GE Magazine 2022

Page 1

Go from Earthbound to Airborne at the

KC Air Show


Yawa & Co Former chemist turned soap maker uses skills for good

One Million Meals Meet the team that brought one million meals to USD 231

Chamber Listing A membership index, member spotlight and an economic profile on the city of Gardner

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welcome Dear Readers, Another year has come and gone, and we here at Sunflower Publishing are excited to be back with the 2022 issue of GE Magazine. In collaboration with Gardner Chamber of Commerce, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring you an issue that showcases the strength and continued growth in the Gardner area. This issue touches on Yawa & Co, Sauer Brands Inc., and many other businesses in the community, big and small, that have left footprints in and around the community. We also chat with Gardner Historical Museum volunteers about the long history of banking in Gardner, as well as the USD 231 team members who provided more than one million meals to area students during the pandemic. And lastly, follow along with contributing writer Rachel C. Murphy as she spends the day experiencing the 2021 KC Air Show with her family. There’s a lot of exciting new material in this issue, and I’m honored to get to work with this community again. Every year, this community inspires me with its ability to step up during hard times. A special thanks to Gardner Chamber President and CEO Jason Camis, Gardner Historical Museum and our wonderful contributors, who made this issue possible.

All the best, Kalli, editor

Go from Earthbound to Airborne at the

KC Air Show

Yawa & Co Former chemist turned soap maker uses skills for good

One Million Meals Meet the team that brought one million meals to USD 231

Chamber Listing A membership index, member spotlight and an economic profile on the city of Gardner


on the cover Tag along with writer Rachel C. Murphy as she spends the day at the KC Air Show with her family. Photograph by Nick Krug


When it comes to your to-do list, put your future first. To find out how to get your financial goals on track, contact your Edward Jones financial advisor today.



Kalli Jo Smith

Designer/Art Director

Copy Editor

Leslie Andres


Angie Taylor

Alex Tatro

Aaron Wyant

Financial Advisor

Contributing Writers

Ian Brannan Debbie Leckron Miller Lucas Shivers Bob Luder Rachel C. Murphy


Bill Uhler


Bob Cucciniello


ontributing Photographers Nick Krug C Reeves Photo Co.

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GARDNER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 109 E. Main St | PO Box 402 Gardner, KS 66030 | 913.856.6464

President | CEO

Jason E Camis

Member Relations

Alyssa Petrik

Member Relations

Stacy Boyajian

GE Magazine is a publication of Sunflower Publishing, a division of Ogden Publications, Inc.


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departments 6

features 20

from the chamber 35




Spectators of all ages witness magical

A greeting from Gardner

Honoring the masked heroes who

machines go from earthbound to airborne.

Chamber of Commerce




served the USD 231 community during the pandemic




Shawnee Copy Center Inc. and

How a company on the East Coast

Prairie Center Meats

small business spotlight

found its way to the Midwest




Chemist turned soap maker touches on life leading to new career

A guide to businesses and services








Banking heritage in Gardner runs deep

All about the Gardner area





One Million Meals

Honoring the masked heroes who served the USD 231 community during the pandemic Story by Ian Brannan Photography by Reeves Photo Co.


s part of its pandemic response efforts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided nationwide waivers that allowed all children to receive nutritious meals for free starting in March 2020. This response to the Covid-19 pandemic allowed for Nutrition Services at USD 231 to provide meals in creative ways due to the closing of schools. With only a few days to prepare, Nutrition Services began providing each student with 7 meals once a week at curbside, and they continued to serve meals until July 27, 2021—serving nearly 1.6 million meals in total, including to some of the elementary kids who eventually returned to the classroom. “It really is a testament to the amazing team that I have, and they are so focused on making sure that they provided for the kids,” director of Nutrition Services Amy Droegemeier says. “That was never more evident than when we went through this. I don’t think my staff knew how much they could do until they did it, and looking back, we are just amazed.” The daily kits were packaged so that kids, especially older elementary and younger middle school, could help themselves without needing help from parents, garnering appreciation for Nutrition Services’ hard work and creativity. Parents wrote letters of thanks, and kids gifted drawings and thank you notes throughout the uncertain time. “You get to know the families from seeing them on a regular basis,” says lead cook Monica Brungardt. “We love the notes, cards, the pets, and the stuffed pets. Chipmunk included.” Droegemeier admitted to a rough start, explaining that Covid mitigation protocols limited staff to only 10 people in the building, with staff required to remain six feet apart as understanding of the virus was limited. However, as time went on, Nutrition Services got a routine down, and as the virus was better understood, mitigation strategies were modified. She added that the parents offered grace and patience that were greatly needed and appreciated.


“We got to know our families a little bit better,” Droegemeier says. “That’s one thing I don’t necessarily get to see. I don’t get to see the children in their family environment. Neither does my staff, but we got to know some of our families and have some amazing relationships with parents and grandparents and kids.” USD 231 office clerk Amanda Sandman recalls how incredible it was to see people band together. “Prior to the pandemic we had all been in our own little schools, doing our thing, and when the pandemic hit, it was really cool to see how everyone came together with their strengths and how people balanced out somebody else’s weaknesses, and it was amazing,” she says. “That first curbside pickup we did, I was like, ‘this isn’t going to work. We can’t sustain this. There’s no way we can do this,’ and by the next week we had served even more, and we ended up being able to do it out of three schools, and each of us in the office kind of headed up a certain location and got to bond with some of our staff and people that we otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to.” Nutrition Services kept things fun throughout the pandemic with giveaways, recipe kits where kids could make their own meals at home, and a luau-themed curbside pickup where Droegemeier dressed up as a shark. “It was fun,” Trail Ridge Middle School cafeteria manager Janet Oswald says. “I am happy that maybe we can get back to a little bit of normal, but it was nice that we accomplished this. It felt good.” Nutrition Services returned to regular school hours on August 12, 2021, and though things are still not quite normal, being back in session has been a refreshing step forward for the crew. “The thing I think is the best thing is that we get to see the kids,” Gardner Edgerton High School Nutrition Services manager Brenda Cloud says. “When we first started the first couple of weeks, there were no masks. It was really good to see their faces. We’re back to masks, but that’s okay because we

We love the notes, cards, the pets, and the stuffed pets. Chipmunk included.

know who the kids are. Seeing them every day with their smiles— you can tell when people are smiling, even with the mask on.” Cloud added that though she hopes to get back to normal, she will take this “normal”—where she gets to work with her full crew and see all the students come down the line—over the uncertainty of the past 18 months. Others at USD 231 are also feeling better about their work environment. Nutrition Services operation manager Hadyn Thomas is proud to be a part of their team. “I used to make fun of people who said they love their job, and they love going to work every day, but now I’m actually one of those people, and I’m like, ‘okay, I get it now,’” Thomas says. “When you have a team of people around you that jump in and do whatever it takes to get the job done, it doesn’t feel like work so much, it just feels like a team pitching in to help a better cause that’s beyond their own needs, and that feels really good.” Nutrition Services is looking forward to getting more creative with meals in the future as restrictions ease and as they continue to provide quality meals for the students of USD 231.



