THE BUSINESS OF ART
SPIRIT OF AN ENTREPRENEUR FROM CANINES TO CASH PROFESSIONAL SPOTLIGHT VOLUME 1, NO. 1
IN THIS ISSUE: FEATURES:
WELCOME READERS, Lawrence Business Magazine aims to tell the stories behind our local storefronts - revealing all aspects of business from board room productivity to back room sweat equity. In addition to featuring the business community, Lawrence Business Magazine offers practical operating advice from local industry leaders. The publication is equal parts business profiles, press releases, and how-toguides. Lawrence Business Magazine is for those who care about, or have a stake in, the long-term success of our diverse business community.
SPIRIT OF AN ENTREPRENEUR RAISING CAPITAL FOR KU RESEARCH
LAWRENCE SUPERMARKETS WHAT LAWRENCE GROCERS ARE DOING TO STAY COMPETITIVE
FROM CANINES TO CASH PAWSH WASH MAKES DOLLARS FROM DOGS’ PLAY
THE BUSINESS OF ART THE LAWRENCE ART CENTER PROVIDES JOBS AND A WAY OF LIFE
MILES FOR VIALS NEW EAST LAWRENCE BUSINESS PLASTIKON FINDS PERFECT FIT IN LAWRENCE
We hope you enjoy our first issue and continue your readership.
IN EVERY ISSUE: 12
ON THE COVER:
BEN AHLVERS, DIRECTOR OF EXHIBITIONS AND SUSAN TATE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE LAWRENCE ARTS CENTER. PHOTO BY STEVEN HERTZOG
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DOWNTOWN by Cathy Hamilton Downtown Lawrence Association
Sh akespeare on ce asked, “What’s in a n ame? ” In the ever-eclectic business world of downtown Lawrence, the answer is sometimes obvious, often literal or, occasionally, downright confounding. FIRST, THE EASY ONES: Waxman? It’s a candle shop. Obviously. Gar y Gribble’s Running Spor ts? A store where you can buy stuff from a guy named Gary to help you run faster and longer. (Well, close enough, anyway.) The Mad Greek? A restaurant serving moussaka, gyros and other dishes from Greece and Italy. (I guess “The Mad Italian” didn’t have the same ring to it.) BUT WHAT ABOUT SHARKS, TEN AND HOBBS? Those are going to take more of an explanation. Mary Cox, co-owner of Shark’s Surf Shop, 813 Massachusetts, says the idea came to her husband on a trip to Las Vegas in the early 80s. “We were going to open the first surf shop in Kansas, with shorts and flip-flops and sunglasses,” Mary explains. “Chris (Cox, her husband) saw (retired basketball coach) Jerry Tarkanian who was known as ‘Tark the Shark’. And that was just it – the name of our surf shop.”
IN FOCU S
WHEN THE BUSINESS NAME IS, IN FACT, A NUMERAL, IT OFTEN REPRESENTS A STREET ADDRESS: 715, located at 715 Massachusetts, is a popular neighborhood eatery serving handmade central Italian cuisine. At the 1109 Gallery, also situated on Massachusetts Street in – you guessed it – the 1100 block, you can view local art in all media, created by members of the Lawrence Art Guild. But, what’s the deal with Ten, the restaurant inside the historic Eldridge Hotel? It’s not even close to 10th street near Anglers (seafood restaurant) and Urban Outfitters (outfits for urbanites). “Ten is the number on Bobby Douglass’ jersey, which has been retired from KU.” The Eldridge assistant manager, David Longhurst, explains. “He was an All- American (1968) who went on to play for the Chicago Bears, and was one of the original partners in the renovation of the hotel. His photograph hangs in the AllAmerican room and he’s wearing the his number 10 jersey.” SOME BUSINESS MONIKERS REFLECT THE NAME OF THEIR OWNERS: Miss Fortune’s Creation Station (Jennifer Fortune), Ernst & Son Hardware (Rod Ernst, the “son”), Sarah’s Fabrics (Sarah Fayman), to name a few.
So, does that mean you’ll find someone named Hobbs behind the counter at the “host of cool” at 700 Massachusetts Street? Not exactly, says store owner Mark Swanson. “Back in ’98, ’99 – whatever it was – we were considering what we’d do in this space next to Spectators (also owned by Swanson and his wife, Kathy),” Mark explains. “Finally, we said, ‘OK, let’s do a gift store thing.’” Combine that with the fact that Mark has always been a big fan of the old Jimmy Stewart movie Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. “It was Christmas time when we were the store together and we went to a holiday family thing in Atchison,” Mark continues. “And, I was the one who was hauling all the luggage and gifts into the house and, of course, that’s just like in the movie. It was Hobbs (played by actor Jimmy Stewart) who was always carrying everybody’s stuff into the beach house. That was the bit. It came to me as an epiphany and Hobbs was the deal. Plus, Hobbs was a banker and this building used to be a bank. He lived in St. Louis and this is the Midwest….” In the end, Swanson admits, the name came down to a gut feeling. “To be honest,” Mark says, “I just really liked the name, Hobbs.”
NEWS FROM T H E H I L L
by Joe Monaco, University of Kansas
KU CO N T INU ES TO DRIVE ECO N O M IC DEV ELO PMENT I N L AW R E N C E, THR OU GHO U T KANSAS For years, the University of Kansas has been an economic development engine for Lawrence and the entire state of Kansas. Recently, that engine has been in high gear, thanks to a number of university initiatives designed to spur research commercialization, entrepreneurship and job creation regionally and nationally. In the past six months alone, KU has hired one of the nation’s top innovation and entrepreneurship experts, received a major federal grant for biorefining research, recruited a fifth tenant to its business incubator and secured funding to expand the School of Engineering. For some schools, that would be two or three years’ worth of achievements KU has done all that since January. “It’s been a strong stretch for KU’s economic development efforts,” said Julie Goonewardene, who in January became KU’s associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship. “Given the state and nation’s economic challenges, KU has an important role in creating an educated workforce and engaging in research and innovation that creates jobs and grows the economy. That’s what we’ve been doing. And I believe the best is yet to come.” She’d know better than anyone. Goonewardene comes to KU from Purdue University, where she’d held several roles in academic entrepreneurship since 2005, including director of business development. At Purdue, she created a philanthropic venture capital investment fund, handled faculty entrepreneurial programs and worked closely with Purdue-based startup companies. Previously, she spent more than 20 years in the private sector, including six years as founder, CEO and president of Cantilever Technologies, which was purchased by i360technologies Inc. “Kansans tend to be modest,” Goonewardene said. “But KU needs to be a bit more willing to brag about its outstanding infrastructure, assets and capabilities. This university has a lot to offer in terms of economic development, and we’ve seen plenty of examples of that recently.”
TWO KU STARTUP COM PANIES ACQUIRED The string of economic development-related announcements began in January, when two KU startup companies were acquired by industry-leading organizations, further demonstrating the value and reputation of KU research in the market. Lawrence-based Computerized Assessments and Learning LLC, which was created in 2005 to commercialize KU computerized assessment technology, was acquired by Educational Testing Service of Princeton, N.J., a global leader in college placement tests and other standardized assessments. Lenexa-based CyDex Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was created in 1993 to commercialize KU drug delivery technology, was acquired by Ligand Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company in La Jolla, Calif., specializing in drug discovery and development. “These acquisitions show KU research is some of the best work in the country,” Goonewardene said. “When major companies invest in KU startups, that’s an incredible endorsement of the underlying research. At KU, we’re working to encourage an entrepreneurial mind set among our researchers so we can continue to develop products that benefit people everywhere.”
KU RESEARCH TEAM AWAR DE D $5.6 M ILLION USDA G RANT In May, a KU-led research team received a $5.6 million grant to develop clean technologies to convert biomass into chemicals that could ultimately replace the petroleumbased chemicals currently used in many household items.
