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Blueribbon Chocolates

In: Business and Management

Submitted By vibhorforsure
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hoCase study
Bleu riBBon CHoColates: How Can small Businesses aDaPt to a CHanGinG environment?
Dawn r. Deeter-schmelz, rosemary P. ramsey, and Jule B. Gassenheimer Bleu Ribbon Chocolates is a small regional manufacturer of high-quality chocolate that sells its products via trade accounts, corporate-owned stores, and online/mail. Historically, the company has not engaged in strategic planning, as demand was greater than manufacturing capabilities. The trend toward healthier foods and the poor economy, however, has hurt sales. The owners must determine their new strategic direction. Should they change the product line, in-source manufacturing, reduce the number of companyowned stores, increase sales to retail outlets, lay off workers, or hope the health craze ends soon and the economy turns around?

Bleu Ribbon Chocolates, a small manufacturer well-known in the Midwest for producing and retailing high-quality chocolates, was at a crossroads. Historically, Bleu Ribbon Chocolates has not engaged in strategic planning. Management saw no need; everything had been going fine. In the past, demand always had been greater than what the company could produce, and geographic expansion was not a goal. Unfortunately, by 2010, the external environment had changed significantly, and the current owners of Bleu Ribbon Chocolates found they needed to determine a new strategic direction. Today, more consumers prefer healthy food products. In fact, organic products comprise 8 percent of the confectionary market (Vreeland 2009). The U.S. economy had stalled. With demand for Bleu Ribbon Chocolates trending down, the company must react appropriately. Key members of the company have reviewed several possible alternatives. Should the product line be changed? Should the company in-source manufacturing for other producers? Should Bleu Ribbon Chocolates reduce the

number of company-owned...

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