Meet the Team Amy Droegemeier Director

Janet Oswald Cafeteria Manager

Monica Brungardt

Hadyn Thomas

Sally Smith

Amanda Sandman

Lead Cook

Brenda Cloud

Nutrition Assistant

Cafeteria Manager


Operations Manager

Office Clerk

small business spotlight


small business spotlight

Yawa & Co

Chemist turned soap maker touches on life leading to new career Story by Debbie Leckron Miller Photography by Reeves Photo Co.


iji Pineapple, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Cranberry Orange and Toasted Pumpkin Spice sound more like choices on a decadent dessert menu than a lineup of bath and body products. However, those natural and nourishing (and yes, delicious-smelling) skin-care creations are exactly what chemist Yawa Mensah is mixing up in her Gardner kitchen these days. In 2020, Mensah traded in the lab coat she wore as a chemist at a Kansas City drugtesting company for the apron she now ties on in her basement studio. Geared up with goggles and gloves, Mensah measures, mixes and tests to come up with the soaps, body creams, scrubs and shower gels that she makes using her own healthy formulas. Mensah was born and raised in Togo, West Africa, where she spoke the native Ewe as well as French and English. After high school graduation and her father’s retirement from work at the United States Embassy, she and her family moved to the U.S. She attended community college in Minnesota before graduating with a chemistry degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 2013. There, a lady selling homemade soap at a market introduced her to the process and sparked her interest. “I ended up in a chemistry lab in college, learning the chemical reactions of soap making,” she recalls. After graduation, Mensah moved to Kansas City to marry her husband, Fabio, also from Togo. She worked in animal- and human-health laboratories for several years while making soaps and lotions for her family in her free time. Needing a change in pace from her busy 14-hour workdays and

time spent away from Fabio and their two sons, Kayden and Noah, Mensah knew it was only a matter of time before she took her hobby full-time. “No one knew about my products besides my family,” she says. “I decided it was about time to get those out there for people to try and see how good they are.” In the beginning, relieving her son’s eczema was her number one goal. “After trying many different products on the market, most of which didn’t work, I worked to create a healthy formula that was conditioning to the body and would relieve his itching,” she says about her successful blend. Mensah launched Yawa & Co in 2020, selling her soaps and body butters online and at area craft shows. Due to customer demand, she’s added scrubs and shower gels to her lineup, always scientifically researching, testing and mixing ingredients to come up with the healthiest natural blend. “I’m always watching for chemicals that are bad for the body,” she explains. “All my products are free of paraben, which can be toxic, and I make a conscious effort to not use palm oil because it destroys palm trees.” Aromas wafting from her basement studio hint that she’s mixing up Cranberry Orange soap that day, or that Black Raspberry Vanilla is curing on the drying rack. Everything is made from scratch. “I don’t buy bases and add things to it. I buy every single ingredient, formulate it and make the product. From start to finish, it’s made by me and each individual item touched by me.” She hand-cuts her soap, for instance, into 4- to 5-ounce bars and wraps them with


a label that lists ingredients and instructions for use. Customers can count on the scent lasting. “I want my scents to last as long as you use the bar,” Mensah says, adding that she uses white clay to retain the fragrance. Yawa & Co’s stock changes with the seasons. Toasted Pumpkin Spice and Marshmallow Fireside are among fall favorites, followed by holiday-scented Joy and a delicious Winter Solstice blend of pineapple, pine needles and cotton candy. Best-sellers throughout the year range from Cocoa Butter Cashmere made with cocoa, jasmine and a rich vanilla scent to Black Raspberry Vanilla. “I can’t keep that one [Cocoa Butter Cashmere] in stock,” Mensah notes. “I don’t know what it is about it, but people go crazy.” Another she can’t make enough of is called Oats & Honey. This product is especially soothing to skin and good for eczema sufferers, as are many of her blends. Previously, Mensah’s customer Rachel Williams couldn’t use scented soaps or lotions because her sensitive skin would break out into hives or painful eczema rashes. “It’s been so long since I was able to use fragrant products,” Williams says. “My skin doesn’t break out with Yawa’s soaps, body butter and body oil, and I can finally use nice-smelling products.” Among Williams’ favorite scents are Winter Solstice soap, Whipped Chocolate and Peppermint body butter and Lemon Pound Cake body oil. “[Winter Solstice soap] just makes my whole bathroom smell lovely,” Williams adds. “[Lemon Poundcake body oil] because I just love the smell of desserts.”

Mensah combines her expertise in chemistry and her love for helping people to create clean bath and body products to hydrate sensitive skin.

Back in the kitchen for another day of stirring up her healthy compounds, the chemist beams about the overwhelming feedback she’s received from the community. “It warms my heart every time someone comes back and tells me how much the products are helping them and that they genuinely enjoy them. It reinforces what I’m doing, for sure,” Mensah says. To order online, visit or look for Yawa & Co at area craft shows.


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designs, textures, and color and scent combinations. For starters, though, equipment includes a mixing bowl, immersion blender, spatula, scale, mold to pour the soap into, apron, goggles, gloves and protective eyewear. Then, purchase granulated lye at a hardware store and your choice of oil (such as olive, hemp seed, coconut, shea butter) and fragrance at a grocery or hobby store. Mensah uses the cold-processed method, so there’s no cooking required. Specific recipes vary based on ingredients you choose, but in general, Mensah dissolves the lye in water, blends it with the oil, and then adds the colorants and scents. Next, she pours the mixture into the mold to set for 24 hours before unmolding and cutting into individual bars. Allow the bars to cure on a rack for four to six weeks before using. Mensah posts videos on Facebook detailing her processes. “I love watching the videos Yawa makes when she is creating her soaps,” Williams says. “It’s mesmerizing watching her pour the soap into molds and then press in those fancy designs on top. I also love how she shows the color changes as the soap ages. I find the whole process intriguing and her creativity in making all those different scents and designs astonishing.”


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single-story brick building with double glass doors and concrete arches, the first Gardner Central Bank of the Midwest main branch stands at 109 East Main Street. Across from City Hall in Gardner’s downtown, the bank has a heritage that spans decades as it continues to grow and deliver modern services in the community. The building also houses the Gardner Chamber of Commerce. “Having a solid financial sector, Gardner stands strong,” says Jason Camis, president and CEO of Gardner Chamber of Commerce. “Banks won’t move to a community where there are no assets. Each bank in our community offers a new opportunity with loans and special projects.” Camis says the community remains fortunate to have local, regional and national branches of banks to serve its citizens.


