Young couple steps up to save a small Missouri town's only grocery store
Brandon and Chris Kerksieck first saw the "For Sale" sign as they were going to church one Sunday morning. Chilhowee's only grocery store was on the market.
Chilhowee is a small town in west central Missouri. Its population stretches to little more than 300, within the city limits. The next closest grocery lies more than 15 miles away in Holden. If Chilhowee's grocery store shut down the Kerksiecks feared their town would lose a vital cog.
The Kerksiecks chose Chilhowee as their home because of its proximity to Brandon's work. He's an aircraft production controller at Whiteman Air Force Base, about 25 miles east of Chilhowee. They feel it's a great place to raise their kids. And the town also reminds Brandon of his childhood home in Barrytown, a rural burg of 200 in west central Alabama.
"I have great memories of where I grew up and I want my family to experience that same feeling of community and neighborliness that you get in rural America," says Brandon.
A few weeks after it first appeared, the "For Sale" sign in the store's window got bigger. So the Kerksiecks got serious. They had never run a business, but they figured they could learn.
They started the business-buying process in February 2010 by first talking with the owners, Vernon and Joan Houts. That conversation led them to the realtor, Darrell Anstine. Their next step was to talk with a business loan officer. Dwight Anstine — Darrell's father — at F&C Bank in Holden, was the third banker they had visited.
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KC-area MO PTAC & MO SBTDC client among nation's top firms honored during SBA National Small Business Week events May 18-20
A Kansas City-area MO PTAC client — Gary Walker, CEO of Magic Touch Cleaning — will be among Small Business Person of the Year winners from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam who will converge on Washington, D.C. this week. Walker's firm is counseled by Donna Leonard, MO PTAC procurement specialist based in Blue Springs, and Darrell Brammer, SBTDC business specialist at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
The more than 50 honorees are among the nation's top entrepreneurs who will be recognized at U.S. Small Business Administration's National Small Business Week events May 18-20. Under the theme, "Empowering Entrepreneurs," a series of events and educational forums will mark the 58th anniversary of the agency and the 48th annual proclamation of National Small Business Week.
The state small business winners who will be honored reflect a broad range of business products, services and innovations offered by our nation's entrepreneurs. In addition to Walker's Lee's Summit-based "green" commercial cleaning service, they include a pediatric outpatient clinic, a technology solutions company, a gourmet chocolate company and an educational publisher
Men and women also will be recognized for their involvement in disaster recovery, government contracting, and their support for small businesses and entrepreneurship. Awards also will be presented to SBA partners in financial and entrepreneurial development, including the year's top SCORE Chapter, Small Business Development Center and Women's Business Center.
Other highlights will include notable speakers and business industry leaders from trade associations and local and federal governments speaking on issues of vital interest to the small business community.
WARRENSBURG, Mo. - Owners of small businesses can learn how to secure government contracts and network with potential contractors at the annual Missouri Procurement Conference June 2, at the University of Central Missouri. The event is presented by Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers and the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. in Elliott Union 234B on the UCM campus. Sen. McCaskill will address the conference at 9 a.m. Don Nissanka, president and CEO of energy storage systems producer Energonix based in Lee's Summit, will speak at 9:15 a.m. on successful government contracting. Rear Adm. David Baucom, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for acquisition and logistics management, will speak on government procurement at 9:30 a.m.
The featured luncheon speaker is Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. In his current post, McNabb is in charge of the command that is the single manager for global air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense.
McNabb graduated in 1974 from the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo. The general earned a master's degree in international relations from the University of Southern California in 1984. He also attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1995 and 1998, focusing on programs in national security and foreign affairs.
Concurrent afternoon sessions cover topics such as: selling to the government; the "Choose Veterans First" program; SBA contracting programs and financing; SBD certification and HUB Zone programs; base and post contracting; ethical compliance programs; contract pricing and estimating; social media marketing; doing business with MoDOT; and "greening" of the government supply chain.
The conference is open to business owners and interested individuals. The fee of $50 per person includes lunch. Registration prior to May 27 is encouraged. Individuals who want to attend may register online at www.ucmo.edu/sbtdc or by contacting the Small Business & Technology Development Center at UCM at 660-543-4402, email email@example.com.
Download the conference brochure and full agenda (pdf).
Gov. Jay Nixon took his small business roundtable-discussion tour to St. Joseph and Kansas City April 21. Missouri's chief executive began the series of talks with small business owners earlier in the month with stops in Jackson, Springfield and St. Peters. Roundtable participants are clients of the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers and the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.
The theme of the governor's tour has focused on the impact of small business on Missouri's economic development. Nixon also described the details of two recently initiated state loan programs aimed at small businesses — the $16.9 million IDEA Funds program, directed to businesses transferring science and technology efforts into job creation; and the $10 million Grow Missouri Loan Participation Fund, supporting the formation and growth of businesses in the industrial, commercial, agricultural and recreation sectors.
