Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 5/13/16

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Some of the best learning happens when you read stories about real people and real companies. Read them for ideas, for lessons, and inspiration. This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about Faribault Foods, Life Fitness, SunEdison, Build-A-Bear, and Whole Foods.

From Mike Hughlett: Beans fueling big expansion at Faribault Foods

“While canning is generally a low-growth or even declining industry, dried beans are a bright spot. They’re a cheap source of protein, and high-protein foods are a big dietary trend. Black beans seem especially de rigueur, making their presence felt in everything from salsa to veggie burgers.”

From Meg Graham: Gyms bet on equipment that can help keep itself healthy

“Rosemont-based Life Fitness says it has brought the connectivity of the Internet of Things to gyms with its new remote monitoring service. The company recently rolled out LFconnect Protect to more than 10,600 hotels, residential exercise rooms and fitness clubs using its premium lines of machines.”

From Olivia Feld: How SunEdison went from Wall Street star to bankruptcy

“A onetime Wall Street star and growth champion, SunEdison would soon lay off more than 1,000 workers. Contracts to buy several power projects and developers would be canceled. By March 22, when Debtwire broke the news that the company was in talks to restructure its debt, shares had plunged 95% from their 52-week high.”

From David Nicklaus: Build-A-Bear, unloved by Wall Street, ponders its future

“A new management team has rekindled some of the old magic, but Wall Street doesn’t love furry friends the way it used to. Build-A-Bear announced last week that it is exploring strategic alternatives, a phrase that often means a company is for sale.”

From Stephanie Strom: Whole Foods’ Scaled-Down 365 Store Has Robots, but No Tattoo Parlor

“The new venture, the subject of fierce rumors, is aimed at competing with conventional grocery stores, which have taken a bite of Whole Foods’ profits.”

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