Gazelle Sports: Analysis of a Specialized Small Business And the Keys to Maintaining Success
Willis, Nathaniel J.
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Gazelle Sports, headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a relatively small type S corporation made up of three specialty athletic retail stores in the cities of Kalamazoo, Holland and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Firmly based upon a strict adherence to the company's mission statement, Gazelle Sports strives to pursue and actively encourage a healthy lifestyle by providing unsurpassed product knowledge in conjunction with exemplary customer care. Having been interested in someday owning and operating my own small business, I took it upon myself to study the intricacies of not only the administrative aspects of the company but also everything that goes into creating, motivating and rewarding a sales staff that is considered to be one of the finest in the region. In order to achieve these goals, I conducted an internship and my Senior Individualized Project as a sales representative at Gazelle Sports while working closely with several of the administrative staff members, namely Bruce Johnson, co-founder of Gazelle Sports, and Jeff Brown, Sight Trainer of the Kalamazoo area Gazelle Sports. Because of my first-hand experience as a trainee and employee, I was given the unique opportunity to observe everything that went into the training of the staff that, on a daily basis, helps to create and maintain the atmosphere of the company. In addition, my interaction with Bruce Johnson afforded me the chance to learn from a man who had helped to create this highly successful and reputable business from the ground up. Finally, being especially interested in the most effective manner in which to train and motivate an exemplary team of employees, I worked with the Training Specialist in charge of the Kalamazoo store location, Jeff Brown. Through my interaction with these two individuals, and by my own personal experiences, I was able to construct a fairly complete portrait of what goes into the start-up and maintenance of a renowned small business. Drawing from these experiences, I have come to view the institution of the small corporation not just as numbers on a page, but as a dynamic, ever-evolving entity, and it is something that I find truly fascinating. Someday, I hope to put the skills that I have acquired throughout this journey to good use.