All-Star Case Studies

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

Wall-tech

Company Background

Wall-tech has been providing exterior painting, interior painting, metal stud framing, drywall, taping, finishing, EIFS, stucco, plaster, sandblasting, firestopping and fireproofing services since 1984. After CEO Pete Braun led a buyout of his company from its other shareholders in 2013, he saw the opportunity to create a more employee-focused culture for his business. 

Pete Braun originally started working at Wall-tech 20 years ago as a project manager. More recently, as a reward for his hard work, he was given the opportunity to become one of the shareholders in the business along with the charge to help grow the business, which had revenues of about $4 million at the time. “People thought I was crazy,” says Braun.

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Kiolbassa Provision Company

Company Background

The Kiolbassa Provision Company is a 65-year-old family-owned manufacturer of handcrafted sausage based in San Antonio, Texas. Originally started as more of a pork and beef processor, the company shifted into making sausage fulltime under the guidance of president Michael Kiolbassa, whose grandfather started the company. The company’s sausages is now sold in all 50 states and in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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Greene County Missouri

Company Background

Greene County is a county located in Southwest Missouri with a population of more than 275,000, 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.

The administrators of Greene County, Missouri, had long admired the business practices of one of its homegrown companies, SRC Holdings. While running a public-sector organization is very different than running a for-profit business, county administrators believed they could benefit by implementing some of the GGOB’s best practices.

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Mid America Metals

Company Background

Mid America Metals got its start when Donat, who had earned his chops in business working at a large auto dealership in Chicago, teamed up with his two brothers, who were both metal refinishers, to start their own business. “We started out of the back seat of our car,” says Donat, about his business which performs services like removing a scratch from an elevator
door, honing and polishing a lobby floor, or restoring a building’s wooden accents. When Donat bought out his family members five years ago, he wanted to build a common core or culture for the company despite the geographic differences that separated his associates. He turned to the GGOB for help and 2014 was the first year where the entire company was engaged in financial literacy training, huddling, and forecasting.

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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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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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