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Volume 8, Issue 7

N o r t h eas t K a ns as E n te r p r is e F ac il i tat i o n I n i t ia t iv e

July 2012

E N T R E PR E N E U R S POT L I G H T Summer Fun Provided by Dark River Outfitters!

Project Outcomes: (June 2, 2003 to June 30, 2012

      

Total Clients Assisted: 786 Businesses Started: 65 Businesses Expanded: 19 Jobs Created: 252 Businesses Retained: 10 Jobs Retained: 68 Tune-Ups of Existing Businesses: 64

For more information contact: Facilitator Teresa McAnerney (785) 364-0583

Board Chair David Key (785) 336-2184


Trying to beat the heat and have some outdoor fun? No need to break the bank and drive hours for a great float trip. Dark River Outfitters is located in Troy, Kansas, just a short drive from multiple access points on the Missouri River. They also have acquired 5 acres located on the Platte River near Edgerton, Mo. It is the take out point for our floats on the Platte River. Owner Casey Rush explains “We do family friendly float trips on the Platte River, and guided float trips on the Missouri River. We also offer guided Kayak fishing trips in Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri.” Rush is a trained and certified paramedic for the St. Joseph Fire Department and has always enjoyed being outdoors hunting and fishing, so this was a natural fit as an entrepreneur. When he was developing his plan he called Teresa McAnerney with Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation. “Casey knew his trade and had some solid plans in the making, he wanted to do everything by the book which is so smart when beginning any venture” says McAnerney. When asked about where he came up with the name of his company, Rush

explained “the term Dark River comes from one of the lesser known nicknames for the Missouri River.” He adds, “We are the only outfitter on the Platte River and one of the few on the Missouri River. We can take groups up to 25. We offer a high quality,safe, family friendly experience.” Paddles, life vests, litter bags, and shuttle to river drop off/pick-up points are provided for all of the float trips booked through Dark River Outfitters. On the Missouri River they offer floats from 6 miles all the way up to 50 miles. The river flows along at 3-4 miles per hour. At that speed you can (Continued on Page 2)

Upcoming Events August 2, 2012 NEKEF Board Meeting 6:00 pm Dinner / Meeting The Settle Inn 1615 North Street Seneca, KS Page 1

September 6, 2012

September 12-14

NEKEF Board Meeting 6:00 pm Dinner/Meeting To be determined

Sirolli Fall Forum Keynote– Sept. 12 7:00 pm Ferrell Academic Center Benedictine Campus Atchison, KS

N o r t h eas t K a ns as E n te r p r is e F ac il i tat i o n I n i t ia t iv e

Volume 8, Issue 7

July 2012

E N T R E PR E N E U R S POT L I G H T (Continued from Page 1)

Dark River Outfitters- Enjoy Your Summer Rollin’ on the River

cover about 25 miles in 8 hours without paddling. The Missouri River trips range from a couple hours long to a few days long depending on what you would like. They offer floats anywhere between White Cloud Kansas and Atchison Kansas. All Missouri River trips are guided to ensure your safety. They arrange for camping on private land along the river. There may be a fee for the camping depending on the landowner, providing you with directions to the pick-up point after you make reservations. Discounts for Scouts, Church groups, Fire/EMS, Police, and Military.

L to

Make reservations call: (913)-426-5111 email Visit for complete information on services, rates and locations. Like Dark River Outfitters on Facebook Please consider Dark River Outfitters when planning your next trip!


BG Buzzzzz CHANGE ALWAYS BRINGS PROGRESS Grimm’s Gardens Goodness! How we wish all of you could have been present one recent By Betty/Gary Lortscher afternoon and into the evening as Doug Grimm described the incubation and growth of Grimm’s Gardens. Talk about knowledge, morality, passion, enthusiasm, and energy; Grimm has them all! One day while still in high school, Grimm ordered a new $4,000 sports car from Bill Lehman, the local Pontiac dealer in Sabetha. Lehman asked Grimm how he was going to pay for the car. Grimm replied that since he was soon graduating, his dad would surely be paying him more. Lehman asked if Doug’s dad knew about the car. Grimm said, “No.” Lehman asked, “Will there be a problem?” Grimm replied, “No, I don’t think so.” Grimm says today, indeed a little more planning would have been helpful. In the 1980’s, Doug and Jeryl Grimm were talking with Jeryl’s father about leaving the family farm corporation and when asking for his advice, her father, Phil, commented R: “Change always brings progress.” Doug and Jeryl took that as an encouragement to leave the family dairy operation which included Doug’s father and three brothers. Doug and Jeryl launched their own business in 1984. The first year, 1984, was a good year for livestock and farming. As their family of seven children grew (five sons and two daughters), it became apparent more earning revenue activities were needed. Page 2

Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation Entrepreneur Spotlight July, 2012 continued

