Late in February 1993, Colin Power, majority owner of Athlete's Warehouse and a number of other companies in Grand FallsWindsor, and a human resource consultant from the Small Business Centre were seated in Colin's office in the back of Athlete's Warehouse. Cohn was speaking to his brother Ed on the phone. "'Sorry I can't run with you today, I'm all tied up. How about tomorrow morning at 7:00?" Hanging up the phone Colin exclaimed to the Small Business Centre consultant "for the last year I haven't had time to turn around. Every day it is just a rush from one store to another, phone calls all day long and never enough time to do the things that need to be done. I need someone else to help run things, but I don't know whether to promote someone from within the businesses or to hire from outside. Not only that, I'm not sure what the job should be."
Cohn Power started in business full-time when he opened Athlete's Warehouse, a sporting goods store, in the Exploit's Valley Mall in 1985. For the first two years that the business was in operation, Cohn supplemented his personal income by
This case was prepared by Bill Howse of The Central Newfoundland Regional College for the Atlantic Entrepreneurial Institute as a basis for classroom discussion, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management
Copyright 0 1993, the Atlantic Entrepreneurial Institute. Reproduction of this case is allowed without permission for educational purposes, but all such reproductions must acknowledge the copyright. This permission dam not include publication.
teaching computer courses at a local private school. With the initial success of Athlete's Warehouse, and with the support of his wife who was employed full-time as a teacher, Cohn had the financial resources to take on additional challenges. Starting in 1987 he began to extend his business undertakings in many directions and opened a printing store (Print Plus), a computer store (EduComp), and acquired a Tun Horton's franchise.
To help him in his analysis of the situation Colin prepared a review of the factors influencing the expansion of his business interests and he drew up a list of the job duties for three of his businesses (Athlete's Warehouse, Print Plus and EduComp) included as Exhibit 1. He did not include job duties for the Tun Horton's store because these were part of the franchise package and there was no overlap of duties with the employees of the other businesses.
Athlete's Warehouse opened in 1985 in a 900 square foot location at the Exploit's Valley Mall with Colin and his brotherin-law, Mike Wade, as the only full-time staff. The store carried sporting good products centered around Colin's interest in running and included shoes and sporting outfits. First year sales exceeded the forecast level of $135,000 and amounted to approximately $180,000. Colin attributed this success to the changing fashions and the acceptability of using sporting clothes as daffy wear. Basketball shoes now became street shoes, and jerseys with team names on them became the fashion for school wear.
With the growth of sales, Athlete's Warehouse required additional space. In 1988, the business moved to another location in the Mall. The only spot with adequate square footage consisted of two floors. Although not ideal, because there was now a need to always have two employees working, Cohn relocated. Business continued to grow and in addition to hiring a second full-time person, Darlene Little, Cohn hired two part-time employees.
The business expanded to include many different product lines and services. Included in these were skate sharpening, ski binding installation, and racquet stringing. In addition, Athlete's Warehouse offered printing services which initially consisted of putting transfers on T-shirts and printing team logos or numbers on clothing purchased from Athlete's Warehouse. Training in...