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“The blessing of Gardner’s geographic area allows for satellite options of larger Kansas City-based headquarters and also local banks,” Camis says. Central’s story blends the local flavor and history with the larger options of banking trends to focus on serving people with precision.

Early Start

Above: An ad for Farmers Bank circa early 1900s. The bank opened on January 2, 1895.


Known first as Farmers Bank, then First Kansas Bank, Central Bank in Gardner has a long history that dates back a few generations, says Claude Steed, who worked for the original Farmers Bank through the two name changes from 1972 until he retired in 2011. Steed also serves as a volunteer for the Gardner Historical Museum. Farmers Bank opened for business on January 2, 1895, in downtown Gardner. One of the earliest institutions in town, the bank had its first location in the second block of East Main, on the north side of the street, just to the east of the Bigelow-Foster Mercantile, according to records provided by Brad Rankin, volunteer for the Gardner Historical Museum. Ten years later, in 1905, Farmers Bank relocated to a new building, cited as one of the first substantial masonry structures in the downtown district. The new location was on the northwest corner in the downtown district, according to survey report provided by the Kansas State Historical Society. Shortly after, the Masonic building was reconstructed in brick on the southeast corner in 1907. Construction of the Bigelow-Foster Mercantile, perched on the northeast corner, took place in 1912, followed by construction of Gardner State Bank on the southwest corner of the intersection of Main and Elm streets. According to the survey report provided by Kansas State Historical Society, “These four buildings still define the center of the

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We do more online and so the branch experience has been updated. Gardner downtown district.” “ Fa r m e r s Bank and Gardner State Bank served the local community as rivals until the early 1930s,” Steed says. “Then, Farmers Bank purchased the assets of Gardner State as well as those of a bank in a nearby town, the Edgerton State Bank.” The bank’s sound management allowed it to survive the Depression when others failed. “During that time, some officers and board members were very active in promoting the WPA [Work Project Administration] project that built Gardner Lake and thus provided the city with a new reliable water source that would last for many years,” Steed says. For decades, Farmers Bank continued to support the community through wars, highs and lows, and shifts in the nation. Then, in the mid-1980s, Farmers Bank was sold, and the name changed to First Kansas Bank. “With new ownership came a new management style and a business emphasis moving away from a rural family bank to becoming a fartherreaching commercial bank,” Steed says. Eventually, a bank-holding company purchased the First Kansas Bank, and it became a branch of the Central Bank of the Midwest in 2009. There are currently more than 50 Central Bank branches around the U.S. Built in 1967, the flagship location for the Central Bank main branch on 109 East Main Street supported changes to the interior design and efficiency with an outside expansion of multiple drive-thru lanes. In 2006, the bank’s growth allowed for a second location known as Central

Bank’s New Century Branch to open, which sits at 900 East Main Street.

Efficiency with Technology Central’s legacy relies on the longstanding role of making work meaningful and keeping current with advanced technology implementations. “During the early years, bank management was always receptive to new products and technology, being one of the first banks of our size to have its own computer for data processing,” Steed says. Jennings started working at the local bank in 1973 in the lobby with new accounts and as a front-line teller. “When we got a computer in-house, I started working with bookkeeping,” Jennings says. “I was in the data process when we started processing our own data. I just retired this year.” As the bank navigated the changes in banking laws and the handling of loans, likewise, Jennings saw mostly the changes in the bookkeeping areas of the operation. “We saw so many reports with a lot of hand posting,” Jennings says. “We manually filed checks but then went to electronic reading on the micker line, that bottom line where it shows the routing and account number. There was a new machine that scanned that line and told the computer to put the money in the right spot. It really sped up the process of documents.” As technology advances, online banking trends continue to evolve to support security and mobile-friendly options.


Positive Difference The shift from a locally owned bank to a commercial bank was a dramatic change, but Gardner residents made sure the bank kept to its roots and its connection to local people. “[The bank] being owned and operated by people who lived in Gardner [allowed for] maintaining an interest in the community [to come] naturally,” Steed says. “Many members of the staff from top to bottom belonged to local civic groups and organizations and were encouraged to do so.” Bank employees from Gardner also had children in the Gardner Edgerton school system, allowing for additional support to the schools and organizations within them. “The bank was aware of the needs of the community and was an active supporter of these organizations and community activities,” Steed says.

Facing the Future The transitions of banks like Central reflect the contemporary demands of the industry. “Banking has changed so much over the years,” Camis says. “We do more online and so the branch experience has been updated. In my mind, it’s great for some segments of the population to go to a branch, but banks now support both visits in person and [online].” Moving forward, the banks of Gardner will continue taking steps of serving their neighbors. “I think the evolution will continue,” Camis says. “There may be more virtual tellers and ways to see the banking industry find ways to serve both younger and traditional audiences.”


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Spectators of all ages witness magical machines go from earthbound to airborne


remember it clearly—craning my head backward to look up, up, up as the tiny arrows flew wing tip to wing tip, carving circles and slashes across a cerulean sky. I’m six, maybe seven, and the Thunderbirds are showing off at the annual air show at RichardsGebaur Air Force Base. I can imagine the smiles on the pilots’ faces despite the concentration such maneuvers require. At my nascent stage of self-awareness, I can’t comprehend the amount of self-confidence and bravery it takes to defy the laws of physics, but they do. Flash forward a few decades, and another blonde head cranes upward, as my daughter stares at the same jets but with different pilots. Richards-Gebaur shuttered in 1994, but the spirit of aeronautical pride lives on through the KC Air Show, held at the New Century AirCenter this summer. My family has a history in the Air Force. My father served as a photographer, and my sister was a pilot. There’s truly nothing as terrifying as watching the younger sister who scared you behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla piloting a 49-ton aircraft, but she was pretty good at it. I never served. I preferred my time on a plane to come with a pack of peanuts and a choice of beverages. However, my admiration for aviation field is continuous and infectious. Both my fiveyear-old, Iris, and my two-year-old, Indra, love spotting planes, so walking through the gates to the air show was thrilling. My husband, who loves anything with an engine, and the fabled and experienced Pop [Grandpa], were added to the mix. July in the Midwest isn’t for the faint-hearted, but the heat only simmered as we walked through the gates that morning. We quickly forgot the heat when we saw all that lay before us: biplanes, jets, helicopters and more. My seasoned air show eyes began cataloging what to head to first. Theirs just went wide with unparalleled glee.

