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Giberson Glass Studio

  • Date Submitted: 02/11/2013 09:23 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.9 
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GIBERSON’S GLASS STUDIO When Felicia Coates, a first-year MBA student at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate Business School, first visited Giberson’s Glass Studio in April 2003, she found the business files in disarray and the proprietor wondering how much longer he could stay in business. Records of production and data on product costs were nonexistent, and the only financial records were a checkbook, unreconciled bank statements, and several tax returns. Edward Engelhardt Giberson, the proprietor, was a skilled glassblower who had recently moved his studio from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Charlottesville, Virginia. Giberson’s wife had always taken care of the books and other records, but the bookkeeping had been neglected since their divorce the previous year. Even though his glasswork sold well during his first year in Charlottesville, Giberson was quickly draining his limited financial resources. He did not expect a big salary, but estimated that he would need a minimum of $25,000 a year in wages and benefits. Notwithstanding his lack of organized financial information, he knew that something needed to change if he were to avoid bankruptcy. In desperation, he contacted the student consulting group at the Darden School, and Felicia Coates volunteered to assist Mr. Giberson. Production Process Giberson produced fine, hand-blown glassware in the form of tumblers, paperweights, patterned glasses, and vases. In a refurbished shed behind the McGuffey Art Center in historic downtown Charlottesville, Giberson fashioned hand-blown items from molten glass gathered on a long metal blowpipe. Using his own breath to shape the object, Giberson formed each vessel by a process analogous to blowing honey on the end of a straw. Once the bottom was formed, a metal punty was attached, and the vessel was broken from the pipe. After reheating, the lip was trimmed, fire-polished, and formed. When the object was broken off from the punty, the characteristic “punty mark”...

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