Nancy's Coffee

Babson Professors Ed Marram and Les Charm, Case Directors

Carl Hedberg, Case Writer

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 2005.


In her ‘previous life’, Beth Wood was a corporate marketing executive. When her mother dies in 1999 she returns home with the intent of selling off her mom’s boutique specialty coffee business. Beth is soon drawn to the possibilities of this modest kiosk business centered in shopping malls. Beth decides to grow the business, and within a few years she is running a chain of over thirty stores. Apparently too small to interest the likes of Starbucks, and definitely too large to be a simple lifestyle business, the company is at a major crossroads. Beth has become the driving force behind the company. She is excited about the business, but she is also bone-tired and in need of a strategy that best leverages her skills and positions her company in an increasingly competitive space.

Location: New England

Date: 2003-2004

Industry: Retail Coffee Shops/Web Business

Age of entrepreneur: Early 40s

Topics: Re-invigorating an existing business, retailing, funding, vertical integration, running a family business, growth strategies, competition, management, exit and harvest issues.

Key Words: competitive strategy, customer segmentation, growth strategies, family issues, team building, infrastructure, raising money, strategic thinking, system/controls


There is a 50 minute DVD available for this case. Please place orders through ecch.

Teaching Notes

A 8 page case teaching package, written by Ed Marram, is available for this case. The teaching package includes strategies for case presentation, key concepts, diagrams of typical barter transactions, and suggestions for the most effective ways to work this case into a course.