You have no items in your shopping cart.

Johnson Lumber: Bet on the Upside or Avoid the Downside?
Fairchild, Gregory B.; Rourke, Brad Case ENT-0196 / Published March 4, 2013 / 5 pages.
Format Price Quantity Select
PDF Download
$6.95
EPUB Download
$6.95
Printed Black & White Copy
$7.25

Product Overview

James Baker is general manager of a large lumber mill in rural Virginia, Johnson Lumber. While on a business trip with the owner (the founder's grandson) and the owner's son, he receives the news that the company's planing mill has caught fire and is burning down. Baker, the owner, and the owner's son must decide what to do in the wake of losing the planing mill. Choices include rebuilding, seeking partnerships with other mills to use their facilities to fulfill existing business, or possibly closing shop and simply taking current profits. If they rebuild, Johnson Lumber will have to shut down for a year, risking the loss of customers and putting several people from the struggling community around the mill out of a job. If Johnson Lumber closes entirely, it will put its workers in an even worse position. But would it be feasible to use other mills' facilities? What if the other mills turned them down? On top of everything, the owner and his son have differences in their attitudes about and goals for the business. Baker must consider the options carefully and balance the pressure to please both the current and future owners of Johnson Lumber with what would be best for the business and the local community whose families it helped support.


Learning Objectives

This case is most useful in contexts where students are exploring entrepreneurship and its challenges. It could be particularly useful in discussions about family businesses, businesses that support small communities, and crisis response.

  • Videos List

  • Overview

    James Baker is general manager of a large lumber mill in rural Virginia, Johnson Lumber. While on a business trip with the owner (the founder's grandson) and the owner's son, he receives the news that the company's planing mill has caught fire and is burning down. Baker, the owner, and the owner's son must decide what to do in the wake of losing the planing mill. Choices include rebuilding, seeking partnerships with other mills to use their facilities to fulfill existing business, or possibly closing shop and simply taking current profits. If they rebuild, Johnson Lumber will have to shut down for a year, risking the loss of customers and putting several people from the struggling community around the mill out of a job. If Johnson Lumber closes entirely, it will put its workers in an even worse position. But would it be feasible to use other mills' facilities? What if the other mills turned them down? On top of everything, the owner and his son have differences in their attitudes about and goals for the business. Baker must consider the options carefully and balance the pressure to please both the current and future owners of Johnson Lumber with what would be best for the business and the local community whose families it helped support.

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    This case is most useful in contexts where students are exploring entrepreneurship and its challenges. It could be particularly useful in discussions about family businesses, businesses that support small communities, and crisis response.