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“Mama, look!” they called out over and over. These were better than the planes we spot from our backyard, close to the airport. These were up close and personal. First stop? The Geico Skytypers Airshow team fleet. When you’re just over three feet tall, even a modest plane seems intimidating. One of the Geico pilots crossed to greet my girls, handing them backpacks and offering to let them see inside the cockpit. Iris balked, scared to be up so high on the outside of a plane. Indra clambered closer, fascinated with the sea of switches and dials. Perhaps there’s a future pilot in the making there. The beauty of the KC Air Show is the variety; there’s something for everyone. Huey helicopters were available for walkthroughs in the main staging area, or you could view the Shelby American “Mustang Corral,” as my husband did. Sleek lines and powerful engines are tantalizing, even when earthbound. Want to see if you have what it takes ® to make Ground muster in the U.S. Army? Soldiers were standing by, ready to challenge guests to a pushup competition, despite the growing heat. From humble more Then there were the educational exhibits beginnings for visitors to experience. Rise Above: The Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail than 40 years ago to an Exhibit paid respects to the brave Black men who gave their instantly recognized all during World War II. Another exhibit highlighted womenname in the Air Force, who may be more common now, but weren’t today, FedEx Ground is a leader in the early 1940s. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) exhibit was an enlightening in lookcost-effective, at how women made an package impact long before society recognized their ingenuity and ground shipping. technical skill. Even with these up close and personal experiences (and maybe a sno-cone or two), the main reason any of us are here is to see these magnificent machines fly. The show opened with the U.S. Army Golden Knights as they jumped from airplanes to deliver the flag to the concourse. My daughters were mesmerized. It was the first time they had

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Mini but Mighty: Tom Larkin and Mini Jet Air Shows

Flying is in Tom Larkin’s blood. After watching his father teach flight lessons on the weekends at his local airport, he received his pilot’s license at 19 and went pro by joining the United States Air Force at 21. What began as a weekend hobby quickly became a lifelong career. Larkin’s time in the Air Force was eventful. He flew F-15Cs for 15 years, including in the Persian Gulf conflict, but transitioned to a more family-friendly flight path after the birth of his twins. He became a commercial pilot, but speed and aerobatics are hard habits to kick. Then he found the Mini Jet. Larkin now tours the country flying high-energy shows in a modified SubSonex Jet, also known as JSX003. The plane, which he helped to customize and modify for air shows, is small—it weighs only 500 pounds but can reach up to 300 miles per hour. While not quite as fast as the 800 miles per hour he was used to in the F-15C, it’s plenty fast enough to show off all the aerobatics and maneuvers that he taught as a T-38 instructor pilot in the Air Force. “The big planes are great, and I love them, but when it comes to kids, this small plane is really great. It’s relatable,” Larkin says. “I’ve helped out at air shows for probably 12 to 15 years and always said that I was going to be on the other side of the ropes. So now, that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to give back to kids and inspire the next generation.” As my daughters can attest, Larkin’s enthusiasm, kindness and kid-sized jet are an irresistible combination. When other planes seemed too big, the Mini Jet was just right. Watching him take to the skies was even more impressive. Learn more about Tom Larkin at

Murphy’s daughters, Indra and Iris, take turns climbing aboard their dad’s shoulders to get a view of inside the plane’s cockpit.

seen parachuters, let alone ones who could maneuver in the sky. As a parent, their wonder fed me. There’s nothing purer than the rounded, open mouth of a child staring into the sky, spellbound by the magic that comes from science and bravery. It’s easy to accept these technological marvels as part of the modern world, but every time a solid piece of metal sails over an ocean or across the fruited plains of Kansas, there’s a bit of magic there, as well as engineering. We wandered, walking through helicopters and under wings that were high enough that even adults didn’t have to duck. We


touched the smooth surfaces of hot metal and chatted with the humans who wrangled them. And then, it was showtime. The USAF Thunderbirds were here. Watching performance fleets in action is a two-dimensional term for a multidimensional experience. Could we see the precision needed to keep six F-16s within inches of each other? Of course. But on a visceral level, we could feel it. The sound penetrated our ear protection and reverberated in our chests. Little legs have their limitations, so our day concluded shortly after, but history was made for everyone else who stayed. They experienced the Super Delta, which

combines the teams of the USAF Thunderbirds with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in one of the more formidable shows of aeronautical agility and prowess the nation has ever seen. It was only the third time they have flown together—and as the country rallied after a challenging year, July 4th was a perfect time. That evening, as I tucked my girls into bed, I asked them what their favorite parts were. “Going in the helicopter!” Iris says. Indra preferred sitting in Tom Larkin’s Mini Jet. Both clutched their stuffed geckos, gifts from the Skytyping team, as they burrowed under sheets, ready to dream of aluminum angels crisscrossing the sky.


Fly the FemaleSkies:

Jessy Panzer Flies Like a Girl Sometimes tragedy inspires in unexpected ways. When Jessy Panzer’s father, a corporate pilot, died in an airplane accident when she was young, it could have turned her away from the skies. Instead, it intrigued her. What did he love about it so much? What did he see from his point of view in the cockpit? She decided early to discover it all. Rather than joining the military, Panzer decided to take the longer route to the skies and earn her degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She eventually became a pilot instructor, flying air ambulances and finally charter flights. But her passion has always been aerobatics, and she started competing in 2000, eventually making the 2012 US Advanced Aerobatic Team. Now, when Panzer shows up in her metallic magenta Pitts Special Bi-plane, she’s often one of only a few women on the docket at an air show. She says that despite taking the long road to the world of en-air curlicues and speed, she’s found great support along the way. Learn more about Jessy Panzer at

Jessy Panzer photos courtesy KC Air Show


Photographs by Ashley Marie Photography KS

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Made in Gardner How a company on the East Coast found its way to the Midwest Story by Bob Luder Photography by Nick Krug


hen Eugenia Duke began making her magnificent mayonnaise in 1917 in Greenville, South Carolina, it’s a good bet she never fathomed that nearly 105 years later her creation would be produced near an old military airport facility in the middle of the United States. When Sauer Brands, Inc. ( formerly The C.F. Sauer Company), the parent company of Duke’s Mayonnaise since 1929, decided to expand business nationally at the turn of the century, opening a production facility at the New Century AirCenter just outside Gardner seemed an easy, almost obvious, choice. There were the obvious lures to the location—the central geography and being nearly equidistant to both coasts as well as the southern U.S., and also being in the neighborhood of a full-service air facility that also happens to have adjacent railway service. “There were geographical factors at play, for sure,” says Chad Moore, chief operating officer at Sauer Brands, Inc. “This facility is positioned to support the company’s growth, especially in Texas, which is one of our fastestgrowing markets.” Moore continues, “It’s also good for soybean oil procurement. Duke’s Mayo is our company’s flagship product, and soybean oil is a key ingredient. Kansas and to the north is a very prime area for soybean growing.” But the decision to open a plant in northeast Kansas didn’t just come down to geography and agronomy, Moore says.


