Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Dr. Rocky Dwyer


The big-box superstore has created a dramatic effect on the retail landscape since its appearance in 1962. As big-box stores proliferate, small business owners continue to struggle with how to compete. The purpose of this multiple case study was to identify and explore strategies small business owners use to maintain or grow profit margins post big-box store market entry. The sample consisted of 5 small business owners in Kansas City, Missouri who survived the entry of the big-box store for at least 1 year. The conceptual framework was the general systems theory and systems thinking. Data were collected using semistructured interviews, archival data, and data mining. I used Yin's five-phase process of compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding for data analysis where 3 themes emerged that contributed to the case study's small businesses maintaining or increasing profits. These themes were employees and customers, finances, and organizational strategies. Key findings within the themes indicated that innovation, product differentiation, and flexibility were keys to profitability. The sustainability of small business in communities brings a variety of benefits to include social, economic, environmental, and aesthetic. These benefits can translate into tangible results such as a reduction in crime, increased social interaction, a stronger sense of identity, increased diversity, and more equity. Empowering local small business owners with sustainable business strategies could result in more businesses remaining profitable, leading to an improved standard of living for business owners and urban redevelopment as businesses flourish while contributing to local economies.