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Management Lessons of a Failed Company

Christopher M. Tingley

This book is a look inside the day-to-day life of a retail manager as he witnessed from the front lines a company take the country by storm. Through a model of selling low priced clothing partnered with celebrity endorsements, the company’s rise was as big as their fall. After over a decade of teaching, the author, now a marketing and strategy professor, recalls his former life in retail. In a light-hearted and funny first-person narrative, the author takes you on a ride through his time with the now defunct clothing retailer Steve and Barry’s. He shares the lessons he learned from inside the store while watching mistakes made along the way. Through stories of being robbed at gunpoint, finding a dead body in the dumpster, and working to the point of exhaustion, the reader is given a firsthand account of the best and worst practices in store management. Designed to introduce students to business, management, entrepreneurship, and retail, it allows students to answer the question "Do I really want to be a manager?"

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10. My Flight to Corporate


Working in a store that sold a large amount of licensed apparel from a number of colleges often made me feel like a bit of a fraud. I admittedly know very little about college sports. I’ve never even seen a college basketball game, and I don’t bet on the tournament pools either. Before working there, I couldn’t have named more than a handful of collegiate team names. I didn’t know that certain shades of colors could represent rival sports teams. One time, a fellow manager told me she went to a large southern college. I ignorantly followed that up by “Oh? Where’s that?” I still don’t know where that school is located and I’m not sure she ever forgave me for it.

On April 16, 2007, at the campus shooting in Blacksburg, Virginia, 32 people were killed and 17 others were wounded in what was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in the United States history. I had only heard briefly about a campus incident on the radio on my commute to work, but didn’t know the extent of the situation. I blocked it out while I worked, but I heard the heartbreaking news later in the day. Like everyone else, I didn’t know what to do, or what to say.←69 | 70→

By early that afternoon, our store had flooded with customers coming in to buy shirts, hats, and hoodies to show their school support. Until that day, I had...

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