All-Star Case Studies

Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars

Argent Tape & Label

Company Background

Argent Tape & Label (ATL) is a manufacturer in Plymouth, Michigan, which produces pres-sure-sensitive labels used by industrial customers in the automotive, pharmaceutical and consumer industries.

Business Challenges

Lynn Perenic was a teacher, where she taught elementary education and then special ed-ucation at the high school level for a total of 20 years, before she ever contemplated be-coming an entrepreneur. But after her husband talked about closing ATL, which he had purchased back in 1995, because of its poor performance, Perenic stepped in to try and save the business. But with just three associates and virtually no customers, she had a difficult task ahead of her.

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Jenner Sales Corp.

Company Background

Jenner Sales Corp., now in its 53rd year of business, is the Case IH Agriculture Application Equipment Distributor for the states of Illinois and Indiana.

Business Challenges

Jenner Sales Corp. was a profitable company prior to its launch of the GGOB. However, the company’s profit sharing program had started to feel, to ownership, more like an employee expectation than an earned reward. It seemed employees really didn’t understand how the company arrived at the pool of money and what employees needed to contribute to earn their share of it. Therefore, ownership believed that if employees at the front line understood how the business made profits as well as the fact that more profit would be available for sharing if they helped grow the amount, they’d want to win together.

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Texas Air Composites

Company Background

Texas Air Composites, Inc. is an award-winning “overhaul” facility that repairs the sheet-metal, composite, and welded structures of airplanes for commercial and regional air carriers. Its clients include Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Comair, SkyWest, Air Wisconsin, America West, Frontier Air, Cathay Pacific, Mesa Airlines, and WestJet. The five-year-old company has 72 employees (largely in sales, operations, engineering, purchasing, information technology, quality, and administration) and generates annual sales of $10 million.

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NewStream Enterprises

Company Background

NewStream Enterprises, an SRC company that has been playing the Game since its birth in 1990, provides customized product-flow management services to manufacturing companies large and small. Its 60 employee-owners label, pack, store, control, and ship customers’ products all over the world. Today, NewStream (Springfield, MO) generates annual revenue of $37 million.

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Jim’s Formal Wear

Company Background

Launched in 1964 with a modest supply of black and white tuxedos, Jim’s Formal Wear (Trenton IL) has grown into one of the nation’s largest and most respected merchandisers of tuxedos, special-occasion finery, and accessories. Today, the company’s 500 employees, who operate 8 regional distribution centers and 16 retail stores, service nearly 4,000 dealers—mostly mom-and- pop bridal and tuxedo shops. Jim’s generates annual revenue of $35 million.

Business Challenges

Over the years, the company has reinvented itself to accommodate fickle consumer tastes and ever-changing demographics. By 1994, Jim’s managers were already linking team productivity to bottom-line results. But president Gary Davis had a hunch that Great Game initiatives could “take [our] shared- success concept to new heights.” The challenge became one of implementation: How do we adapt the Game to our already open, collaborative culture?

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Kindermusik International

Company Background

Kindermusik International (Greensboro, NC) is an award-winning provider of innovative music-education programs for young children (up to age 7) and their parents and caregivers. Its 5,200 licensed educators in 35 countries teach music and movement classes using Kindermusik’s own age-appropriate lesson plans, books, audio CDs, instruments, games, and other activities. The 25-year-old company is managed by its 55 enthusiastic employee-owners.

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Laron Incorporated

Company Background

Laron Incorporated provides industrial project-management, construction, and repair services to power plants, utilities, global mining companies and other heavy-industrial organizations. The business, which now operates out of four locations, was originally started in 1975 as a machine shop. But when Glenn Thoroughman bought it in 1985, he renamed it in honor of the two men he bought it from: Larry and Ron. Laron was named the Great Game’s Rookie of the Year in 2005, and earned an All-Star Champion Award in 2007.

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Comfort Supply

Company Background

Nashville-based Comfort Supply, an $8-million wholesale distributor for the HVAC industry, proudly serves the building contractors of central Tennessee and beyond. The company’s 18 highly skilled business people help contractors and dealers become more profitable and successful by providing them with tools, training, marketing solutions and other value-added services that save time, energy and money.

Business Challenges

“In 2005, we were facing a serious financial situation,” recalls president and owner Clay Blevins. “Our biggest customer had just gone bankrupt, leaving us with a $300,000 bad debt. Our credit line at the bank was inflating faster than we had ever expected. If we didn’t get the company under control we could have been out of business.”

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Enercon Services, Inc.

Company Background

Founded in 1983 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Enercon Services, Inc. (ENERCON) has grown to be one of the largest firms providing environmental and engineering services in the nation. A 100% employee-owned company, ENERCON earned more than $220 million in revenue for 2012. The company has four divisions – Environmental Services, Power Generation, New Plant Services, and Federal Services – and operates out of 25 offices nationwide, plus international offices in Belgium and Abu Dhabi. Clients include: federal, state and local governments, most major electric utilities, chemical and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, oil and natural gas companies, and many Fortune 500 companies.

Business Challenges

ENERCON is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013 – and almost 20 years since it officially opened its books as part of a Great Game of Business initiative in the early 90’s. As the business has contin-ued to thrive during that time, it has grown rapidly – especially in terms of its payroll, which expand-ed from about 193 people in 1992 to more than 1,200 full and part-time associates today. The chal-lenge, the firm realized, was that there were only a handful of people who remembered why the company had opened its books in the first place and why it was so important to reconnect with those roots. “We wanted to refresh the mindset of what it means to think and act like an owner of this company,” says ENERCON president John Richardson.

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Clarke EyeCare Center

Company Background

Dr. Calvin Clarke opened Clarke EyeCare Center in Wichita Falls, Texas, back in 1973. His son, Danny, and his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth – who met each other at optometry school – then joined the practice in 1995. In 2010, the younger Clarke's bought the business - which provides optometry services, prescription glasses and contact lens - though the senior Dr. Clarke continues to see patients. The Clarke's began playing The Great Game of Business a few months after the change in ownership.

Business Challenges

While the business was doing well operationally, Clarke knew that his profits were some-what low relative to the industry and, more importantly, cash flow was not where it needed to be. “Bills would come in and checks would go out, but it was always borderline with how much money we had in the bank,” he says. Dr. Clarke also knew that his peers in the op-tometry field who were financially successful tended to be micro-managers when it came to the business side of the operation. He wasn’t interested. Rather, he hoped that playing the GGOB with his associates would bring about even better results than anything he could do on his own.

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