“There’s also the talent that Kansas areas are known for,” he says. “The talent for manufacturing expertise. Ford and General Motors have had a long presence in the Kansas City area. This area is just known as a great resource for that, and it was a definite driver [in the decision to move here]. All the infrastructure was a prime reason.”

A facility full of flavors In all, Sauer Brands, Inc. operates out of four manufacturing locations. For the first 70 years or so that the company owned the Duke’s Mayo brand, it had facilities in Richmond, Virginia, which remains the company’s headquarters, as well as in Greenville, South Carolina, where Eugenia Duke began making her mayonnaise as a means of spicing up the sandwiches she was making for U.S. troops at nearby Fort Sevier. “All the production was in the Southeast,” says Ron Beckman, plant manager of the Sauer Brands facility at New Century. “All of our customer base, sales were in the Southeast.” Near the end of the 20th century, the company formed a financial holding company, CFS West Holdings, with the purpose of expanding westward and selling Sauer Brands products west of the Mississippi River. Today, there are two facilities that produce condiments— mayo, mustards and sauces—at New Century and in Greenville. Two other facilities, in Richmond and San Luis Obispo, Calif., produce spices, flavors and extracts. The New Century facility opened in 2001 and employs roughly 200 people (there are 1,050 employees company-wide) in roles that include chemists for Research & Development, mechanics, processing technicians, operators, warehouse personnel and administrators. In all, about 750 items are produced and shipped out all across America. “We produce about every type of condiment you can think of,” Beckman says. “Up to a 55-gallon drum of mayonnaise down to a 9-gram jelly cup.” As Moore points out, Duke’s Mayo is the company’s flagship product. “It’s a strong southern brand,” Beckman says. “In the Charlotte [North Carolina] market, it has 50 percent of the market. Half of any mayonnaise bought is Duke’s. It was regional, but then it got into Wal-Mart and went national.” Moore adds, “There’s almost a cult following of the brand.” That’s hardly the only product Sauer Brands offers; there are a wide variety of spices and herbs such as Sauer’s ground

black pepper, garlic powder and ground cinnamon, as well as blends like chili powder and seasonings, rubs, grillers and grinders and mixes. Duke’s Mayo is getting ready to launch a line of different-flavored mustards. Last spring, it launched six new southern sauces. Then again, all Sauer Brand’s products come with a southern sensibility. Half of Sauer Brands’ business comes from retail sales, half from foodservice companies, such as Sysco or U.S. Foods, which sell to restaurants and/or schools. The list of Sauer Brands’ customers is too large to name, Beckman says, but “you would know about everybody we make something for.”

Period of growth … and still growing The last couple of years have been good for Sauer Brands, Inc. In 2019, after 132 years of private ownership, Falfurrias Capital Partners of Charlotte, North Carolina, acquired the company. The next year, it became title sponsor of two premier major-college football games—the Duke’s Mayo Classic and Duke’s Mayo Bowl, both in Charlotte. Also, while much of the business world felt the impact from Covid-19 pandemic closures, especially businesses in the foodservice sector, Sauer Brands thrived. “We sold a tremendous amount of retail product during the pandemic,” Beckman says. “People weren’t going out to


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Roughly 750 items are produced and shipped out all across America from the New Century facility in Gardner.


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Additional companies that sell worldwide in Gardner area When thinking of national, or even international, business production hubs around the United States, it’s unlikely Gardner, Kansas, is the first city that comes to mind. Yet, the evidence shows a Midwest town prospering with manufacturing plants and companies. Of the 60-plus companies that operate in and adjacent to the New Century AirCenter, just 3½ miles to the north and east of Gardner, several manufacture and distribute products enjoyed not only by local residents and those in nearby Kansas City but also by customers nation- and worldwide. Most agree, Gardner can thank New Century, an old World War II Naval Air Station, for its lofty perch as a Midwestern manufacturing hotspot.

“I think it’s a great location because of its central geography,” says Jason Camis, president and CEO of the Gardner Chamber of Commerce. “New Century AirCenter is a commercial airport that operates like a smaller airport. It’s also served by the railroad and has easy highway access. You can reach most of the United States in 48 hours.” Historically, New Century has been Gardner’s property, says Aaron Otto, executive director of the Johnson County Airport Commission. “The bulk of people who work there are from Gardner or just south of there. It’s something the city can be proud of.” Many of the nationwide companies the area can claim are food-based businesses.

• Sauer Brands, Inc. is best known for its flagship brand, Duke’s Mayonnaise, but makes upward of 700 different spreads, sauces, rubs and other condiments. • Upfield U.S. Inc. also manufactures spreads, the best known of which include I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Country Crock. • Kerry Ingredients and Flavours began as a small co-op in Ireland 50 years ago and today employs more than 26,000 worldwide, 6,500 in North America. Its New Century plant produces sweet ingredients, primarily chocolatecovered almonds. • Dot’s Pretzels in nearby Edgerton produces two million pounds of pretzels annually. However, Gardner’s production riches aren’t limited to food products. • Russell Hampton Company is a fourth-generation company that provides promotional and marketing products to businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. • Though Garmin has its headquarters just a couple miles north in Olathe, the company operates out of some hangars at New Century and performs aviation testing of its products there.


restaurants, they were staying home and cooking at home more. As restaurants have opened back up, a lot of business has grown on the portion control side of things, like packets and cups.” Moore adds, “Our portion control grew so substantially, it’s been difficult to handle demand.” There have been labor challenges, but, Beckman points out, anyone driving down New Century Parkway these days will see a plethora of “Help Wanted” signs. Moore and Beckman say anyone wanting to work at a growing company that is constantly evolving with emerging technology should explore opportunities with Sauer Brands. “The last 100 years, our focus was on the Southeast,” Moore says. “Our focus now is, how do we grow in frontier markets, like Texas?” As they continue to leverage technology and support that growth as well, Moore says their goal as a team is to double the Gardner facility’s capacity within the next few years. Beckman says the company doubled its output during his first two to three years of the New Century facility, and that growth continues to this day. We have equipment that can make a variety of packages as well as a variety of condiments. For a person coming to work here, you’re not doing the same thing every day.” What Sauer Brands, Inc. is doing, and has been doing for well over a century, is helping people enjoy food of countless varieties, in countless ways. “What we like to say is,” Moore says. “We want to excite and delight our customers with inspired flavors. We make food taste better.”

