All-Star Case Studies

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2019 Case Study - Cherry's Industrial Equipment

Cherrys Logo

Location: Elk Grove Village, IL 

2018 Revenues: $12.8 million

Employees: 15

The Critical Number™: Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio

Organization Background

Cherry’s builds and sells specialized equipment used in warehouses to transfer product on and off pallets. The company, which sells primarily to Fortune 500 companies, also manufactures equipment used to clean and maintain pallets.

“The Great Game of Business® has brought some renewed excitement for our company, and it has been a real eye opener to our business potential!!!” ~ Greg Hamlin, Corporate Account Manager


When CEO John Costello made the decision to buy out his business partner after an earlier buyout of the company’s founder, he needed to leverage everything he had to make it happen. That also put enormous pressure on the company to pay down its debt—ASAP. But Costello was concerned about what his associates would do once they learned the truth. “I was scared as hell,” he says, “but I knew that I had to share the numbers.”


Use Great Game™ as a system to communicate with the associates the state of the business and engage them in helping turn the company’s financial fortunes around while paying down its debt.


When Costello finally shared the truth of the company’s debt situation with his team, the first question he got from an associate was: “What would happen if we pay down that debt faster?” “It was an incredible moment for me,” says Costello. Thanks to implementing the Great Game in February 2018 with the help of their coach, Kevin Walter, the Cherry’s team has enjoyed healthier financials, increased efficiency, greater teamwork, and improved morale. As a result, the company is on track to retire part of its debt two years ahead of schedule.


“The Great Game of Business has taught me how to budget and manage my own personal money along with what it takes to run a successful business. I’ve also learned the importance of being open and communicating with one another to hit a common goal.” ~ John Hallquist, Account Manager/Sales

MiniGame™ Spotlight:

The Cherry’s team completed four MiniGames over the past year, where different departmental teams identified opportunities to change a process or increase activity which would lead to additional revenue. By focusing on driving things like additional referrals and elevated customer service has had an unexpected impact, it’s given the organization increased attention and credibility with their customers. “Our salespeople are excited to tell potential customers about our participation in the Great Game,” says Costello, “which sets us apart and shows that we are honest and attentive to detail.”


“The weekly huddles are very informative and help me to learn more about the company I am working for. I'm still fairly new and I've never seen anything like this. The company sharing detailed financial information with new hires. It's impressive.” ~ John J. Peiffer, Assistant to the Sales & Marketing Team


What’s Next?

For Costello, the big next step is for him to learn to get out of the way and let his people run the business using the Great Game system. “I’ve become less involved in the huddle as team members now are responsible for reporting line items and budgets,” he says. “I have handed off some of my day-to-day responsibilities to the team and managers. I’m beginning to see daylight and, in the months ahead, I can be working ON the business not IN the business.”


“Transparency and honesty, in my humble opinion, make or break a company.The Great Game of Business coupled with honest and down-to-earth leadership is the key to ushering a company and its culture into greatness.” ~ Jerry Matos, Marketing/Web Merchandiser


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