Bala Subramaniam, director of the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis at KU, was awarded the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop sustainable catalytic processes that would enable biorefineries to convert biomass from nonfood crops and agricultural leftovers into bio-derived chemicals. Once these technologies are developed, bio-based chemicals could become sustainable substitutes for petrochemicals in products such as laundry detergent, bathroom cleaners and beauty products. As part of the project, the CEBC will partner with Archer Daniels Midland Co., a global leader in biomass production and biorefining. KU and ADM will invest $1.4 million in matching funds, bringing the total project value to nearly $7 million. The CEBC/ADM project was one of only seven to be funded by USDA from a pool of approximately 300 applications. In addition to benefitting biorefineries —which would spur rural growth — the technologies being developed by the CEBC could position uniquely trained KU students to take the lead in implementing this technology once they graduate. It could also mean business development for Lawrence, as companies explore partnerships with the CEBC. “Companies benefit by being near research universities,” Goonewardene said. “Whenever KU demonstrates this type of leadership, there’s the potential for companies to set up operations in Lawrence to be near KU technology. Dr. Subramaniam’s project is exactly the type of research that could bring companies here, especially given the proximity of the lab and office facilities here on the KU campus. Our vision is to develop the technologies in Lawrence and commercialize them in rural Kansas.”
BTBC RECRUITS FI FTH TENAN T The next major announcement came May 11, when the Bioscience and Technology Business Center at KU secured its fifth tenant. 360 Energy Engineers, an engineering and energy management firm, signed a lease at the center’s main facility on west campus, effective June 1. The company will bring four employees to the incubator and plans to house eight employees there within two years. 360 Energy Engineers became the fifth company to lease space in the center since it opened last summer. Other tenants include Garmin, a global leader in navigation and communication devices; BrightEHR, an electronic health records company; Sunlite Science and Technology, a producer of specialty LED products; and Propylon, a producer of software systems for state legislatures. Once 360 Energy Engineers moves in, the 21,400-square-foot main facility will be 50 percent leased and house 40 employees. “360 Energy Engineers is a cutting-edge engineering firm, and their choosing to locate here speaks well of the BTBC’s system to help build companies, our business support services and our location on the KU campus,” said Matthew McClorey, executive director of the Bioscience and Technology Business Center. “We welcome them to Lawrence, and we’re prepared to help them grow their business here.”
SCHOOL OF ENG I NEERI NG SECURES LEG ISLATIVE, PHI LANTHROPI C SUPPORT If Friday the 13th is supposed to be a scary day, the School of Engineering didn’t get the memo. In fact, May 13 will likely go down as one of the best in the school’s history. The day began with a pre-dawn announcement from Topeka that the Kansas Legislature had endorsed two bills to address the state’s shortage of engineers. The first bill devotes $10.5 million in gaming funds annually starting in 2013 to engineering programs at KU, Kansas State University and Wichita State University. The schools will leverage these state funds by matching them with private donations and other resources.
N EWS FR OM THE HILL The second bill gives KU bonding authority to begin the process of constructing an engineering education building. This complements the federally funded engineering research facility currently under construction. “When added to our already strong engineering program, the teachers, researchers and students housed in these two buildings will greatly enhance KU’s academic stature and research productivity,” said Dean of Engineering Stuart Bell, who had spent much of the 2011 legislative session leading KU’s efforts to expand the school’s enrollment capacity. “This is a great day for the School of Engineering.”
But the day was just getting started. Later that afternoon, the school announced that KU alumnus Charles E. Spahr and his wife, Mary Jane Spahr, had contributed $32 million to KU Endowment through their estate to benefit the School of Engineering. The Spahrs’ gift builds momentum for the school’s Building on Excellence Initiative. Designed to help fuel the state’s economic growth and business success, the initiative focuses on students, faculty, facilities, leadership and research. The result will aid industry partners in finding new talent, designs and techniques. As a part of the initiative, the School of Engineering plans to achieve a 60 percent increase in the number of students earning bachelor’s degrees in engineering by 2017. “KU’s engagement in economic development has increased considerably in recent years, especially in recent months,” Goonewardene said. “We’ll continue to pursue initiatives and research that drive job creation, commercialization and innovation here in Lawrence and throughout the state of Kansas.”
Purdue Research Park provides an annual economic impact of $1.3 billion to Indiana’s economy.
S P I R I T OF A N
ENTREPRENEUR by Derek Helms
As a young professional, Julie Goonewardene never imagined being an entrepreneur. “I always thought entrepreneurs were crazy,” Goonewardene says with a laugh. “Really. I never understood why someone would take on all that risk and stress with no guarantee of a return. No thanks.” Well, her opinion has changed. As the new Associate Vice Chancellor Innovation and Entrepreneurship and President of The Center for Technology Commercialization at University of Kansas (KU), Goonewardene is charged with helping faculty at KU capitalize on their research. “This is the greatest job in the world,” Goonewardene said. “I spend my time helping absolutely brilliant people take their complex and sometimes a bit abstract ideas and turn them into a marketable product or service. Really, it’s completely fascinating.” Prior to coming to KU in January, Goonewardene established herself as a major player in the world of academic entrepreneurship. As the Director of Business Development at Purdue University, Goonewardene was at the helm of the Purdue Research Park, the largest university-affiliated research park in the United States. A study compiled by Thomas P. Miller and Associates of Indianapolis and released in June estimates the
Wally Meyer, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at KU, said the business school is thrilled to have Julie on board. “You can’t work in the academic and entrepreneurship arena and not know what Julie helped accomplished at Purdue,” Meyer said. “The research park at Purdue is absolutely an example of what is possible, and I know Julie played a major role in its success. To have her working on behalf of our researchers and faculty is absolutely something from which Lawrence, KU and the state of Kansas will benefit.” At Purdue, she created a philanthropic venture capital investment fund, handled faculty entrepreneurial programs and worked closely with Purdue-based startup companies. Previously, she spent more than 20 years in the private sector, including six years as founder, CEO and president of Cantilever Technologies, which was purchased by i360technologies Inc.
Julie Goonewardene, President of the Center for Technology Commercialization at KU.
Goonewardene’s consulting expertise is born from more than one successful stint as an entrepreneur. After ushering startups to successful public offerings, it became clear to Goonewardene that maybe she was a little bit crazy too.
“I A LWAYS THOUGHT ENTREPRENEURS W ERE CRA ZY.”
“I learned that I really like to create things,” Goonewardene said. “The process of taking an idea, putting in the work to make it a marketable product, and then being successful is thrilling. I thrive in the collaborative spirit that is essential for a new company to be lucrative.” A collaborative spirit is exactly what she is trying to build on Mount Oread. Goonewardene’s major function is to, for lack of a better tern, hold the hands of KU faculty looking to capitalize on their research. “There is no end to the things I try to do to help,” Goonewardene said. “This campus is bursting with brilliant people. Professors have already come to me with phenomenal ideas. Some of them are well along the way, and my office is needed only as a small guiding voice. Others are much less developed. It’s my job to guide that idea, find investors, determine marketability and help with a business plan.” Wally Meyer said Goonewardene’s influence has already been felt on campus, not just by faculty members. “Specifically, Julie’s work with a possible start-up on campus has provided KU students with opportunities to learn needed business skills,” Meyer said. “Because of her help with the company, our students are working on market research that is essential for any entrepreneur. They are actively doing the work they are in school to study.” Goonewardene is clearly
excited about the possibilities. “The campus is at an inflection point,” Goonewardene said. “That’s one of the reasons I am so excited to be here. There are so many inspiring people on this campus, I’m thrilled to work with them. Yes, these are challenging times for all universities. But I’m a huge believer in the social sciences and our faculty are doing truly noble work.” As Goonewardene and family settle in Lawrence, she has noticed an unnecessary amount of humility. KU as a university and Lawrence as a city need to stick out their chest. Both are, according to Goonewardene, absolutely fantastic. “Kansans tend to be modest,” Goonewardene said. “But KU needs to be a bit more willing to brag about its outstanding infrastructure, assets and capabilities. This university has a lot to offer in terms of economic development, and we’ve seen plenty of examples of that recently. Given the state and nation’s economic challenges, KU has an important role in creating an educated workforce and engaging in research and innovation that creates jobs and grows the economy,” Goonewardene said. “That’s what we’ve been doing. And I believe the best is yet to come.”
by Debbi Johanning Social Media Specialist, the Sandbar
1. R ESE AR C H It pays to do a little bit of research. There are hundreds of social media platforms available, and Facebook and Twitter are two of the most popular. Look for other local businesses already using various social media sites to get ideas about what site might work best for you. Start slowly and get comfortable with one site before diving in to lots of different platforms and getting overwhelmedthis is the quickest way to burn out on social media. Chances are, your customers are already talking about you in online communities, and once you jump into social media theyâ€™ll expect you to talk back. Plenty of free tools like Twitter search, SocialMention and Google alerts are available to help you monitor keywords like your business name. Use these tools to find mentions of your business so you can respond and join relevant conversations. It will show your customers that youâ€™re interested in connecting with them.