(913) 856-5801 1100 E Santa Fe St. Gardner, KS 66030

MON-FRI 7am-10pm WEEKENDS 9am-10pm

member spotlight

chamber listings

community snapshots

by the numbers

welcome letter Almost 20 months have passed since that dreaded ‘C’ word began to infiltrate our lives. Nothing, and we mean nothing, was left unaffected. Life at home changed. Life at work changed. Our communities changed. Yet here we are, almost two years later, resilient as ever, watching our area continue to grow by the leaps and bounds. We know the past year has seen many challenges, however, by coming together as a community, we’ll be stronger and more successful than ever when this time comes to an end. At the Chamber, we continue to focus on the growth and development of our business community, which continues to flourish despite supply chain issues, lack of staffing, and other challenges. The success of the business community correlates with the success of the Gardner Chamber of Commerce. It’s exciting to share that the Chamber

has the most members we’ve ever had, which means we’re also as financially sound as we’ve ever been. It was only eight years ago when many questioned whether we would survive as an organization. Yet thanks to dedicated volunteer board members, enthusiastic staff and hundreds of forward-thinking businesses, we’re thriving. It’s an honor to lead an organization that exists primarily for the benefit of others. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, both in the past year and since our founding in 1975. But we promise you; we’re not done yet. The future of your Chamber is bright, and we look forward to serving businesses and the community for years to come. With your support and encouragement, we will continue to be a catalyst for business growth, a convener of leaders and influencers and a champion for a stronger community.

Rob Wyrick, Chairman of the Board Gardner Chamber of Commerce

Jason E. Camis, President/CEO Gardner Chamber of Commerce

109 E. Main St | PO Box 402 Gardner, KS 66030 913.856.6464

member spotlight


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Shawnee Copy Center Inc.

Since its founding in 1978, Shawnee Copy Center has reigned as the king of copies. SCC offers high-quality customized printed products including signs, banners, business cards, blueprints, invitations, yard signs and more. SCC prides itself on being the finest full-service printer in the Kansas City area. Photo courtesy Shawnee Copy Center Inc.

Prairie Center Meats

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BROOKLYNHALL.COM • 913-927-2217 • 913-927-2218 • EDGERTON, KS

Located just south of the former town of Prairie Center on Edgerton Road, Prairie Center Meats isn’t your average retail butcher shop. As a 6th generation farm, the retail side of their business began back in 2015 and has expanded to include an on-farm market and commercial kitchen where they specialize in bratwurst, sausage and burgers. Prairie Center Meats prides itself on helping its community and is willing to talk cooking tips and offer recipes anytime. Photo courtesy Prairie Center Meats


member spotlight

Saying Goodbye to...

It is with heavy hearts we say goodbye to

Bruce Furniture and Cramer Products.

Both have brought business to the Gardner community for many years and we are sad to see them go. Collectively, we here at Sunflower Publishing and the Gardner Chamber of Commerce wish them the very best in their next endeavors. Photos courtesy Reeves Photo Co.


membership listings Listings highlighted in blue are GE Magazine advertisers.

Accounting and Bookkeeping Troutt Beeman & Co., P.C. (913) 764-1922

Advertising Southwind Advertising (913) 515-4390

Agritourism Gieringer’s Family Orchard & Berry Farm (913) 893-9626

Airport Johnson County Airport Commission (913) 715-6000

Animal Shelter Prairie Paws Animal Shelter (785) 242-2967

Apartments Aspen Place Apartments (913) 856-8185

Horizon Trails Apartments (913) 605-1060

Nottingham Village Apartments nottingham-village/ (913) 938-5155

The Reserve at Moonlight (913) 884-3986

Willow Chase - Twin Homes (913) 938-5532

Assisted Living Home Rock Creek of Ottawa (785) 242-5399


Baseball Club

Stockton & Stern, Attorneys at Law (913) 856-2828

Auto Repair

Kansas City Monarchs (913) 328-5618

Billboards Wingert Billboard Company

Bret’s Autoworks (913) 856-5169

Winters Automotive & Transmission (913) 856-4646

Bakery/Coffee Shops

(913) 318-9484

Breweries ExBEERiment Brewing (913) 938-4175

Transport Brewery (913) 766-6673

Betty’s Pies & Cobblers (913) 221-4592

Groundhouse Coffee (913) 856-5711


Building Materials Deck & Rail Supply LLC (913) 884-3335

Bus Service First Student (913) 856-5650

ARVEST Bank (913) 953-4100

Business Resources

Capitol Federal (913) 652-2431

Employer Advantage

Central Bank of the Midwest (913) 856-1078 (913) 701-3760 ext. 656

Spectrum Business (913) 329-4039

Car Wash

Central National Bank (913) 856-3218

Central National Bank - Walmart (913) 856-2136

Country Club Bank (913) 971-1407

Mid America Bank (913) 884-2155

Patriots Bank (913) 856-8809

GO Car Wash (913) 938-5013

Catering ACA Catering (913) 882-6142

Alchem (913) 295-2288

Chris Cakes, Inc (913) 893-6455

Panera Bread (913) 397-8383


Cellular Equipment and Services T-Mobile (913) 660-3681

Childcare Children’s Lighthouse Learning Centers (913) 884-2498

Little Building Blocks (913) 856-5633

Chiropractors Jeurink Family Chiropractic and Wellness (913) 856-4595

Winters Chiropractic Center

www.gardner-kansas-chiropractic. com (913) 856-8135

Churches Divine Mercy Parish (913) 856-7781

First Baptist Church (913) 884-7228

Gardner Faith Chapel (620) 282-1315

Greater Than Life Ministries (913) 210-4043

New Life Community Church (913) 856-5683

Restoration Church (913) 717-5556

Cigar Lounge Ash & Anvil (913) 940-1204

membership listings City Office City of Gardner (913) 856-7535

Civic Organizations Gardner Grange (913) 558-5261

Gardner Lions Club gardnerks (913) 449-5522

Gardner Optimists Club (816) 863-6144

Gardner Rotary Club (913) 279-3300

Kiwanis Club of Gardner (913) 963-3126

Commercial Maintenance Randy Gregorcyk - PRIDE Industries (316) 644-0292

Commercial Real Estate Big Water LLC

(913) 406-4688

Jacobs Properties (816) 523-6696

JJG Commercial LLC (913) 215-9227

The Bristol Groupe (785) 838-4888

Commercial/Residential Developer Grata Development (913) 732-4778

Community College Johnson County Community College (913) 469-8500

Concrete Supplier

Excelligence Learning Corporation (913) 303-8400

Penny’s Concrete, Inc. (913) 441-8781

FedEx Ground com/groundwarehousejobs (913) 856-1880

Construction Contractor Construction Management Services Inc

Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation (913) 712-8440 (913) 603-6228

