Jenkins Supply Company

Babson Professors Les Charm and Len Green, Case Directors

Richard Luecke, Case Writer

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 2008.

Abstract

Anne Jenkins left California and her job as a financial analyst in 2001 to return to Connecticut and take the helm of her family’s troubled business, Jenkins Supply Company. She knew that the business – a regional distributor of janitorial, safety, and packing materials – was having problems, both from a financial point of view and equally as important from a family business point of view. Her first few weeks on the job revealed a desperate business situation: huge past-due accounts, excessive inventory, an out-of-control salesperson, and an inability to pay its own bills. Drastic reforms were needed if the company hoped to survive. Perhaps as important, the company’s family problems had to be addressed in ways that would satisfy the interests of the several family members still active in the business. Teaching Objective: This Case Study was written with the advice of Professors Les Charm and Len Green of Babson College. Les and Len have over 50 years of entrepreneurial experience in running successful businesses, consulting with Family Business, and teaching. This unique case was written in a manner to familiarize students with succession and business issues, many of which are encountered in most family businesses. The case demonstrates how family members struggle to find roles that are compatible with their personal capabilities and the needs of the family business. It also covers the business problems involved in inter-generational businesses. The case also provides a real opportunity for the Leader and students to also discuss their own businesses in the context of answering the questions which are an integral part of the case study.

Key Words: Succession planning, gifting of shares, hiring a non-family member in a family business, Advisory Board in a family business, managing positive cash flow and achieving sales growth

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Teaching Notes

A four page teaching note written by the authors is available for this case.