Sylvia's Hallmark Shop
Sylvia Wright, owner of a local Hallmark card shop, had just read a newspaper article announcing the closing of another location in a neighboring county. As the Christmas shopping season approached, Sylvia wondered if she, too, would join a growing list of Hallmark stores that had ceased operation in 2015. News of the closings had evoked a range of emotions from Sylvia. She was not surprised, but was disappointed and saddened that the trend seemed to continue at an unabated pace. Shop owners cited many reasons for their declining sales: the downturn in the economy, increased competition from other retail formats, changes in consumer buying habits and preferences, unappealing lease agreements, and lack of support from Hallmark Corporate. Her shop had operated at its current location for almost 20 years and the lease was up for renewal next spring. She enjoyed her work and loved her customers. Sylvia knew that she needed to make a decision about her shop in the next six months. She realized it was time to revisit her old business plan, and wondered if her first step in the process would be to complete a fresh SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.