Moonlight Construction Inc. (913) 712-8440

UPS (913) 541-3740

Consulting Synergize Consulting LLC

Walmart eCommerce (708) 972-2846 HiringCenter/disclaimer (913) 603-6068

County Offices Johnson County Election Office (913) 715-6800

Johnson County Government

Doctors Offices CenterWell Senior Primary Care (913) 547-1710 (913) 715-0430

Infinum Health

Johnson County Park and Recreation

Olathe Health Family Medicine - Gardner (913) 438-7275 (913) 884-1924 (913) 856-5577


Johnson County Sheriff ’s Office (913) 715-5800

Daylight Donuts (913) 884-8400


Gardner Dentists, LLC (913) 856-7123

Imagine Dental (913) 856-6171 (913) 492-0400

Entertainment & Attractions KC Pumpkin Patch, LLC (913) 484-6251

Event Venue The Turner Barn (913) 558-6495

Warren Place Venue (913) 972-2169

Farmers Market Gardner Farmers Market (913) 717-6485

Financial Services Edward Jones - Aaron Wyant (913) 856-6233

Edward Jones - Pete Carr (913) 856-8846

Fireworks Retailer Pyro Papas Fireworks (913) 787-2219

Fitness Center

Southwest Johnson County EDC

Olathe Family YMCA (913) 489-3990

Electrical Contractor

Chapman Electric LLC (913) 575-1612

Employment/Staffing Services

Distribution & Fulfillment Centers Amazon Fulfillment


Economic Development

Baxter Orthodontics (913) 856-4465


ProLogistix (816) 730-8278

39 GE MAGAZINE | olathe (913) 393-9622

Florist In Full Bloom Too (913) 800-1850

Food Truck Smoke n Seoul (646) 515-2519

membership listings Foundation Repair Joco Foam Pro LLC (913) 605-8888

Funeral Home Bruce Funeral Home, Inc. (913) 856-7111

Garage Door ProLift Garage Doors of Johnson County (913) 354-7392

Golf Course Great Life Golf Gardner (913) 856-8858

Government Services Shirley Allenbrand Johnson County Commissioner (6th District ) (913) 579-8206

Grocery Store Cosentino’s Price Chopper #117 (913) 856-8380

Gun Sales and Services HSP Guns (913) 783-4867

Hair Care/Salons Design Co. Salon gardnerks (913) 856-5464

Fantastic Sams (913) 856-4247

The Styleroom Salon (913) 884-3595

Hardware Store Trails West Ace Hardware (913) 856-4536

Health Insurance Humana (913) 514-2761

Truly Affordable Health Insurance (785) 214-4089

Heating and Cooling Hickman Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. (913) 856-7730

Santa Fe Air Conditioning (913) 856-5801 (913) 856-2100

Insurance Agencies Allstate (913) 226-6693

Home Inspection Key Inspections (913) 957-7746

Hospitals (913) 856-6177

Farm Bureau Financial Services (913) 856-2197

Farmers Insurance Robert K Kelly gardner/robert-kelly (913) 856-3816

Services (913) 856-0002

Interior Design Spaces, Inc. (913) 894-8900

Landscaping (913) 764-6159 (913) 373-1100

Lawn Care A Plus Lawn Care

Olathe Health (913) 791-4200

Hotels Candlewood Suites Hotel (913) 768-8888


TradeNet Publishing, Inc.

Curby’s Lawn and Garden

AdventHealth South Overland Park (913) 788-0589

American Family Insurance Tim Miller

DIRECTORY/LISTINGS MJH Insurance & Financial

Craig Brett Homes, LLC


Dot’s Pretzels (913) 856-6124

Home Builders

Legal Services (913) 856-9969

Joe Oldham’s State Farm Agency

Shore Mechanical (913) 909-6694

Hampton Inn and Conference Center APlusLawnCareKC (913) 735-3511

Travis Hutton Lawn and Landscape, Inc. (913) 710-5771 TravisHuttonLawn

Gardner Super 8 (913) 856-8887

40 GE MAGAZINE | (701) 566-8520 (800) 884-7301

Marketing Agency Marketing Strategy (913) 440-0672

Mechanical Contractor BCI Mechanical, Inc. (913) 856-6747

Med Spa Rejuvenate Medspa (913) 645-5815

Mobile Home Community Conestoga (913) 755-9464

Mortgage Lending Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company loanofficer/Lauren.Sutton/profile (913) 375-0116

Museums Commemorative Air Force (913) 907-7902

Gardner Historical Museum, Inc. (913) 856-4447

Lanesfield Historic Site (913) 715-2575


Compassion to give back to the communities we serve flows through the heart and soul of Atmos Energy’s employees. We are committed to helping students have a bright and healthy future by fighting childhood hunger and focusing on reading on level by 3rd grade, showing appreciation to our hometown heroes and providing assistance to our neighbors in need. We are proud to play a vital role in the communities we serve with our time, talent and resources.

• Est. 2005 • Licensed & Insured Contact us today for a free roof inspection

We’re in the spotlight. Come join our team! $2000 Hiring Bonus for ALL positions! Eligible for Benefits after 30 days. Quarterly and Yearly Bonus potential up to an additional $2000 per year. Wages starting at $17.00/hr with a $1.50 shift differential for all overnight shifts!

Production Laborers & Machine Operator positions available Several Shifts available: Sunday - Tuesday 5a.m. – 5p.m., Wed 5a.m. – 11a.m. Sunday – Tuesday 5p.m. – 5a.m., Wed 5p.m. – 11p.m. Wed 11a.m. – 5p.m., Thursday – Saturday 5a.m. – 5p.m. Wed 11p.m. – 5a.m., Thursday – Saturday 5p.m. – 5a.m.

