All-Star Case Studies

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

2020 Case Study - 417 Magazine

417 magazine

Organization Background

Founded in 1998, 417 Magazine is a second-generation, family-owned regional magazine that focuses on telling its 325,362 monthly audience members the stories they need to know from all around southwest Missouri. The company has also evolved to produce custom publications for corporations, communities, and charities.

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Induction Heat Treating Corp.

Company Background

Induction Heat Treating Corp. hardens steel products through the induction heating process for customers in the automotive, construction, agricultural, and military sectors. The company was searching for a solution to help improve profits. Dave Haimbaugh’s father started the business back in 1946. Three of his other sons and Dave, who is now 60, have played a role in its operations ever since. Dave Haimbaugh now owns the company outright after his brothers, both older, retired about a decade ago. The family legacy promises to continue as Haimbaugh says he has two of his nephews now working in the business.

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Stalcop, LLC

Company Background

Stalcop is a manufacturer of cold-formed metal with a special expertise and focus in copper components. They were looking for a way to re-engage their employees by creating transparency, opening new lines of communication and repairing damaged customer relationships.

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Willoway Nurseries Case Study

Company Background

Willoway Nurseries is a wholesale grower of trees, shrubs, perennials and seasonal color crops that ships to retailers and contractors in 26 states. The company was searching for a way to operate leaner and to get its workforce, employees in the field and in the back-office, on the same page.

Founded by Les and Marilyn Demaline in 1954, the second generation oversees current operations. The third generation has also taken an interest in the business - granddaughter, Emily Showalter, oversees the HR department and grandson, Eric Demaline, is a foreman in operations. During the past 61 years, the company has transitioned from landscaping to a wholesale nursery, growing more than 2,000 varieties of plant material on 1,000 acres. Willoway is currently the largest wholesale grower of nursery products in Ohio, with a customer base of more than 1,200 independent garden centers and landscape contractors in the Midwest and East Coast.

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Mid America Metals

Company Background

Mid America Metals is a 29-year-old firm based in Forsyth, Missouri, that provides metal, stone, wood, and glass refinishing and restoration services to primarily Class A office buildings across the U.S.

Great Game Solutions

Mid America had always been a company with strong family values because so many of the Donat family worked there. It all started 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 metalworkers, to start their own business.

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Pizza Gallery & Grill

Company Background

It was back in 1989 that Chris Conneen, then 21 years old, started his business, Pizza Gallery & Grill (PGG) in Melbourne Beach, Fl., after he had what he calls, “an entrepreneurial seizure.” But it wasn't for another 20 years until Conneen, whose 260-seat restaurant combines gourmet food with eye-pleasing art, learned about the GGOB from fellow culinary entrepreneur Nick Sarillo, owner of Nick’s Pizza & Pub in Illinois. “Learning about and studying the GGOB in 2009, the worst economic year in our lifetime, helped us get focused on the fundamentals of business – particularly how to generate cash,” says Conneen.

Business Challenges

As he and his team began to play the Game, Conneen, like many business owners struggling through the recession, faced the challenge of paying off his long-term debts despite seeing fewer customers walk through his establishment’s doors. Other challenges facing the business included sky-high overhead fueled by a $19,000 monthly rent payment and the notion of teaching financial liter-acy to a staff of 70 who have an average age of 21. “We have always been great about giving our customers great products, service and atmosphere,” says Conneen. “We just haven’t made a lot of money doing it.”

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