All-Star Case Studies

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

Sun Design

Company Background

Started nearly two decades ago in Burke, Virginia, Sun Design – which focuses exclusively on the residential home renovation market – operates under the principles of truth, charity and fun. The company began playing the Great Game of Business in 2008 under the guidance of its owners – Craig Durosko and Bob Gallagher– and the company’s Game Master, Sandy Harris. “We stumbled a bit in the beginning implementing things like MiniGames,™” she says. “But we have continued to get better at playing the Game and it has made a huge difference in our results.”

Business Challenges

Few industries felt the sting of the recession more than the residential construction business did over the past few years - a pain that Sun Design shared in. “Coming off of two very successful years in 2006 and 2007, we began 2008 with high hopes and great expectations,” says Harris. “Then, as the market began to slide and our leads began to slow, we saw a significant decrease in revenues with an overall drop of 6.9% for 2008 from the previous year.” To compensate for this drop, the company suffered through its first ever layoff.

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Destination Harley Davidson

Company Background

When Ed Wallace bought a struggling 13-employee Harley shop in 1994, he had high hopes and big plans. He had no clue, however, how successful his dealership would ultimately become. In nine short years, Destination Harley- Davidson grew ten-fold, expanding to 100,000 square feet, 180 employees and annual sales of $40 million. Along the way, it’s been lauded by regional and national business publications for its innovative merchandising, training and marketing practices. Among its Harley peers, Destination has ranked first in new buyer/customer satisfaction for the past five years in a row.

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Whole Foods Market

Company Background

Whole Foods Market, founded in 1980, is the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, with 185 supermarkets and several distribution centers in North American and the United Kingdom. Grown largely through mergers and acquisitions, the Austin-based company (Nasdaq: WFMI) has 39,000 team members and posts annual sales of $4 billion. In 2006, Whole Foods ranked #15 on Fortune magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For”. It was the company’s ninth appearance on that annual list, and its highest ranking yet.

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Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Company Background

It was back in 1982 that Ari Weinzweig and his partner, Paul Saginaw, opened Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The business has grown by leaps and bounds – particularly since 1992, when the partners began to expand their enterprise by creating the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB), a collection of what is now 11 ventures that include: the deli, a bakery, a mail-order house, a caterer, a training business, a coffee company, a creamery, a restaurant, a candy maker, an event space, and most recently, a Korean restaurant. ZCob also includes a separate business called Zingerman’s Service Network that provides administrative services to its sister companies. Zingerman’s was inducted into the Great Game of Business Hall of Fame in 2007.

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New Belgium Brewing Company

Company Background

In 1991, Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan launched New Belgium Brewing in the basement of their home. Today, thanks to many delightful brews and some excellent management practices, the $60-million company is the eleventh- largest brewery (and the third-largest craft brewery) in the nation. Based in Colorado, New Belgium is managed by 225 enthusiastic employee owners who brew, taste, package, market and sell about a dozen specialty beers to restaurants, taverns and other outlets throughout the western U.S.

Business Challenges

In recent years, the beer market has been relatively flat. The craft market, however, grew 9% in 2005. Other challenges include lousy weather, smoking bans and stiffer drunk driving laws. (Not that the latter is a bad thing; NBB advocates responsible drinking.) Still, the brewery has enjoyed enviable growth, posting double - and even triple-digit annual growth rates.

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1-800-GOT-JUNK?

Company Background

In 1989, university student Brian Scudamore bought a used pickup truck and started a junk-removal service. Today that service, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, is the world’s largest junk-removal franchiser, with more than 200 locations covering 48 of the top 50 metro areas in North America. The organization has scooped many national and international business awards for its fast growth, corporate culture and management practices. Recently, it twice topped Watson Wyatt’s list of the “Best Companies to Work for” in British Columbia. Vancouver-based 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has more than 1,050 junk haulers who drive 455 trucks and post annual system-wide revenue of $70 million.

Business Challenges

The primary challenge is managing hyper-growth. Hiring dozens of people while trying to maintain system efficiencies hasn’t been easy. And with the Olympics coming to Vancouver in 2010, the task of finding commercial space has been tough. Despite the hurdles, however, the company has consistently reached its targets for revenue and employee and franchisee satisfaction.

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Stellar Call Centre Solutions

Company Background

Stellar Asia Pacific and its global network of affiliates deliver contact-management and business-process solutions to some of the world’s most-admired companies. With more than 6,000 employees in 19 offices, Stellar handles 300+ million contacts and 100 million transactions every year. Its services include sales generation, customer care, tech support, surveying and the processing of payables, receivables and applications. Based in Australia, the company was founded on open-book principles in 1998.

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Springfield Spring

Company Background

Founded in 1942, Springfield Spring Corp., an award-winning minority-owned business, makes precision-engineered springs, stampings and assemblies for clients in many industries, including aerospace, automotive, electronics and medical devices. With 42 associates in two plants (total manufacturing space: 23,000 square feet) the $7-million, New England-based company has been playing its own Great Game since 2003.

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Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen

Company Background

The Macayo’s family-owned restaurant tradition began in 1946, when Woody and Victoria Johnson opened their first café in Phoenix. Today, Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen is an award-winning chain of 14 restaurants that ring up annual sales of $35 million. Its 1,200 employees have been playing The Great Game of Business since June 2008.

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Greene County, MO

Company Background

Greene County is located in Southwest Missouri with a population of some 275,174, making it the fourth most populous county in Missouri. Its county seat is Springfield – home of SRC and The Great Game of Business. Due to the success of companies like SRC, Bass Pro Shops and O’Reilly Auto Parts, Greene County ranks in the top five counties nationwide based on economic strength and viability.

Business Challenges

“Our business is the public's health, safety and welfare,” says Tim Smith, the County Administrator for Greene County. “But unlike a company like SRC, each of our departments has a different mission. We have struggled to find a way to bind ourselves together as we provide a whole spectrum of almost unrelated activities.” While Greene County might be home to a Who’s Who list of companies who have successfully weathered the Great Recession of 2008, the county itself, like many others across the U.S., has continued to struggle in managing its resources across its various departments. Specifi-cally, the cash balance in the county’s general fund is currently on life support. With tax increases politically unfeasible, the county has looked to the GGOB for other potential solutions.

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