M A R K E T ING
2. BE SO CI A L Social media is social, after all, and no one likes an automated press release machine. It’s okay to sound like a real person! Many businesses use social media as another method of advertising their products or services. While it can be great for advertising, social media is a two-way street: treat it as a conversation, not a broadcast tool. Don’t talk about yourself all the time; just like in real life, people will get bored and stop listening to you. Interact with your fans and followers. Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to jump into conversations when you can offer relevant, helpful information. If you’re using Twitter, follow people back. If your customers are taking the time to follow you and listen to what you’re saying, give them the same courtesy. A simple follow back conveys that you’re interested in them, too.
3. B E CO N SI STE N T Many businesses get excited about social media and jump in with both feet, only to lose interest or give up after a few weeks or months. It takes time to build relationships in social media, just like in real life. You won’t see results overnight. Update your social media site regularly. You don’t have to post something every day, but social media streams move quickly and if you only post an update once a week, your fans will be less likely to notice you. You should be monitoring your accounts on a daily basis to respond to questions or comments. An inactive social media account is worse than no account at all!
4. BE PR O F ESSI O N A L Being professional doesn’t mean you can’t be casual and conversational. However, everything you post reflects on your business, so think carefully about your image and the type of business you have. Check your grammar and spelling carefully, and consider any abbreviations you might use. Overusing text lingo like “u,” “ur,” and “2” instead of “to” might not convey the image you want to project, and it can make your message difficult to read. At some point, you’ll have to deal with a negative comment about your business. Don’t get defensive, don’t argue and don’t try to remove or ignore the post. It’s a perfect opportunity to reach out and show customers that you’re responsive and that you care about feedback. Stay calm and rational, be honest and admit mistakes. It’s possible to convert your worst critic into your biggest fan.
5. M I X I T U P Post different types of content on your account. Share pictures and short video clips from your business or around the community. Link to interesting articles or websites that are relevant to your business. Have contests, but be sure to follow the site’s terms and conditions. Feature your customers! People like to feel special, and anything you can do to make your customers feel noticed and important to you will result in them talking about you and sharing your information with their networks. Keep your content relevant to the community. Just because you can post the same update across every social media platform that exists doesn’t mean you should. Different social media sites have different communities who have different expectations. Take the time to update your accounts individually, and tailor your message to that site’s community. For example, Twitter has unique syntax such as “RT” and hashtags, which might confuse Facebook users who suddenly see these symbols in their news feed.
P ROF ES S I ONA L SPOTLIGHT D OU G GAU M ER INTRU ST BAN K
LBM: How do you manage your day-to-day stress of business? DG: I am a firm believer in delegating responsibility and empowering people to make decisions. In my mind, it is simply logical to have the person closest to the decision, make the decision. There are clearly exceptions, but proper execution of that principle has multiple benefits. The employee feels good about the increased responsibility, the organization benefits as more times than not the person closest to the decision will not only make the right decision, but make it in a more timely manner. Further, delegating allows me to focus on doing the right things for the bank, that is, activities where I can add the greatest value. This allows me to address both profitable and volatile issues as they arise, which reduces my day-to-day stress.
LBM: What is your company’s impor tant commodity or ser vice?
DG: Banking products and services have become rather commodified, that is, that features and benefits of our products and services are similar to that of our competition. As a result, our most important service is providing a positive customer experience to everyone that we serve.
LBM: How do performance?
DG: We have multiple layers of incentives dependent upon one’s position within INTRUST Bank. Most of these incentives are production based, but for employee’s that go above and beyond, we do “on the spot” bonuses, as well as, recognition awards. LBM: How do you manage poor performance?
LBM: Other than monetar y, what i s your company’s most impor tant priority? DG: Our most important priority is enhancing and expanding our relationships with current and prospective customers.
LBM: What has been some of the most impor tant aspects of your success? DG: It begins with hiring great people who are passionate about delivering excellent customer service. The right team, combined with clear expectations about their purpose and a culture that supports fulfillment of that purpose, creates an organization capable of achieving success.
DG: We conduct annual reviews of all employees; however, if we have a performance issue with an employee, we address it immediately, and typically create an outline of action steps to remedy the poor performance. It should be noted that we have zero tolerance for poor behavior (violation of Bank Policies, treating people poorly, etc…).
LBM: What is the biggest challenge you feel your company faces? DG: The current economic and political/regulatory environment has made banking rather challenging. The challenge is identifying and capturing opportunities created from this environment to improve the fundamental strength of the organization.
LBM: How many people does your business employ? How many of those live in Lawrence? Does your company encourage people to live in Lawrence? What is the benefit?
DG: INTRUST Bank employs 24 people who all live in Lawrence. We do encourage our employees to live in Lawrence. We simply believe that people who are invested in the Lawrence Community will be better long-term employees. LBM: What would you change about doing business in Lawrence? DG: We are fortunate to be home to the University of Kansas, whose success has allowed this community to experience enormous investments that leverage the relationships with KU, but these investments arenâ€™t enough to continue growing our local economy. The challenge going forward, in my opinion, is how to both attract and retain new and existing businesses. It is imperative that we reverse the trend of flat to declining economic growth. I believe it begins with reducing transaction costs (time and expense for simply receiving permitting or zoning) for those willing to risk capital in making an investment in Lawrence. Our current policies are expensive, time consuming, and often, political. I would like to see
Lawrence become a more competitive community for attracting investment. By pursuing an aggressive, but strategic, growth strategy, Lawrence becomes a more prosperous and productive City. LBM: How does your business make a positive impact on the Lawrence community? DG: The banking industry has been the victim of a tremendous onslaught of negative news. I would hope that the Lawrence Community realizes that the banks in Lawrence were not participants in the reckless behavior of the large Wall Street Banks. The banks in Lawrence are community-oriented in that they help local investors translate their ideas into reality. In addition, banks in Lawrence make significant investments in the community both with physical locations and through donations supporting the many great causes in this community. As such, it is through helping our customers achieve success, along with investing in our community, that INTRUST Bank has a positive impact.
501C3 INSPIRED by Eileen Hawley, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce
Fire, KU Public Safety and eight rural Douglas County Fire Departments.
VALOR PUBLIC SAFETY AWARDS
Throughout Lawrence and Douglas County, police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line every day to ensure the safety of our community and its citizens. The Valor Public Safety Awards program, sponsored by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, now will publicly recognize the selfless dedication of these brave individuals. “The prosperity and quality of life that Lawrence/Douglas County enjoys is due in no small measure to the selfless and courageous acts of our public safety and law enforcement employees,” said Cindy Yulich, Chair of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. “It is important that we, as a community, take time to recognize these brave men and women, many of whom volunteer their time to keep us safe.” Agencies participating in this inaugural year of the Valor Awards include the Lawrence Police Department, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, Douglas County Sheriff, Eudora Police and Fire, Baldwin City Police and
N O N - P ROFIT
Potential honorees will be nominated by their respective departments and then selected by a committee of local business owners and public officials. The review committee includes representation from the Douglas County community and former public safety officers. “The heart of the Valor program is not just in recognizing our public safety workers,” said Yulich, “We understand the many sacrifices their families make as well.” To recognize and reward the commitment made by these families, all children of Valor Award honorees will be eligible for a one-time $1,000 stipend when they enter a community college, technical college or university. Information on the Valor Awards, golf tournament, awards ceremony and how to donate to this worthy cause may be found on the Chamber of Commerce website at www.lawrencechamber.com. Click on “Valor Awards.” All contributions are managed by the Lawrence Foundation and are tax deductible.
G OL F TO UR N A M E N T A N D AWA R DS CE RE MON Y C E LE B RAT E B RAV E RY OCT
Two major events will recognize and celebrate the Valor Awards honorees. The first is The Crown Automotive Valor Awards Golf Tournament, Friday, Oct. 7 beginning at 1 p.m. at Alvamar Public Golf Course. This day of fun, fellowship and friendly competition will benefit the Valor Public Service Awards and scholarship program. The Valor Public Safety Awards ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn, Lawrence. Award winners will be lauded for their service, and attendees will hear dramatic accounts of the bravery shown every day by these men and women. Both events are open to the public. More information will be available on the Chamber of Commerce website, www.lawrencechamber.com in the fall.
