Case study questions:
1. Who are the main players?
Joel St. Marseille, founder and owner of the business
Connie, Joel’ s mother and only full-time manager
2. In what business and industry is the company operating?
Skadurz Pro is a small, family owned, retail store that sells brand name skateboard and snowboard equipment as well street wear and footwear.
3. What are the issues and problems facing the company?
The company is facing several issues: (1) West 49, a national chain of sporting goods stores, is opening up a location across the street from Skadurz’s New Sudbury store. This would be in direct competition to Skadurz since they specialize in the same thing. (2) The building that is housing the South End store is up for sale. Joel has the option of buying the building, but that would involve spending $70K on upgrades, in addition to the increase in operating expenses due to the depreciation on the building, maintenance and repair costs. (3) St. Marseille’s mother is planning to retire. This is a big issue due to the fact that she is the only other employee, beside Joel, to work full time and manages the second location on her own (4) Not having steady employees, Joel is lacking a ‘talent-pool’ from which to drawn in order to find a suitable manager for the location that Connie will no longer manage.
4.What is the primary problem for the company/organization in this case?
The primary problem facing Skadurz Pro is the opening up of West 49 in the New Sudbury Centre. This would be a direct competitor for St. Marseille, since West 49 also specializes in skateboarding and snowboarding equipment and clothing. They have the advantage of being a national retailer with the financial backing and buying power that can offer its customers discounts on certain product, which is something that Skadurz cannot do.
5. Why have the problem (s) emerged? Identify the causal chain:
The major problem has emerged with the opening of the retail chain West 49 in New Sudbury Centre. This is creating the possibility that Skadurz Pro could lose some of it’s customers base to the competition. As a larger retailer, they can offer lower prices and discounts that a smaller retailer like Skadurz cannot afford to do.
The desire of Connie to retire as a full time manager, is leaving the company with one full time employee only, Joel. Not having any other trusted staff on-board is leaving St. Marseille with the difficult decision to either hire a manager to run the store efficiently or face the possibility of closing it. This would mean a loss of customers that have been hard earned through the years.
6. What are the characteristics of the industry that the company is in and how is the industry changing over time?
The Skateboard and Snowboarding industry mainly caters to a younger crowd. Joel decided to open a retail store partly because he saw a need to offer quality products that were not previously available in his area. As a skateboarder and snowboarder himself, he knew what appealed to others and what trends were popular. As the sports grew, so did companies who offered the same products. West 49 had grown from three stores in Southern Ontario to over 50 across Canada. The interest in the sports also opened the way for companies to offer similar products on the internet at much cheaper prices.
7. What is the firm’ strategy for differentiation, enabling them to compete within the context of their industry.
Joel has established his company as a trusted and respected retailer in his industry partly because he offered high end equipment and because he offered his customers the opportunity to customize their skateboards to their own skills by choosing their own hardware. He also sold unique skateboarding and snowboarding VHS and DVD movies often not available north of Toronto. His customers were typically teenagers who knew what they wanted. They wanted to buy unique items not carried elsewhere.