Lillian Vernon, Sharper Image Crash. Why?
When an entrepreneur creates a business and runs it for 30 of 50 years with no logical succession in place, you are looking at a temporary winner and an ultimate loser—who most likely has an ego problem. From Carolyn Shapiro’s story in The Virginian-pilot, December 23, 2007:
Lillian Vernon, a 56-year-old retailer that specializes in personalized products sold via catalog and Internet, typically adds about 3,000 seasonal workers to its core staff of about 800 to handle the flood of holiday business. By the end of December, the company lets go those extra workers, and many arriving at the headquarters Friday afternoon said they came to pick up their final paychecks. The termination of year-round employees at this time, however, came as a surprise to many ... [Alice] Powell said the terminated workers were prohibited from returning to their desks. Supervisors brought them their belongings and escorted them out of the building immediately after they were given notice. Some of the laid-off employees had worked for the company for almost 20 years, Powell and [Virginia] Hudgins said. They said they would receive two weeks severance pay from the company if they signed a termination letter. They added that the company would avoid paying them their typical holiday bonus: two paid days off on Christmas and Christmas Eve.