Jim Watanabe looked around his new office. He couldn‟t believe that he was the assistant director of information technology at Petrie Electronics, his favourite consumer electronics retail store. He always bought his new DVDs and video games for Xbox 360 at Petrie. In fact, he bought his Blu-ray player and his Xbox 360 at Petrie, along with his surround sound system and his 40-inch flat-screen HD LED TV. And now he worked there, too. The employee discount was a nice perk of his new job, but he was also glad that his technical and people skills were finally recognized by the people at Petrie. He worked for five years at Broadway Entertainment Company as a senior systems analyst, and it was clear that he was not going to be promoted there. He was really glad he posted his resume on Monster.com and that now he had a bigger salary and a great job with more responsibility at Petrie.
Petrie Electronics started as a single electronics store in 1984 in San Diego, California. The store was started by Jacob Rosenstein in a strip mall. It was named after Rob Petrie, the TV writer played by Dick Van Dyke in the TV show of the same name. Rosenstein always liked that show. When he had grown the store to a chain of 13 locations in the Southern California area, the business became too much for Rosenstein to handle. He sold out in 1992, for a handsome profit, to the Matsutoya Corporation, a huge Japanese conglomerate that saw the chain of stores as a place to sell its many consumer electronics goods in the United States.
Matsutoya aggressively expanded the chain to 218 stores nationwide by the time they sold it in 2002, for a handsome profit, to Sam and Harry‟s, a maker and seller of ice cream. Sam and Harry‟s was looking for a way to diversify and invest the considerable cash they made creating and selling ice cream, with flavors named after actors and actresses, like their best-selling Lime Neeson and Jim Carrey-mel. Sam and Harry‟s bought in professional management to run the chain, and since they bought it, they had added 15 more stores, including 1 in Mexico and 3 in Canada. Even though they originally wanted to move the headquarters to their home-base state of Delaware, Sam and Harry decided to keep Petrie headquartered in San Diego.
The company had made some smart moves and had done well, Jim knew, but he also knew that
competition was fierce. Petrie competitors included big electronics retail chains like BestBuy. In
California, Fry‟s was a ferocious competitor. Other major players in the arena included the electronics
departments of huge chains like Walmart and Target and online vendors like Amazon.com. Jim knew
that part of his job in IT was to help the company grow and prosper and beat the competition – or at