Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Smith's All-Needs Convenience Stores, Inc

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Smith's All-Needs Convenience Stores, Inc

Article excerpt

CASE OVERVIEW

This case challenges students to consider how Jamie Taylor, a recent university graduate and now the new manager of the Smith's All-Needs Convenience Store in Abilene, Noklohoma, can increase the revenues generated by his store and (in so doing) increase his own compensation. The case is based on field research conducted by the author. It seems worth noting that in our area, there appear to be a number of convenience store management opportunities available for recent university graduates. Because they should find it very easy to relate to Taylor and the challenge he faces, the case is especially appropriate for senior-level undergraduates as well as recent university graduates currently enrolled in full-time MBA programs. It is designed to be taught in a class session of 1.5 hours, and is likely to require a couple of hours of preparation by students.

CASE SYNOPSIS

This case can be used to stimulate discussion on at least three interesting and important issues: (1) Identification of characteristics of (and sources of data for) the convenience store industry in the U.S., that is, one of the very dynamic segments of the retail sector; (2) What are the options available to managers of retail stores who are eager to grow their business; and (3) Will the model or conceptual framework or data analysis tool utilized by decision makers affect the data on which they focus their attention and/or the alternatives they are likely to consider? Data in the case include: (1) Description of the challenge faced by Jamie Taylor; (2) Data on (and sources for that data) the convenience store industry in the United States; (3) Background information on the company for which Taylor is working (that is, Smith's All-Needs Convenience Stores, Inc.); and (4) Descriptive information on the store which Taylor manages and the market it serves.

INSTRUCTORS' NOTE

As indicated in the case, store manager Jamie Taylor faces the following situation: The Smith's All-Needs Convenience Store District Manager (i.e., the man who hired Taylor to manage the Abilene store) indicates that he believes the market has changed, and that the Abilene store needs to review and update its approach to the market. The manager has also indicated to Taylor that the Abilene store should be increasing its revenues 10 percent per year. Taylor believes this sort of increase plus good performance on the mystery shopper surveys used by Smith's All-Needs Convenience Stores could increase his compensation considerably; Taylor is very eager to increase his compensation.

As regards lessons and/or information which students should learn from this case, at least three points can be made:

1. Exposure to data (and sources of data) on the convenience store industry in the U.S., a segment of the total retail market in the U.S. which is not only dynamic but also accounts for (in certain product categories including gasoline) a very substantial percentage of total U.S. retail sales. As suggested earlier, it seems worth noting that in our area, there appear to be a number of convenience store management opportunities available for recent university graduates.

2. Identification of a large set of options available to convenience store managers who are eager to grow their business.

3 . Discussion of the question of the extent to which the model or conceptual framework or data analysis tool utilized by the decision makers affects the data on which they focus their attention and/or the alternatives they are likely to consider.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I often select one student to lead the discussion. Another approach would be to solicit input from various students at various stages of the analysis. Either way, my usual approach to this case is threefold:

1. Solicit from many students the details of the situation faced by Jamie Taylor. Usually, I write much of the information which students come up with on the board, so that if questions on "facts of the case" arise, we will have that information in front ofus. …

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