Carlisle Central Farmers Market: A Social Enterprise Start-Up Facing Failure
International Business and Management
SAGE Business Cases Originals
This publication consists of two parts: The Case and Teaching Notes. Abstracts for both follow.
Shortly before the Carlisle Central Farmers Market (CCFM) Board of Directors convened on Thursday evening, February 12, 2009, Eric Kleindinst, a founding member and one of the six remaining (CCFM) directors, met a close friend and business partner for dinner at a local tavern. As they sat around the table of the dimly lit establishment, their conversation soon turned to the rise and fall of the farmers’ market. Eric pondered the board choices and actions during a three-year period that led to the troubled status of the community farmers’ market. A final decision on the future of the CCFM was planned for the board meeting that evening. Could the current failing state of the market enterprise be traced to an overreach by market promoters? Is it possible to balance economic, social, and environmental goals within an enterprise? What actions and decisions are necessary for a community organization representing all three sectors to collaborate for overall community good? Chastened but not defeated, Eric knew there were valuable lessons to be learned from this experience regardless of the final decision on the CCFM operations. This decision-based case documents the history of a failing tri-sector social enterprise. The complex processes associated with enterprise development detailed in the case provide students with insights into the challenges of securing the commitment of multi-sector stakeholders; organizing stakeholders; and, finally, implementing a venture grounded in a multifaceted vision and mission aimed at increasing and sustaining overall community benefit.
Teaching Notes Abstract:
The decision-based case study documents decisions and actions associated with an attempted farmers’ market start-up. The case begins with the recognition of the opportunity and formulation of the business concept and continues through the period immediately preceding the Board of Directors decision on the final disposition of the failing market enterprise. With great optimism, advocates for the market envisioned an enterprise capable of meeting economic, social, and environmental goals. The complex nature of the enterprise vision and related mission and the challenges associated with realizing these are revealed throughout the case. Ultimately, the initiative failed for multiple reasons. A leading cause, however, was the challenge of securing the commitment of multi-sector stakeholders around a common vision and mission that struggled to articulate overall community benefit as well as net benefit to each participant.
Kimmel, Chad M., and David Sarcone. "Carlisle Central Farmers Market: A Social Enterprise Start-Up Facing Failure." SAGE Business Cases Originals (Article published online January 2, 2019). http://sk.sagepub.com/cases/carlisle-central-farmers-market-social-enterprise-start-up-failure