Below: Sons Glen and Galen Grimm, Dad Doug Grimm, Sons Kurt and Ted Grimm Kansas State University was contacted and came to their farm and listened to Grimm’s ideas of expanding into a greenhouse retail center. After doing a feasibility study, K-State threw cold water on that idea and suggested hydroponic tomatoes. Grimm diversified into hydroponic production of tomatoes and at one time sold tomatoes to 14 stores as far west as Marysville and as far east as Lawrence. One day Jeryl asker her husband if she could have a small corner of one of the greenhouses so flowers could be produced. Customers would then have something other than tomatoes to purchase. Thus the beginning of Grimm’s Gardens as is known today started. As the retail sale of flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees grew and flourished, various trade shows were attended. At one such show in 2003, the presenter stated that in the Midwest, colorful sugar Maple trees did not exist. Grimm remembered, as a kid, riding with his parents as they viewed the beautiful and colorful Hiawatha maple trees. This experience was shared with the speaker. The speaker became excited and so did Grimm. A plan was drawn up. One part of the plan was developing a balloting system whereby citizens of Hiawatha nominated their most beautiful tree. Twelve trees were nominated; Grimm observed these trees for leaf tatter, leaf scorch, etc. Two trees were finally selected. The Associate Press (AP) did an article about this project. Help was solicited from an Oklahoma nurseryman who arrived with 325 root stocks to which 325 buds were grafted. The future looked bright. However, only one graft took and that tree died a year later. The next year, Grimm tried grafting 50 buds himself, of which none survived again. Grimm did not give up; he worked with a professor and a K-State graduate student in developing ‘test tube’ trees from tissue cultures. Initially, this option looked promising, but the roots never developed from the callous. The graduate student moved on, as well as the professor; Grimm asked for the tubes to continue this project, but they had disappeared and no one knew where anything had gone. Another dream of developing a beautiful tree had ended. While attending a seminar in Wichita, a presenter was talking about introducing new trees. While milling around following the seminar, the presenter representing J. Frank Schmidt and Grimm crossed paths (J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Oregon, is one of the country's leading suppliers and introducers of superior trees). The presenter spied “Hiawatha” on Grimm’s name tag and asked if Grimm knew the landscaper who was attempting to develop the colorful Hiawatha sugar maple trees. Grimm, presumably grinned as a spark was reignited. Scion wood from the two trees Grimm had earlier selected was sent to Oregon. Expectations jumped. 2007 was devastating for trees in Northeast Kansas because of a really bad ice storm. Grimm was able to navigate downed power lines, trees, limbs, etc. to check on ‘his’ two trees, as well as several of the State Champion trees growing in Hiawatha. The branches on one of the selected sugar maple trees were severely broken, devastating the tree as well as almost all the trees close to the one tree that is now known as the

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Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation Entrepreneur Spotlight July, 2012 continued

Oregon Trail Sugar Maple. The Oregon Trail tree was spotted, branches were to the ground because of ice, but not broken. A picture of this ice laden tree was sent to J. Frank Schmidt with expectations of hearing that this tree had been selected for distribution. Not a word was heard. Grimm concluded that he was not destined to get royalties from tree distribution. Later, while working on a landscape project, post hole diggers were digging holes to receive trees; suddenly the dirt was falling back into the holes. Dejected because of locating a cavern, Grimm was sitting and contemplating what to do next. His phone rang and it was from Keith Warren, the Wichita presenter from J. Frank Schmidt. Warren indicated Grimm had not been contacted while his trees were being further evaluated but 100% of buds from one tree were successful, unheard of when the average is perhaps 75% success. One tree, when subjected to the Western climate became diseased; however, the one ‘strong’ ice laden tree was the ‘exceptional’ tree and, therefore, had been chosen for distribution. Grimm named this tree the Oregon Trail tree (Acer saccharum “Hiawatha”). As a side note Grimm is well known with respect to the Kansas Champion Tree Program. Grimm has traveled over many parts of the State of Kansas following leads and looking for some of the state’s largest trees of any given species. Having found and measured a number of State Champion and a couple of National Champion trees, Grimm’s interest in selecting trees that can live a long time and withstand various storms has helped him to recommend long-living trees for his customers. Grimm showed us through his many greenhouses, outside tree/shrub areas, drove us around his 25 acre arboretum and around his berry and fruit picking areas. He pointed out many trees he is testing, including a thornless and hedge ball free male Osage Orange tree; one of which is growing just outside the back door to their home. Customers are encouraged to drive through and note the trees of interest. Each tree’s description can then be researched. Grimm showed us his landscaping, including a unique fish pond which is beautifully clear of algae. A walnut tree grows at the edge of the pond and walnuts dropping in the pond controls algae growth. Pictured Above: Jeryl and Doug Grimm Native plants, shrubs, and trees are a part of Grimm Gardens. One can peruse herbs and ‘old’ flowers which Jeryl planted in memory of her mother. On their web site:, one can enjoy all of the above and more, including stories, videos and pictures of landscaping ideas, monthly plant, shrub, and tree care, environmental solutions, and berry and fruit picking times. Final note: after the hydroponic tomato enterprise and after the retail greenhouse flowers – remember the K -State experts that threw cold water on the idea of retailing –the flower, shrub and tree business is now growing, Jeryl’s father commented on the success and asked what inspired you to do this? Grimm said it was because of you. Jeryl’s father said “Really?” Grimm repeated what he had heard his father-in-law say, “Change always brings progress.” Jeryl’s father then indicated he had really meant to say “Change always brings problems.” A good laugh was heard. Story by BG BUZZ, i.e. Betty & Gary Lortscher 27 June 2012

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Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation's Entrepreneur Spotlight July 2012  

NEKEF's Entrepreneur Spotlight features Dark River Outfitters a new outdoor adventure business and Grimm's Gardens are the star of Betty and...