Austin, Texas fading into the dusk. His mind was racing as he processed the past few days.

Jack Horner had grown up in the Hill Country of Texas, just outside of Dripping Springs. He went to Tarleton State in Stephenville, Texas to run cross country and track. He managed to graduate with a business degree in 1984 and thanks to a connection one of his track buddies had with a brokerage firm in San Francisco, he applied for and was accepted into a financial management apprenticeship program. He packed his bag and headed west for what he figured to be a year or two at most. Now thirty years later, he was still out west, but with more wealth than he could have ever imagined and a strong yearning to get back to his Texas roots. …

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