WulfTeam Productions is proud to receive a “recommended” rating in the latest published review of
A Tale of Two Cities: The Circuit City Story.
A Tale of Two Cities: The Circuit City Story
(2010) 2 discs. 95 min. DVD (avail. from www.amazon.com):
Combining sympathy with a healthy dose of hardheaded analysis, Tom Wulf’s documentary examines the rise and fall of Circuit City, beginning with a look at the growth of the former electronics store chain, which started with Sam Wurzel’s decision to establish a store to sell and rent televisions in Richmond, VA, in 1949. Wurzel’s canny salesmanship and commitment to developing knowledgeable staff led to swift expansion—both in number of outlets and variety of merchandise—which continued after Sam’s son Alan succeeded him as CEO. After decades of uninterrupted success, however, a new management team in the ‘90s made strategic errors, developing a proprietary DVD system that failed to catch on (the DIVX fiasco) and unwisely establishing a used-car adjunct. Circuit City also underestimated new competitor Best Buy, which emphasized low prices. By 2000, Circuit City was desperately attempting to stave off disaster, an effort that led to closures, staff and salary reductions, deteriorating customer service, vendor problems, and finally bankruptcy in 2009. Featuring interviews with employees (including a critical Alan Wurzel), outside observers, and vendors, combined with a wealth of archival material, A Tale of Two Cities offers a sad portrait of entrepreneurial spirit gone stale due to mismanagement and complacency. DVD extras include a collection of vintage commercials and orientation films. Recommended. Aud: C, P. (F. Swietek)
Look for Alan Wurtzel’s new book, Good to Great to Gone: The Rise and Fall of Circuit City, in the near future! The book will be a great complement to the documentary, adding some leadership lessons and social context to the company’s 60-year history.