Establishing the Future of arc Thrift Stores
(7 pages of text)
In early 2019, arc Thrift Stores was supporting 14 Colorado chapters of the Arc, an organization that advocated for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in schools, helped individuals with I/DD live more independently, and supported legislation regarding their rights all across the state. The chief executive officer and marketing director of arc Thrift Stores were reviewing a survey they hoped would help them understand arc Thrift Stores’ customers and broaden the interest in arc Thrift Stores among younger generations. By all measures, arc Thrift Stores was very profitable, but its core audience was aging, and the team wanted to ensure that it continued the successes of its past 50 years into the next 50 years. The company wanted people to understand the value of shopping their stores and the quality of items they could expect to find there. How could the company make inroads with a younger demographic? Should it focus more on sustainability? Should it consider moving into the e-commerce space?
This case can be used in both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on social and sustainable entrepreneurship. The case can ideally be used after students have been exposed to the concepts of business models and social and sustainable venturing. It helps students understand the business model of a thrift store with a social mission, especially as this relates to identifying the customer and the customer’s values, and it helps the students understand their own potential role in this business model. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Explain how social and sustainable ventures are organized.
- Describe an older business model used in social and sustainable ventures.
- Outline the role of the customer in social and sustainable business models.
- Evaluate one of the ways that a large and successful organization can continue to be entrepreneurial.
- Describe the challenges for existing social and sustainable ventures of managing the present while preparing for success in the future.
Social Advocacy Organizations
United States, Medium, 2019
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