LAWRENCE SUPERMARKETS PROVIDE MORE THAN GROCERIES TO THE COMMUNIT Y
by Daisy Wakefield
Among notable inventions of the 20th century — the polio vaccine, air travel, cell phones, the Internet — supermarkets do not generally make it to the top ten lists of modern miracles. But the institution and development of the supermarket has revolutionized American life in as fundamental a way as any other 20th century marvel. Gone are the days of procuring meat from the butcher, bread from the baker, or even fresh brewed coffee from a stand alone cafe. For the average American, the existence of supermarkets has streamlined food and household purchasing to a mere 8 minutes a day. One stop shopping is possible as never before, with an astounding range of goods readily available under one roof — from ice cream to flowers to prescription drugs. Complex choreographies are orchestrated so that each product has just enough supply to meet at the intersection of consumer demand. For many Lawrencians, loyalty to supermarkets is no longer solely dependent on yesterday’s priorities of price, quality, and service. Today’s consumer wants to know where a supermarket sources their products from, how they engage with the community in service and contribution, and perhaps even what their business model looks like. The following three supermarkets welcome the questions and share their answers with LBM about how they do business in a savvy and conscious community. They may be competitors, but they have got a couple of things in common.
Each store cultivates their own ethos, wooing customers by offering specialized products and services and marketing their individual store brand. And each partners with local community organizations, contributing time and money for the betterment of Lawrence.
H Y-VEE O N CLINTO N PAR KWAY Changes are afoot at the Clinton Parkway Hy-Vee. A reconstruction project has been underway for months, with completion slated for December. Two new departments will debut, featuring a Sushi section and Caribou Coffee Bar, and other sections will be significantly expanded. The overall square footage of the store will expand to 76,000 square feet, with 4000-5000 new products added.
“We’re always looking to make our customer’s lives easier, happier, and healthier,” says Andrew Yochum, the store director who started his career at Hy-Vee as a teenage stock boy in Omaha. To that end, the store has a full time dietician who conducts classes and goes into the community to educate people on nutrition. The store also has a community club room in which classes for specific groups or workshops can be held. One such group is the Celiac Club, meeting once a month with the dietician to discuss new ways of gluten-free cooking. Yochum has also recently hired a chef to do live cooking demonstrations in the store, and is aiming to build expertise in all departments to increase food knowledge and culinary expertise. “One of the things we’ve noticed over last couple of decades is that families are not eating at home. We want to show people that it’s not hard to cook a meal that is fresh and easy and delicious. We want to give people what they need to eat more at their table, with fresh ingredients at a reasonable cost to the consumer.” Beyond the grocery scene, Hy-Vee is hardly a wallflower in community relations. Numerous local events each year benefit from their sponsorship, such as the Nash Dash (benefiting Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center), Salute! (benefiting Cottonwood, Inc.), the One Mile at a Time Kids Marathon Program, the Dollars for Scholars Partnership (benefiting local schools), and the Iron Kids Triathlon. “We put a special emphasis on getting kids active,” says Yochum, “Our goal is to get kids into an active lifestyle, with activities that are enjoyable and can last a lifetime.”
D IL LO N ’S O N 6 T H A N D WA KA RU SA There’s a group of senior citizens that meets each morning at the Dillon’s on 6th and Wakarusa. They get their ‘Bucks and their table, but never mind all the tomfoolery with the free Wifi. Since their 2009 expansion which added 50,000 square feet, Dillon’s has enjoyed groups such as these in their cafe space. The feedback has been good — customers like the bistro space, the novelty and wedding cake bakery, the artisan bread bakery, and the natural and organic foods section, the faster checkout process. But that’s just in the front of the store. Behind the scenes, this Dillon’s is piloting a composting program in which they separate and compost all organic materials for pickup by local waste companies. With cardboard and plastic also being recycled, the store went for five and a half weeks without the need for a regular trash pickup. “Our local teams are really engaged in the process,” says Sheila Lowrie, Communications Coordinator for regional Dillon’s stores, “We have a lot of associates that have a passion for sustainable practices, and as a company, we take seriously our responsibility to protect the environment.” Dillon’s contributes to local organizations, churches, schools, and the United Way through employee pledges. Last year, the Wakarusa Dillons gave $77,500 to the local community
Wh a t b e g a n a s “a b u n c h of h i p p i es w h o wa n te d to s ave money by co-buying a big wheel of cheese,” according to store operations manager, Brian Phillips, has evolved into an incorporated member-owned store with over $12 million in sales and a 1.8% Profit margin in 2010.
in charitable gifts. Dillon’s also partners with the pharmacy school at the University of Kansas to employ their students as pharmacy interns. Dillon’s as a corporation is focused on hunger relief, and the Wakarusa store is a partner in their perishable donations program. Meats that are still safe and nutritious, but unsalable, are frozen and donated to local food banks. Within the last year, 20,000 pounds of perishable foods have been donated by Lawrence stores. Lowrie says, “This is an opportunity for us to donate perishable items that would otherwise go to a landfill, that food banks struggle to obtain. These are protein sources that can be a resource for local food banks to feed hungry families.”
The dining area at Dillon’s on 6th and Wakarusa is a frequented gathering place for senior citizens each morning.
T H E CO M M UN IT Y M E R CA N T IL E The Merc has been through a few changes since it started as a buying co-op in someone’s basement. What began as “a bunch of hippies who wanted to save money by co-buying a big wheel of cheese,” according to store operations manager, Brian Phillips, has evolved into an incorporated memberowned store with over $12 million in sales and a 1.8% profit margin in 2010. When it comes to community involvement and sustainable practices, The Merc sets the bar pretty high. They source as much as possible from local farmers and food businesses, contribute to a broad base of community organizations (particularly Senior Services, United Way, Headquarters, and Ecumenical Christian Ministries), and provide educational opportunities in the store and in the community for nutrition and sustainable food practices. Nancy O’Connor, Director of Education and Outreach, says, “We are held to co-op principles, one of which is a concern for the community. We can be immediately responsive to each request for contribution or resource, because we’re not bogged down in corporate headquarters’ processes. It’s fluent for us to be engaged with the community, a commitment, not a gesture.”
Since 2010, three school gardens, at West Junior High, Sunset Hill Elementary, and Hillcrest Elementary, have been started through The Merc’s initiative. These gardens supply fresh produce for the schools’ cafeterias, part-time jobs for West students, and an educational resource for students to learn about how food is grown. Last year, 300 pounds of food was put into the West cafeteria by the school garden. “Our ultimate goal is to change the way kids eat. Kids are bombarded 365 days a year with fast and junk food, and now finally school gardens have equal footing. We intentionally put gardens in spots where kids will pass by and see them. They start making connections between seeing the tomato growing on the vine and then eating it in the cafeteria. We have a way of improving the lives of kids by connecting them to their food.”
L AW R E N C E ’ S
SUMMER MO R NINGS, a rambunctious two year-old black lab named Frankie confidently trots to the counter of Pawsh Wash. Nails freshly trimmed, coat washed and teeth cleaned, Frankie sits, raises his eyebrows and glances at Sarah, his owner.
FR O M CAN INES TO CAS H by Derek Helms
Frankie waits patiently and his eyes begin to dart between Sarah and the turnstile of handmade treats. “What,” Sarah jokes. “Is looking that good not enough of a treat?” “Oh, come on,” says Amber Nickel, Pawsh Wash owner. “A little treat never hurts.” Sarah concedes, both to Frankie’s cock-eyed plea and Nickel’s subtle urging, and fetches a frosted cupcake. “Making dogs and their owners happy is such a great feeling,” Nickel says. “It’s so cool to do that for a living.”
AMBER N ICK EL MUST HAVE B E E N A G R E AT BART EN DE R. Her smile is omnipresent, she doesn’t let much get to her, and her dry humor keeps others on their toes. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism, she spent days in local media as a producer and nights behind the bar slinging beers to locals. “You know, I loved bartending,” Nickel said. “You meet the most interesting people, hear great stories and become everyone’s best friend.”
