Green’s Students Offer Business Advice to Centerville Pie Owners – After Oprah Appearance!
The Centerville Pie Company co-owners Kristin Broadley and Laurie Bowen came to Len Green’s class, “The Ultimate Entrepreneurial Challenge,” this week armed with news of their progress and enough pies for everyone in the room to enjoy a piece.
The students heard an update on the company’s rapid growth since their appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show® and their ultimate association with Harry & David’s for the massive distribution they now enjoy. The class also heard from Larry Thayer, president of Cape Abilities, the organization that hires people with disabilities that enabled the pie company to grow so quickly.
Kristin and Laurie told of the infamous ‘piegate’ scandal, so named by Oprah’s friend Gayle King when the Cape Cod media doubted the authenticity of the rumor that Oprah and Gayle had tasted, loved, and endorsed the chicken pie that was delivered to them following Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s funeral. Oprah called the newspaper to confirm the story!
Oprah’s producer then called Len Green to ask how she could help the pie entrepreneurs. His suggestion was to introduce them to a recognized distributor. The entrepreneurial duo was invited to appear on the Oprah Show where they were surprised by Oprah with an invitation to join forces with Harry & David®!
Following a review of the pie company’s progress, Len led the class in a discussion of how – using the SWOT framework – they could help Kristin and Laurie maintain their current standards and grow to the next level.
Some suggestions from the class were:
· Market internationally
· Increase the size of the restaurant
· Sell pies in high-end grocery stores (Whole Foods, Roche Bros., etc.)
The pie ladies took home some food for thought toward further growth (and Babson baseball caps!); and the class was rewarded with a slice of the company’s celebrated product!