Massive layoffs, huge turnover, SVP quit, Director of Sales quit, warehouse staff shortages, driver shortages and now fall fairs are cancelling due to COVID-19. This was supposed to be the golden goose egg 3 years ago, but instead Book Fairs has crippled Follett on the brink of no financial recovery. Where's the money coming from to support the department?
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I am Gary Odom and I am the CEO and President of Bedford Falls Book Fairs. Bedford Falls has warehouses in North Carolina and Georgia and services a good portion of the southeastern USA. We have grown considerably over the last 5 years and see that growth accelerating for a number of years. We are set up as a legacy company, meaning we are focused on purpose more than profit. After Follett Book Fairs closes on November 15, we hope to host job fairs for sales and operational staff. From what we have heard from prospective customers Follett has a quality book fair team and we hope to employ as many as possible.
To the small book fair competitor who commented on this thread - what plans are you considering? Will you expand to pick up the schools that are being left without a vendor? Are you able to get sufficient supply? Will you try to hire folks let go from Follett and Scholastic?
It was really a question on profitability. Book fairs had it disasterous fall of 2019 with over 1300 fares getting canceled due to poor management. They were banking on recouping their losses in 2020, and along came covid. The department took such a hard hit financially there was no way they were ever going to rebound from it. Good call Britten.
It's official, book fairs is now dead.
Observation from a small book fair competitor. Life is about taking risk. Taking on Scholastic was a good decision. You just had the wrong jockey. Now with Scholastic crumbling (you are not the only one with problems). All of my decision are uncertain.
The turnover rate in the department over the past year speaks for itself.
labor end of the innovation model based on your whining.
Useless whining peons!
Stay in your lane!
Big Boy deep thinkers here!
LOOK AT YOUR RESULTS!
There may be a difference between inventing the wheel and then inventing a wheel wrapped in rubber but both are innovations. Follett improved on the book fair model that Scholastic deployed quite a lot. Naysay all you want but I suspect you’re on the labor end of the innovation model based on your whining.
Follett just got into Book Fairs a few years ago from the ground up. Maybe you're misinterpreting the concept of a startup.
And all those folks took 3 to 5 years because they were start ups
They had to invent the wheel!
This site is packed with rookies. So Uber was first so Lyft wasn’t a start up? Lyft just copied, they should be ashamed? What lousy business people. How about Walmart and Kmart. Facebook and mySpace, Apple Music, Napster, Pandora. iPhone and BlackBerry. Xerox and Microsoft. Sheez, Microsoft literally stole the code for their software directly out of the Palo Alto Research Center. Now they’re regularly in the top 5 companies in the world. I bet they sleep badly because they “copied” someone. Bitter id--ts.
Book fairs was actually a solid idea originally.
Book fair is considered a "start-up."
Coffee shop was actually a solid idea originally.
Coffee shop is considered a "start-up."
So Scholastic was nationally the highest profile Book Fair purveyor and Follett copied it?
As a start up?
The BEST and the BRIGHTEST at work! We value INNOVATION!!!
Lots of small companies were conducting book fairs long before Scholastic undercut and put them out of business. Starbucks invented the coffee shop, right?
Scholastic Book Fairs? I remember those from when my son was in grade school.
So did Follett just rip this off? Wow!!!
Either great news (expansion plans) arrow up or bad news (trim unprofitable ventures) arrow down
What key talent left the company? LS, BW and LH are all still there. And hiring is still going on as far as I know.
They estimated 3-5 years just to break even. Except this startup has been one big failure with hiccup after hiccup. Everybody thought that book fairs was going to be the savior to Follets financial woes. Now they're banking on e-fairs being the savior to book fairs. Sounds like a band-aid on top of a band-aid if you ask me.
Book fairs was actually a solid idea originally.
How so? What was the project time horizon to break even?
What was the projected ROI.
Didn't anybody in this company go to business school?
Tired of all the BS. Riffing older (higher paid) employees - business decision while some employees (family friends, favorites) remain and are found new jobs, promotions.
What a cluster flop!
Book fairs was actually a solid idea originally. Then the family mo--ns and board decided to accelerate the plan and moved too fast, while losing the key talent. To top it off, because the Follett’s were due some bad karma and still are, COVID hit and really hurt them. They got what they deserved. Now, Ugly, Man-Barbie doesn’t know how to run things and it’s all going to he-l.
Massive layoffs, huge turnover, SVP quit, Director of Sales quit, warehouse staff shortages, driver shortages and now fall fairs are cancelling due to COVID-19. This was supposed to be the golden goose egg 3 years ago,
So do the MBA's from K-Mart, Sears, Sports Authority concede it is not the golden goose egg after 3 years?
Book fair is considered a "start-up." I think it was in the plan that there wasn't going to be any profits for the first few years, as with most startups.
There is no ROI?
So how did this make the Family Stock Worth More?
Who's idea was this and were THEY riffed?
There is no ROI. Instead of starting out slow, one market at a time, they went full gangbusters. In Fall 2019 they booked more fairs that they could handle and had to cancel hundreds of fairs. Quadrupled the sales and support staff (most being laid off due to COVID with no call-back), acquiring 6 warehouses nationwide dedicated to Bookfairs, plus the trucks that are under a lease agreement. Each warehouse required a manager, supervisor and a team to loan and unload the trucks. Each warehouse has (had) 2-3 truck delivery drivers. They are averaging one resignation per week. Those left are stretched so thin that the stress is overwhelming. With the Covid-varient, school's are starting to cancel fall fairs. I'm surprised it lasted this long.
Any handle on the ROI for the Book Fairs?
Another failed Brilliant Idea from the K-Mart/Sear/Sports Authority Brain Trust?
e-Fairs can be supported from
the core FSS DCs in McH and Woodridge without all the operational overhead that comes with the distinct BF network
Things that make you go hmmm.......