WEST LAWRENCE BUSI NESS
Amber and her (only slightly) older sister Nicki were both living a good life in Lawrence. Amber was using her degree and having a blast behind the bar and Nicki was happily employed as a nurse, working at the Douglas County Jail. The two were young and
When the trip to Kansas City to wash Chance became a regular thing, the proverbial light bulb went on. “On the way back we always talked about how dog-friendly Lawrence is,” Amber said. “It really seemed like all out friends and neighbors had dogs. That thought led to how great it would be to open a dog wash.” Like most entrepreneurs, Amber and Nicki thought about the idea. A lot. “We would call each other with ideas and thoughts,” Nicki said. “It’s really easy to have the ideas. The work begins when you try to implement them.” As expected, the girls’ dad was keenly interested in the idea.
enjoying the world of young professionals. Something kept eating at them, however. “Following an entrepreneurial spirit is really our family business,” Amber said. “The passion and drive to be our own boss was instilled in us by our father at a very young age.” Both girls remember the initiative of their dad, a serial entrepreneur. He was an accountant, restaurateur and consultant. “He would always tell us ‘if you have a good idea, someone else will probably agree with you.” The girls had the drive, but didn’t know what they wanted to do. A trip to a dog wash in Kansas City with Nicki’s yellow lab changed everything. “Nicki’s lab is huge,” Amber says. “I love Chance (the yellow lab), but washing him in the bathtub or with a hose just, well, it sucked. We heard about a place in Kansas City that had pet washes, so we drove over to check it out. Needless to say, we thought it was pretty awesome.”
“The thought of opening a dog wash was really kicked into gear by our dad,” Amber said. “He did the research on the actual number of dogs in Lawrence. He sent us these great numbers of pet owners and habits he had found. Seeing those figures really sold us on the idea.” Finding space was tricky. Yes, the shop would need room for industrial cleaners. Yes, the shop would also need space for retail sales. Parking was a must. “Well,” Amber says rather bluntly. “We needed a space that had close proximity to a good spot to poop and pee.” Downtown was scouted, but the thought of clients trying to cross Massachusetts Street with their dogs was disconcerting. The girls even considered buying wagons for clients to use as a transport for their pets. The shop’s current location on Wakarusa, with its proximity to the dog park at Clinton Lake and many familyfriendly neighborhoods, was a natural fit. “It has great parking and green space for poop,” Amber says. “As nice as a lawn outside the shop is, it certainly doesn’t eliminate accidents. We joke everyday about it being a two, three or even six or seven poop day.” With a location set, financing secure through a line-of-credit and their own pocketbooks, the sisters took the leap into starting their own business.
Pawsh Wash opened in the fall of 2005 as a self-wash dog cleaning company. They offered limited retail, but that has changed. “People really like the self-wash option,” Nicki said. “But we quickly saw a great opportunity to grow by offering full-service cleaning and expanded food and equipment.” The girls and their staff learned the proper and most efficient dog washing and grooming techniques. They increased their pet food supply, improved their selection of leashes and toys and started stocking beautiful gourmet treats. Learning on the job has been the best business lesson the Nickel sisters could as for. “If we don’t have something you are looking for, let us know,” Amber said. “We will find the product, or the best answer to your question. We learned early on that making the customer happy, even if you can’t do it immediately, is absolutely the top priority.” Return customers build the bulk of Pawsh Wash business. Making dogs look good, it turns out, makes their owners very happy. “We try to be as full-service as we can,” Amber said. “A lot of our customers appreciate our proximity to the off-leash dog park. They can take their dog to the park, let him or her run around in the grass and mud and stop here on the way home to clean up and get a treat or fresh bag of food.”
The result of a job well done is, well, more jobs. As Pawsh Wash became established in Lawrence, the strains of success started to creep in. Amber and Nicki had to increase and consistently train staff, increase food orders and buy (over and over) new vacuums. “If I had known then what I know now,” Amber said. “I would have bought stock in vacuum cleaners. Seriously, we go through those suckers!” As the business continues to thrive, Amber and Nicki have had to make some difficult decisions. The desire to expand services and increase their market share created a need to free some cash. At the beginning of the year, Nicki stepped away from Pawsh Wash and back into her former nursing career. “It was really a very difficult decision,” Nicki said. “I love being with the dogs and helping the customers everyday, but I also missed life in the nursing world. When my old job became available, Amber and I had a long talk.” Nicki is still involved in nearly every aspect of the business and may be even more excited for the future of Pawsh Wash than Amber. “Well, I miss it everyday,” Nicki said. “But I don’t have to clean up dog hair anymore.” Amber has embraced her new role and solo shop director.
Kristin Piper is one of those long-time, loyal customers. She has been bringing her dogs, Simon and Zoe, to Pawsh Wash for 5 years. “The dogs absolutely love going to Pawsh Wash,” Piper said. “I really don’t even consider washing them at home. Once you take your dog to see Amber and Nicki, it’s hard to do it in your house again. My dogs, Simon especially, can be crazy. Having someone else do the dirty work to get them clean is awesome.”
“To be an independent business owner, in the town I love, working with people and animals that I love,” Amber says. “I’m not sure it gets much better than that.”
HEN PEO PLE CAR E, A N D “ WFEEL CAR ED FO R, T H EY TAKE INIT I AT I V E. ”
BETTER TEAMS FOR BETTER BUSINESS by Joe Ryan, Sunflower Broadband, Retired Manager
Ask most supervisors, managers, officers or owners and they will tell you that the strength of their organization is the quality of people that work for them. A great challenge, and opportunity, is for a manager to show they value all members of their team. There is a saying that states we spend time on what is important to us. So how many of you are spending time with your team? Sure key players, team leaders and managers that directly report to you are recognized for the value they bring to the team with their salary, bonus or recognition for meeting company objectives, but what about the rest of the team? Recognition needs to be more than a monthly employee recognition event with a presentation of your appreciation. Recognition needs to be personal and regular. Managers at every level need to work into their weekly schedules time spent with all levels of the team. Managers need to get to know their team beyond just their names and work responsibilities. Are they married? Do they have children? What are their hobbies? Each member of your team is unique, and learning about them will help you make your group more cohesive and effective. Managers need to trust their employee’s judgment. It’s hard to trust someone you barely know. Most importantly, getting to know the people that work for you allows you to check on your investment. Visiting with the people doing the work of your business can provide insight on how your customers are being treated, if you are using the best practices for efficiency and what improvements you can make to increase profitability. These are the people doing the job. They are in the best position in the company to report to you how you are doing. A successful team is made up of a lot of parts. There are role players, “glue” guys and stars. It is easy to recognize the stars and to forget the other players. Each individual
that works for you should be providing an important and necessary function to the success of your team. True, some of those players possess low skill sets, are paid at lower rates and can easily be replaced. However their positions are critical or you wouldn’t have them on the payroll. Each team member must feel appreciated and heard in order to maximize their capabilities. Team chemistry is critical to all championship teams and that chemistry starts with you in your leadership role.
When people care, and feel cared for, they take initiative. We need people to be willing to do what it takes to win, or be successful. Leaders can only create this attitude by example. Don’t think it is above you to do the most menial job. Be the one that makes coffee when you take the last cup. Clean up the break area space when there is a mess. You might have the nicest office in the building, but don’t be too important to take out the trash. Time is, without question, the greatest gift you have. The gift of your time is tangible proof that you care and that you value the people you have hired. This time is not just for show, you have an investment with every employee with their salary, training and the reputation they give your business. The more your employees feel valued, the more they will value their job, your leadership and the business.
M ANAG EME N T
T HE B US I NESS O F ART: AT THE L AWR ENC E ART S C ENTER , C R EAT I VI T Y I S A WAY OF BUSINESS.
Now more t han e ver, business es ne e d to b e s mar t, pro ac t ive and cre at ive. No pl ac e is t hat taken more to heart than at the Lawrence Arts Center, where being creative is at the core of the business model. Since itâ€™s inception more than 35 years ago, the Lawrence Arts Center has developed into a solid business, anchoring downtown and providing Lawrence with a powerful recruiting instrument.
CO MPREHEN SIV E NUMBERS The Arts Center has 12 full-time employees, 5 part-time employees, and more than 100 contract-teaching artists and performance staff. In the course of a year, there are hundreds of volunteers that help at the front desk, in the preschool and on field trips, in the visual arts studios, as ushers, bartenders, photographers, event planners, financial advisors, and more. The Arts Center also has unpaid internships in exhibitions, education, and performance programs. All employees and volunteers work toward the same goal of provided services or programming in one of three departments: 1. Arts Education Annually, the Arts Center has 500 children in preschool, 200 in Summer Youth Theater and Tech Theater, 150 in winter ballet, 500 in dance, 400 in elementary school summer camps, 150 In Arts Institute classes and hundreds more in other performance and visual arts classes. More than 300 classes are offered each year with approximately 2,700 enrolled.
