Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2004 (Revised July 2004)

Clarence Saunders: The Comeback King

by Nitin Nohria and Bridget Gurtler


Follows the rise and fall of the founder of the modern supermarket, Clarence Saunders. Prior to 1915, all staple shopping took place in the market or general store, where a clerk behind a counter pulled items from shelves for customers , measured them from a barrel, or retrieved them from the back of the store. The clerk tallied costs and added them to a customer's credit account. Purchases were then either delivered to a home or handed over on the spot--not a terribly efficient process. The entire ritual of shopping for food changed with the vision of Clarence Saunders and his Piggly Wiggly store.

Keywords: Inflation and Deflation; Mission and Purpose; Business Processes; Leadership; Consumer Behavior; Leadership Style; Advertising; Customer Relationship Management; Customer Value and Value Chain; Order Taking and Fulfillment;


Nohria, Nitin, and Bridget Gurtler. "Clarence Saunders: The Comeback King." Harvard Business School Case 404-070, May 2004. (Revised July 2004.)