MO SBTDC and MO PTAC clients participating in the St. Joseph roundtable were host D.J. Bauer, owner of Envision Tech; Mario Fantasma, owner of Paradise Locker Meats; Larry Cunning, owner of CVB Water Doctor; Fred Idle, owner of Bright Disposal; and Ryan Evans, owner of Evans Computer Services.
The Kansas City gathering was hosted by Mark Friend, owner, and Margi Swords, general manager of Farm to Market Bread Co. Inc. Panelists included Julie Koppen, owner and publisher of Greenability Magazine; Lisa Lala, owner of Lala Studio; Shawn Thomas, owner of Genesis Environmental Solutions; Mike Hudson, owner of Heartland Fabrication and Three Feathers Construction & Sales LLC; John Jungk, owner of Old World Spices and Seasonings; Jason Curry, owner of sCOMM; and Carol Taylor, owner of A Clean Slate.
The same innovative spirit and leadership abilities that brought success to United States armed forces veterans has also enabled many of them to successfully start and operate their own businesses. About three million American veterans own their own companies. In 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, there were 505,916 veterans in Missouri.
Many veteran-owned small businesses are still trying to recover from the effects of the recession, and military personnel returning home to the U.S. face additional challenges. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars experienced a 15.2 percent unemployment rate in January. Veterans need access to organizations that provide information about business formation, financing, education, and governmental programs. The following list of resources provides information to assist U.S. military veterans.
The Patriot Express loan is offered by SBA's network of participating banks nationwide for veterans and members of the military wanting to start or expand their small businesses. This loan can be used for start-up, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases.
SBA's Military Reserve Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) program provides funds to eligible small businesses to meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses that they are unable to meet, because an essential employee was called-up to active duty in his or her role as a military reservist.
The Missouri Veterans Commission is a state agency established by Missouri statute to aid all veterans, their dependents, and legal representatives by providing information regarding the rights of veterans and their dependents and to assist veterans accessing their available benefits through the state and federal governments.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs provides the Center for Veterans Enterprise web portal, which is a resource for veterans wanting to start their own small businesses. They can use GI Bill education benefits to pay for the training needed to start their small businesses.
Show-Me Heroes is an initiative to showcase Missouri businesses that are willing to hire veterans returning from active duty. The Missouri Career Source service will allow veterans to post their resumes and connect with employers who have pledged to hire veterans.
The National Resource Directory (NRD) is for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families and those who support them. It provides access to services and resources about benefits and compensation, education and training, employment, family and caregiver support, health, homeless assistance, housing, transportation, and travel.
The Woman Veterans Business Center is a web portal for women veterans and military families, who want to start, develop and grow a business.
The Veterans Business Resource Center will present the St. Louis area's third annual Veterans Summit on Entrepreneurship May 19, at 4633 World Parkway Circle, Berkeley, MO. The day-long event will tackle such issues as funding alternatives, international trade considerations, and business survival in the current economy, according to Lynette Watson, event partner and MO SBTDC specialist in the St. Louis region.
Buy Veteran is a national campaign organized by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) to encourage Americans to buy from veteran-owned businesses. NaVOBA strives to convince American businesses and the government to consider using veteran-owned businesses as preferred vendors.
The Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC) provides confidential services including counseling, computerized bid matching, prime contractor outreach, bid preparation assistance, and electronic commerce/EDI in obtaining federal, state and local government contracts for small businesses, including disadvantaged, women-owned, and Veteran-owned firms. Heartland PTAC (www.mssu.edu/heartlandptac) provides the same services in southwest Missouri.
The statewide Missouri Business Development Program and Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers provide confidential counseling and low-cost training about marketing, accounting, finance, management and start-ups to veteran business owners and prospective veteran business owners.
With the entrepreneurial theme 100 Specific Ways to Make More Money, the 2011 Missouri Women's Business Conference is set for June 10, at the conference center of the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbia. The day-long event runs from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to Virginia Wilson, director of the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center on the MU campus.
The conference provides an excellent opportunity for participants to promote products and services and to gain information of interest to entrepreneurial women. Speakers will include Dennis Melton, SBA St. Louis district director, and Yijing Brentano, vice president of investor relations for Sprint Nextel Corp. Topics to be covered during the conference include profit-centered social networking and Level 10 Performance factors.
Cost for the conference is $125. The fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and conference materials. For more information or to register call the MU SBTDC in Columbia at 573-882-7096 or go to www.mwbc2011.com.
Business guide aims at reducing operating costs
Is your business ready to start saving on energy, materials and operations costs?
The University of Missouri's Pollution Prevention (P2) Program, along with partners in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa, just released a cost-saving booklet that demonstrates how businesses of all types and sizes can benefit from adopting a pollution-prevention approach.
Case studies in the booklet highlight businesses that significantly reduced costs in the areas of lighting, compressors, solvents, water and packaging. It also outlines the steps and lists technical assistance providers that can help businesses prevent pollution and save on operating costs.
For a free copy of the money-saving booklet contact Leah Christian (firstname.lastname@example.org) and start saving today.
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