2. Exhibitions The Art Center galleries host up to 30 exhibitions a year.
3. Performance With the new season that began on August 1, 15 shows will be produced at the Arts Center. These will include The Pied Piper of Hamelin, A Kansas Nutcracker with the Lawrence mandolin Orchestra, Willy Wonka, and Cabaret, as well as theater for very young children. The Arts Center will also bring in two contemporary dance companies.
F UN DI NG CH ALLENGES The Lawrence Arts Center utilizes multiple income streams and resources to budget for all of its programs. For this fiscal year, beginning August 1, the Arts Center has planned a budget working with 65% from earned income (tickets, tuition, art sales), 7% City of Lawrence, 28% donations and grants. The budget reflects the loss of state and NEA funding for the arts. “One reason that this funding is vital is because it was for operations; losing this type of support is difficult for all arts organizations as it is difficult to replace,” said Susan Tate, Executive Director of the Lawrence Arts Center. “The losses in state funding make private and corporate support more important than ever. In additional to the absolutely essential financial support businesses bring to arts organi-
zations, our business partners offer models for management, financial advice and marketing ideas. In turn, a thriving arts scene helps businesses attract and retain the best workforce. Business support of our work is natural because our interests are the same: exceptional quality of life and an innovative creative community.”
PA RT N E R SH IPS Through years of hard work and thoughtful planning, the Arts Center has developed strong relationships with
QUALI TY O F LIFE The Arts Center has become a focus of the downtown area and a fixture on the quality of life index for businesses looking to relocate to Lawrence. “The Arts Center is one of those things that make Lawrence unique,” said Beth Johnson, Vice President of Economic Development for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to their other criteria, companies want to locate in communities that offer employees a high quality of life. One of those considerations is the presence of the arts as a fundamental part of the community culture and we have that in Lawrence thanks in large part to the Arts Center.”
local businesses and organizations. Those relationships take advantage of the strengths of the business partners while developing a symbiotic partnership – both the Arts Center and the business partner are stronger. In various capacities, the Lawrence Arts Center employs over 120 people each year; offering arts education that complements arts classes in public and private schools; providing live music, theater, dance, and a film series; coordinating Final Fridays and attracting people of all ages to downtown Lawrence. Business partners help make this possible through financial support, in kind donations, advocacy and advice.
“Business suppor t of our work is natural because our interests are the same: exceptional quality of life and an innovative c r e a t i v e c o m m u n i t y. ”
“Our business partners now and in the future should believe
“It’s the chance to expose new people to the Arts Center’s
that they are investing in our quality of life and in a type of
possibilities that gets the staff excited,” Tate said. “We feel
community that attracts and maintains the best workforce
that if we can get someone to come through those doors for
when they support the Arts Center,” Tate said. “We hope that
one exhibition, show or class, they will be back for more.”
our business supporters know that a creative community always offers these rewards, and when they support arts organizations, we all benefit.” E X PAN D TH E AUD IENCE The Arts Center takes advantage of gallery shows and performances to add educational elements to the program. For example, in addition to the social and historical aspects of an exhibit like the upcoming feature of Baron Wolman’s Rolling Stone photography, the Arts Center will also conduct a panel discussion about photography to the community as well as a separate lecture by Wolman about his work. W H Y STA RT W IT H A RT ? This exhibit, like all others at the Arts Center, aims to en-
The Arts Center is not content to just let the future unfold;
gage, challenge and expose the audience to art. “The images
they are taking an active part in creating their future. By
Baron has created have the unique ability to communicate
developing creative minds, the Lawrence Arts Center Pre-
differently to the varied generations that will certainly see
school uses a creative arts-based teaching structure to bring
the show.” Ben Ahlvers, the shows’ curator and Director of
out children’s natural interest in learning.
Exhibitions at the Arts Center, said. “For many from the baby boomer generation, it’s nostalgic. For younger genera-
“The foundation for higher learning begins in early child-
tions there’s potential to gain insight to a time in American
hood,” Linda Reimond, Arts-Based Pre School Director
Popular culture’s history and to gain new perspectives on the
explained. “The ‘Arts’ build that foundation by empower-
period and musicians who were essential to it.” Given the
ing children to become confident, problem solvers, and cre-
subject matter within Baron’s photographs (rock stars), there
ative thinkers. Why art, you ask? Because learning through
are likely to be new audiences coming into the galleries.
the arts enhances brain development, supports individual leaning styles, and helps prepare for success in school and in life. Children who feel free to make mistakes and to ex-
TH E RO L L I N G STO N E Y E A R S BARON WOLMAN – EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY In the 1960s, Baron Wolman was the Original Chief Photographer for Rolling Stone magazine. When photographers and musicians were part of the same explosive scene, Wolman had virtually unlimited access to his subjects. On August 26th Baron will be in Lawrence to open a unique and multifaceted show at the Lawrence Arts Center. The show will be on display until October 1. “Baron Wolman is one of the unsung heroes of the early days of Rolling Stone,” said Jann Wenner, co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone. “As the magazine’s first photographer, he helped set its visual style and paved the way for those who followed him. Baron brought his craftsmanship and his sense of clarity to the graphics side of Rolling Stone. Together, we achieved a unique design spirit that remains with us today.” EVE RY PICTU RE T E LLS A STO RY, T H E R O L L ING STON E YE A RS HAS T H R E E DY N A M I C E LEM ENTS:
The first facet of the show is a Rolling Stone cover tribute. As the Chief Photographer of Rolling Stone, Baron Wolman’s work was featured on 21 covers of the iconic magazine. The exhibition will not only display many of the finished Rolling Stone covers created by Baron, but pristine shots of the cover images and the original contact sheet from which the image was selected. It will be an authentic behind-the-scenes look at how one image makes it to the cover. The second will be a show highlighting several of Baron’s images of the musicians (including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Van Morrison, Greg Allman, Grace Slick, The Band, Johnny Cash, BB King, Buddy Guy, Pete Townshend and the Rolling Stones). Some of these images have never been displayed before. These photographs
were taken at an unprecedented time of access to the artists and their lives — when photographers were considered extensions of the music world. The images are of the raw and unfiltered lives of the musicians, on and offstage. Projecting the beautiful, quiet, loud and sometimes harsh realities of a rock and roll lifestyle. Finally, Lawrence is a stop on Baron’s international tour for his new book: The Rolling Stone Years, Every Picture Tells a Story. With his role at the creation of the iconic magazine, Baron has a lot of stories to tell. He will share some of the remarkable stories of what went on behind the images. This show will kick off on August 25 with an “All Access Backstage Party” by invitation only for a sneak preview of the show and the opportunity to meet the photographer. Friday, August 26 is opening night for the gallery exhibition and will coincide with Lawrence’s Final Fridays celebration. Baron will be there to greet fans and to sign his book. On Saturday, August 27th at 2pm, Baron will share his stories and images from his years working for Rolling Stone. (General Admission. Free & open to the public. MUST have a ticket. Pick up tickets at LAC) The “Baron Wolman, Every Picture Tells a Story the Rolling Stone Years” exhibit, and all exhibits at the Lawrence Arts Center, is free to view.
plore and experiment will also feel free to invent, create, and find new ways to do things. ” The pre-school helps to raise well-rounded children that will grow to
THE LAWRENCE ARTS C E N T E R
become the social and business innovators of the future. T H E FUT URE
V ISIT: 940 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66044
Susan Tate is excited for the future in Lawrence. “It is the
CA L L : 785-843-2787
community that makes us strong, and business partnerships that help us grow,” Tate said. “As we head into the future, we know with the business community behind us, the Lawrence Arts Center can be a regional leader in community-based contemporary exhibitions programs, arts education, artist residencies, and performance.”
B R OWSE : LawrenceArtsCenter.org H O U R S: 9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. M-S | 1:00- 5:00 Sunday The Arts Center is a 501©3, making gifts tax deductible for their donors.
