Babson Professor Bill Bygrave, Case Director and Case Writer

Carol Gurante, Dan D'Heilly, and Andrea Alyse, Case Writers

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 1996.


ClearVue Products is a wonderful David versus Goliath story in the consumer products industry. It deals with a tiny company in the run-down New England textile city Lawrence, Massachusetts competing successfully with giant companies such as Proctor and Gamble. ClearVue's principal product is a glass cleaner that Lawrence Plate Glass had been manufacturing primarily for its own internal use for 40 years. When Brooks O'Kane, the son-in-law of the president of Lawrence Plate Glass joined the firm in 1989, annual revenue for external sales of ClearVue was $62,000; in 1995 it was $4 million.

The decision point in the case is when Red Cross Nurse (RCN) disinfectant, which has been around for more than 125 years, has been offered to Brooks. Annual revenue is about $200,000 and declining. The owner of RCN wants to retire and has offered to sell the product and trademark to Brooks. To decide whether or not to buy RCN, students have to understand the strategies and tactics that Brooks employed to make ClearVue so successful.

This case gives students an opportunity to examine a virtual corporation focused on what it does best, marketing and selling; it subcontracts everything else. It can be positioned late in a New Ventures Course, in a Growing Business Course, or in a Marketing course.

This case is best used in courses that focus on opportunity, creativity, gaining access to large chain retail stores, guerrilla marketing, promotion, packaging, newsletters, virtual corporations, foodbrokers, supermarkets, discount department stores, automobile parts stores, family business, and methods of growing a business.

Location of the company: Lawrence, Massachusetts

Years spanned by the case: 1989 through 1995

Industry segment(s): Cleaning product for domestic glass and auto glass, disinfectant

Stage of the company: Growth

Age of the entrepreneur(s): 30s


A 62-minute DVD is available for this case. Please place orders through ecch.

Teaching Notes

A seven page case teaching package, written by Bill Bygrave, is available for this case. The teaching package includes strategies for case presentation, key concepts, solutions to the assignment questions in the case, and suggestions for the most effective ways to work this case into your course.