MILES FOR VIALS
A CALIFORNIA MEDICAL MANUFACTURER OPENS SHOP IN EAST LAWRENCE
by Daisy Wakefield
Kaveh Soofer is waxing sentimental about a first meeting with a 45,000 square foot industrial space in East Hills Business Park. You can hardly fault him for falling in love. The facility is in Lawrence, after all. And this town tends to have affect people in that way, even a local manufacturing plant. Soofer, the vice president of Plastikon Industries, says that the facility on Kansas Highway 10 is the perfect fit for a new plant to manufacture plastic vials. Plastikon, headquartered in San Francisco, is in its 28th year as an injection molding plastics manufacturer, with 8 plants in the US and 5 in Asia. Heading into a new market of pharmaceutical plastics, Soofer was frantically looking for a warehouse space to house a manufacturing plant using a “blow-fill-seal” technology. “I was in a panic late one night, searching on the Internet,” says Soofer, “And I came across this facility in Kansas that looked perfect for our needs. But I didn’t know anything about Kansas. All I knew was that it had tornadoes, and I didn’t want to jump from earthquakes to another natural disaster.” Soofer was relieved to learn that Lawrence is located in an indention in Kansas which shields it from most tornadoes. Still, he had to pitch the idea to the main client who was concerned about the earthquakes. “During our discussions about this location, there happened to be earthquakes in New York City and Florida that made the national news,” Soofer said. “But all was quiet in Kansas. So with that concern alleviated, I con-
tacted the broker and came to tour the facility with a consultant. We saw that this was a solid building that had the infrastructure that we needed — a large number of tanks, a good water system. It had good bones, basically.” Those good bones transferred ownership to Plastikon at the end of January and have received $2.5 million in renovations thus far. All available warehouse space has already been converted to the clean rooms, and before production has even begun, the plant is stretching the boundaries of capacity. With a “if we build it, they will come” philosophy, plans are underway to expand the existing facility or acquire more warehouse space in the business park.
While Plastikon expressed interest in locating in East Hills, Lawrence’s key economic developers have not played coy. The new business is bringing obvious benefits to the city’s economic base, with $7 million in capital investment for facility upgrades and equipment over a five-year period. Employment is to be boosted by 50 jobs in the first year, and 126 jobs in a five-year span, with an average wage of $42,000 per year. Plastikon received a $700,000 incentive from the Kansas Bioscience Authority, which allocates funds to attract and
support new bioscience initiatives in Kansas. The company did not seek tax abatements from the city, but rather asked for an incentive to help subsidize training costs at a total of $63,000, paid over five years. The funds, unanimously approved by the city’s Public Incentives Review Commission, will be split between the city and the county. Stacey Falco, Office Manager of the Lawrence branch, is already planning the expansion. “We plan to begin construction an additional warehouse by the first of next year,” Falco said. “We need, essentially, a big empty room to store the hundreds of thousand of vials we will be producing.” The vials will be completely produced, filled, stored and shipped from the East Hills location. “Really, it’s a self-contained business,” Falco said. “We will be entirely servicing one client with this facility.” Beth Johnson, Economic Director of Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, says, “Plastikon did not qualify to apply for a tax abatement, since the capital outlay did not meet that criteria. But offering an employee training incentive was a way that we could show them how much we wanted them here. Our hope is definitely to position Lawrence as a solid growth city for the biotech field, and Plastikon’s coming to Lawrence helps that significantly.” “This was a company that we wanted to have in Lawrence, as they would bring in the type of jobs that we wanted to attract,” said Mike Amyx, City Commissioner and Lawrence mayor during the transaction. “There was a lot of work done to make sure that they did locate here. We sold the community as a great place to do business, with a great pool of employment and a well-educated employment base. We also stressed that this is a continued partnership — we’ll be staying in contact with the company, and looking for ways to continually help them.”
And that employment base would be crucial, as Plastikon does all hiring locally, from office to manufacturing to management. In fact, with the exception of Soofer coming in from California at intervals to get the plant off the ground, all other positions are to be filled locally. Plastikon also sources all of its commercial needs locally. Lawrence engineers, architects, and construction crews have done all the building renovations. Local lawyers represent the company, and a local bank transacts their funds. “We intend to source as much as possible from the local community,” Soofer said. “If the people we hire are from this area, they’ll be more stable in the long term as they have a vested interest in where they live — much more so than if we brought in people from outside.” Soofer didn’t have to look far for his first employee, building maintenance manager and Lawrencian Charlie Garzillo. Part of the original construction crew that broke ground on the facility, Garzillo became the maintenance manager for original owner in 2003. Garzillo has rolled with the punches in each of the four ownership changes, maintaining the building through its empty states. “My goal has always been to keep the facilities as functional and operational as possible, so that it would be marketable,” Garzillo said. As an employer, Plastikon states “building trust and teamwork among our employees” as a critical value. This may sound like typical corporate-speak, but Soofer, an executive with a laid-back and approachable demeanor, does much to lend authenticity to the statement. For now, Soofer comes to Lawrence every few weeks to oversee the hiring and renovations. Eventually, Soofer’s trips here will taper off. But he isn’t in a hurry. “Lawrence is a great town — community-oriented, tightknit, great art scene, fabulous food,” Soofer said. “I’m never in a hurry to leave like I am on other business trips. I absolutely see why people want to live here.”
EAST LAWRENCE BUSI N ESS
One of the greatest risks businesses face today isn’t theft or fire, it isn’t lawsuits or regulations, but the loss of data. Data loss is actually a component of all those other risks and can amplify problems. While data loss is incredibly easy to protect against, a majority of business people aren’t adequately protected due to a combination of fear and ignorance. No matter what business you are in, you’ve got data. At the bare minimum, your financial records are a key piece of business data. Typically you’ve also got your email contacts, your customer lists, and your complete financial history. For those in intellectual property fields, your computer data includes product produced for you and by you. All this critical information is held inside a fragile device. When information is lost, you may be subject to lawsuits by vendors and clients, audits by the IRS, and a significant loss of ability to do business.
TECH N O LO GY
All computers fail. It’s a fact of physics and the way hard drives work. The hard drive, which stores your valuable business information, is a mechanical device like your car. Use it enough and it will break. Actually you don’t even need to use it because when the computer is turned on the drive is spinning and eventually it will fail. When I discuss backups with clients, the most common response is “our computers won’t fail.” That’s unfortunate,
AN Y BAC KU P SYSTE M M UST K EY CO M P O N E N TS: HAVE
1 ) Au to m a t i c Backup systems that aren’t automatic simply cannot be trusted. Humans make mistakes, they get busy and distracted. Murphy’s law dictates the time you forget to do the backup is not only the instance your computer fails but also at a mission-critical time (and because it was a mission-critical time, you were distracted and forgot to do the backup!) Honestly, if it’s not automatic, it really isn’t a backup.
2) Off- s i te While an automatic backup protects you from computer malfunctions, it doesn’t protect you against any maladies that could occur on site at your place of business. When disaster strikes, the impact is business-wide. A power surge, a flood, or a fire will damage your computer and the backup system sitting right next to the computer. This seems obvious, but when I’m meeting with clients and see a backup hard drive sitting right next to the computer I cringe a bit. Ideally, you take at least one backup off-site on a regular basis. This can be done by either swapping backup devices or constantly burning DVDs. However, per step one, if it requires human intervention it’s less likely to be done and therefore not as reliable. That’s one reason I prefer on-line backup services such as Mozy, Carbonite, and Crashplan. These systems are both automatic and keep your data safely away from your location. These services average only $5 - $7 a month and provide incredible piece of mind. However, they aren’t perfect, which leads to the most important part of any backup system
because, as mentioned earlier, all computers fail. Whether you use a Mac, defrag constantly, or avoid Facebook makes no difference. It’s only a matter of time. The second response I get is “I have nothing important on my computers.” If that’s true, then why are you even using a computer? In reality, even the smallest or most “analog” of businesses using computers have information that if lost, would impair their ability to make money.
3) Test ing I remember the old 80s slogan “trust but verify.” Uttered by President Reagan in relation to nuclear weapons, it’s applicable to many things in life and can be traced to an old Russian saying. It’s great you have an off-site backup system, but unless you test it, you don’t know if it will perform in a crisis. If you don’t know how to restore your files in a disaster, a backup system does you little good. It’s important you know the exact procedures of how to get your data back and you attempt to do so on a regular basis. Do you know the website to restore the files? Do you have the passwords? I recommend at least twice a year attempting to restore some of your critical data. This serves two purposes. First, it makes sure you actually know how to find your critical data and practice retrieval. Secondarily, this testing process verifies the proper stuff is being backed up and protected. No computer system is perfect (that’s why there are backups in the first place!) and subtle errors might creep in. An upgrade to an existing program, especially Quickbooks, can cause the location of the key data to move somewhere else. It’s best to tweak your backup before you actually need it. Computers are fragile and unreliable. That’s a fact. By developing a proper backup system that includes the three key elements will make sure your business can continue running when the inevitable occurs. You have insurance for your business and it’s time to protect your key business data as well.
LAWRENCE BUSINESS REAL ESTATE SNAPSHOT
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N EW B U SINESS REG I STE RE D WI TH THE SECR ETARY O F STAT E IN D O U GLAS COUN TY FOR J UNE, JU LY AND AU G U ST 201 1 1035 Weatherford, LLC 1758 N 200 Rd Baldwin City, KS 66006
Bauer Creek Farms, L.C. 1700 University Drive Lawrence, KS 66044
1A Bankruptcy Counseling, Inc. 300 Rockfence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Bk Rental, LLC 393 E 1400 Road Baldwin , KS 66006
Bns LLC 610 Florida Street Lawrence, KS 66044
9 Islands Distillery LLC 2917 Gill Ave Lawrence, KS 66047 A&H Management, LLC 828 Diamondhead Drive Lawrence, KS 66049
Abueink LLC 4716 Broadway Ct. Lawrence, KS 66049 Account Services Collections, Inc. 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Accucaretx, Inc. 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Acme Concrete Paving, Inc. 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049 Allen Asset Management, LLC 3514 Clinton Pkwy Lawrence, KS 66047 Apex Cigarette Factory LLC 2729 Ponderosa Drive Lawrence, KS 66046
Baldwin City Children’s Choir, Inc. 915 8Th Street Baldwin City, KS 66006
Bass Security Services, Inc. 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
By Grace Christian Ministries Church 2805 Harrison Ave. Lawrence, KS 66047
Concrete Expressions, LLC 3504 Clinton Pkwy Lawrence, KS 66045 Conner Medical, LLC 3509 Eagle Pass Ct. Lawrence, KS 66049
Corvesta Services Inc 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Exodus Lawn Service LLC 3819 Westland Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Fire Systems Technology Inc 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
It’s A Brand New Day, Inc. 2714 Maverick Lane Lawrence, KS 66046
JCS Energy, LLC 638 Illinois Lawrence, KS 66044
JJ Riverside Automotive LLC 3703 Elizabeth Ct. Lawrence, KS 66049
Joseph J. Henderson & Son, Inc. 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Kansas Cottonwood Cabins, LLC 909 E 14Th Street Eudora, KS 66025
Lawrence Laundry LLC 4528 Broadmoor Drive Lawrence, KS 66047
LHS Mat Backers, Inc. 2836 Maine Ct Lawrence, KS 66046
Law Office Of Michael Jilka, LLC 1040 New Hampshire Lawrence, KS 66044
Hard Target Systems, Inc 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Latiendita LLC 3022 Iowa St Lawrence , KS 66046
Han Distribution LLC. 1709 Sycamore Ct. Eudora, KS 66025
Insuradoc, Inc. 332 N Eaton Drive Lawrence, KS 66049
Kniep Rentals, L.L.C. 1118 Connecticut St. Lawrence, KS 66044
Geo Management, LLC 909 Congressional Dr Lawrence, KS 66049
Herron Inspection Services, LLC 4104 Doolittle Dr Lawrence, KS 66049
Hueser Family Properties, LLC 14825 S. Evening Star Road Eudora, KS 66025
Eclipse Therapy Solutions, LLC 300 Rockfence Place Lawrence, KS 66049 Eudora Chamber Of Commerce Association 12 East 7Th Street Eudora, KS 66025
Eberline Chiropractic LLC 3120 Mesa Way Lawrence, KS 66049
Horizon Homes, LLC 1646 George Williams Way Lawrence, KS 66047
DJT Student Housing Group, Inc. 1203 Iowa Street Lawrence, KS 66044
Holman Well Service, LLC 300 Rockfence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Dish One Satellite LLC 300 Rockfence Pl. Lawrence, KS 66049
Caring Hearts - Helping Hands LLC 872 N 1850 Rd Lecompton, KS 66050 CD Properties (CDP), LLC 4833 Nevada Road Baldwin City, KS 66006
Clinical Research Solutions, LLC 468 Hutton Circle Lawrence, KS 66049
Canterbury Merchandising LLC 4525 Broadmoor Dr. Lawrence, KS 66047
CNN Mobile Pet Salons, LLC 1484 Marilee Drive Lawrence, KS 66049
Aura Tech LLC 4408 W 24 Pl Lawrence, KS 66047
Bare Skincare, LLC 1109 New York Street Lawrence, KS 66044
CDL Repair LLC 2261 Republic Road Lawrence, KS 66044
Dark Star Investments, LLC 2916 Rimrock Dr. Lawrence, KS 66047 DBIQ, LLC 2212 Greenbrier Drive Lawrence, KS 66047
C&M Firearms LLC 3204 W 24 Terrace Lawrence , KS 66047
Cummings Consulting, Inc 1413 Stone Meadows Lawrence, KS 66049
LV LLC 437 Hutton Circle Lawrence , KS 66049
Martyrdom Films, LLC 309 Parker Circle Lawrence, KS 66049
Orthopedic Resources, Inc. 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
Mary C. Markowitz Consulting, LLC 1725 Bobwhite Drive Lawrence, KS 66047
Orthowertz, P.A. 907 Arkansas Lawrence, KS 66044
Pulse Aerospace LLC 2402 Lancaster Drive Lawrence, KS 66049
Massage Specific LLC 1004 Congressional Court Lawrence, KS 66049
Radix Development, LLC 2300 Wakarusa Dr Lawrence, KS 66047
Mcasphalt Industries Limited 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049 Melissa Spurlock Studios, LLC 4217 Goldfield Street Lawrence, KS 66049 Mike Sounds Like LLC 1421 W 2Nd Terrace Lawrence, KS 66044
MJ International LLC 1420 Anthony Michael Dr. Lawrence, KS 66049 Monster Kiting LLC 2708 Meadow Dr. Lawrence, KS 66047
Ra-Sal Resale, LLC 1104 E. 24Th Terr. Lawrence, KS 66046
Rbar LLC 610 Florida Street Lawrence , KS 66044 Seven LLC 4105 6Th Street Lawrence, KS 66049
Showpro Audio LLC 2450 Jasu Drive Lawrence, KS 66046
Snyder Creative Services, LLC 3419 Harvard Road Lawrence, KS 66049 Speece Lewis Engineers, Inc. 2520 West 24Th Terrace Lawrence, KS 66047 Stadium View, LLC 5812 Robinson Drive Lawrence, KS 66049 Stallworth Law Office, LLC 719 Massachusetts Street Lawrence, KS 66044 Streetlight Illuminations, LLC 415 Whitfield Lecompton, KS 66050 Studio Panacheâ€™, LLC 1709 Lake Alvamar Drive Lawrence, KS 66047 Sudlow Family, LLC 1604 Union Road Lawrence, KS 66044 Surville Enterprises Corp. 300 Rock Fence Place Lawrence, KS 66049
The Big House LLC 1500 N. 3Rd Lawrence , KS 66044
Think Education LLC Rr 829 Lawrence, KS 66044
Trevino & Rockwell LLC 1201 Wakarusa Drive Lawrence , KS 66049 Trevino Law Group, LLC 1311 Wakarusa Drive Lawrence, KS 66049
Value Copacking LLC 4101 W 6Th Street Lawrence, KS 66049 Warhawk Defense LLC 1405 N 960 Road Lawrence, KS 66046
Whiskey Creek Tavern LLC 1512 Savage Street Eudora, KS 66025
Wisler Law Office, Lc 1311 Wakarusa Dr, Suite 2200 Lawrence, KS 66049
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CO N T R IB UTORS : VOLUME 1 NO.1
DEBBI JOHANNING, JOE RYAN, DAISY WAKEFIELD, DAVE GREENBAUM, ANN FRAME HERTZOG, STEVEN HERTZOG, EILEEN HAWLEY
FOUR BIRDS MEDIA
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Highlighting the best of business in Lawrence, Kansas. Features unique look at local business owners and spotlights the successful business...
Published on Sep 1, 2011
Highlighting the best of business in Lawrence, Kansas. Features unique look at local business owners and spotlights the successful business...