All positions will be working in our state-of-the-art production facility. We’re growing and there’s lots of room for advancement and growth. We’re looking for people who want to have a career and now is a great time to join Dot’s Pretzels!

membership listings Newspaper The Gardner News (913) 856-7615

Non-Profit Organizations Community Blood Center (816) 213-2728

Johnson County Fair Association (913) 856-8860

Sleep in Heavenly Peace: KS-KC South Metro Chapter (913) 269-8950

The Hope Market (801) 358-0656

Optometrist Drs. Hawks, Besler, Rogers & Stoppel, O.D (913) 856-6360

Paint Retailer Sherwin Williams (913) 856-7888

Party & Event Signs Rental Service Sign Gypsies Gardner (913) 669-8875

Yard deSIGNS, JoCo (913) 971-0088

Pet Supplies Gardner Pet Supply & Grooming gardnerpetsupply (913) 938-4285

Pharmacy Walgreens (913) 884-7912


Real Estate

Adams Pro Photo (913) 515-4390

Physical Therapy Olathe Health Rehabilitation Services - Gardner rehabgardner (913) 324-8680

SERC Physical Therapy (913) 856-7927

Plumbers/Plumbing Heartland Plumbing Inc. (913) 856-5846

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (913) 271-5801

Crown Realty (913) 215-9004

Diane Boyd-Betty Simmons/ ReMax Infinity re-max (816) 985-2779

Keller Williams Diamond Partners Inc. (913) 605-1022

Keller Williams Realty Partners John Tramble Jr. (214) 585-1281

Pools & Spas Continental Pools Inc (913) 856-2841


Layton Real Estate (785) 883-2379

Sue Bates - Platinum Realty (913) 268-4343 suebates (913) 706-7284

Toshiba Business Solutions, Inc

Susan J. Lowe, Keller Williams


The Crossroads Real Estate Group - Keller Williams

Shawnee Copy Center index.html (913) 210-9553 (913) 927-3416

www.thecrossroadsrealestategro (913) 208-2873 (972) 439-2549

Promotional Items MARKit Branding Solutions (913) 579-2304

Russell Hampton Company

Rehabilitation Hospital Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital (913) 856-8747 (913) 254-0500

Property Management Moonlight Holdings, LLC (913) 712-8440

Rental Property Master Management (913) 856-3888

W.D. Gay Rentals (913) 856-6487

Restaurants Blazers Restaurant (913) 856-6565

Fronteras Mexican Restaurant (913) 884-2303

Mr. Goodcents ll/US/KS/Gardner/796-E_-Main (913) 856-4611

Perkins Restaurant

www.stores.perkinsrestaurants. com/us/ks/gardner/2000-e--santafe.html (913) 884-4700

Pizza Hut of Gardner, KS (913) 884-6116

Planet Sub (913) 605-1068

Sonic Drive-In of Gardner, KS (913) 856-5111

Tumbleweed Bar & Grill (913) 856-4510

Retail Orscheln Farm & Home (913) 884-6767

Wal-Mart Supercenter of Gardner (913) 884-8004

Roofing & Construction Cordray Roofing (913) 856-7663

H&H Roofing and Restoration LLC (913) 940-3373

Platinum Roofing, LLC (816) 565-1202

RJ Construction (913) 549-6904


Specializing in Real Estate Lending:

Local Servicing & Underwrinng - Convennonal Home Loans - Rental & Investment Loans - Home Improvement Loans - Commercial Real Estate Loans - Government Home Loans - Bridge Loans - Land & Lot Loans - Construcnon Loans


Baldwin • Gardner • Lawrence • Wellsvile

membership listings RV Sales Olathe Ford RV Center (913) 856-8145

Schools USD #231 (913) 856-2000

Security Systems & Training SafeDefend, LLC. (913) 856-2800

Senior Living Anthology of Olathe (913) 791-0020

Bethel Estates of Gardner

www.wheatlandinvestmentsgroup. com (913) 856-4107

Vintage Park at Gardner (913) 856-7643

Sign Shop and Design Sign Here, Inc. (913) 856-0148

Skilled Nursing Care Medicalodges Gardner (913) 856-6520

Skin Care and Cosmetics Relax Skin Studio (785) 317-7209

Social Services Johnson County Developmental Supports developmental-supports/home (913) 826-2626

Southwest Multi Service Center (913) 715-6653

Specialty Retailers

Thrift Store

CJ Designs Backyard Shenanigans cjdesignsbackyardshenanigans (402) 679-7291

Joy Closet JOYClosetGardner (913) 856-8868

Tile Installation

Corinne’s Creations corinnescreations12 (913) 221-4592

Shaw Stone and Tile (913) 602-4489

Prairie Center Meats

Title Company (913) 238-9597

Security 1st Title (913) 938-5340

Storage Attic Storage Gardner

Trash Removal Service (913) 856-5757

Gardner Disposal Service (913) 856-3851

T-Shirt Design and Printers

Travel Agency

Design 4 Sports (913) 938-5393

Dream Makers Vacations LLC (913) 927-0078

Tanning Salon


Electric Sun Tanning & Boutique (913) 856-8268

Tax Preparation & Bookkeeping

Five Star Trucking, LLC (913) 390-8384

TransAm Trucking, Inc. (913) 538-4172

H&R Block (913) 884-4495

TSL Companies

Technology Consulting (402) 895-6692

DistributorCentral (888) 516-7401

Strategy Tech Agency (913) 440-0672

Telecomm. System Consulting KsFiberNet (316) 712-6030

Utilities Atmos Energy (913) 254-6344

Evergy (816) 556-2200

Kansas Gas Service (913) 565-9886

NextEra Energy (561) 694-6221


Water District #7, Johnson County (913) 856-7375

Veterinarians Gardner Animal Hospital (913) 856-6255

Oakbrook Animal Hospital (913) 884-8778

Website Design Buzzfish Media (913) 208-0349

GraphixTech (913) 449-7935

Wineries KC Wine Co. (913) 484-6251

White Tail Run Winery, LLC (913) 893-4003

Electric Sun Tanning & Boutique Sun • Sunless • Redlight Therapy • Boutique

Your skin deserves the very best! Save 15% Off Your Next Boutique Purchase

Not valid with any other offer or special promotions. Expires 12-31-2022 New arrivals almost daily! 355 N. Moonlight Rd. Gardner KS • 913.856.8268 8700 Lackman Rd. Lenexa KS • 913.894.8826

community snapshots


#GEMag Here’s a peek at a few community events celebrating heritage and happenings around Gardner, Edgerton and New Century. We’d love to see how you celebrate your community! Send us your photos for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue. Photos courtesy Gardner Chamber of Commerce and City of Gardner


Economic Profile LIVING IN THE GARDNER AREA (Data from 5-mile radius of Main St. & Center St. intersection in Gardner)

Median Household Income (2020)



(148% of KC Metro)


Average household income


(131% of KC Metro)

Building Permits Total Value, Building Permits $57,822,819

114 new single-family housing permits issued in Gardner. 144 new multi-family housing permits issued in Gardner.

(Residential and Commercial)

Workforce Approximately


workers for 998 business establishments

$246,847 Average Home Value


Average Monthly Rent



Home Value


Per capita income (125% of national average)

Average Age 32.3 Years 37.4 Years KC Metro


44 and younger


$21,784,341 Valuation

44 and younger, nationally

USD 231 Gardner Edgerton Schools Students

5,900 48 GE MAGAZINE |

Total Employees


WE’LL BE THERE FROM THE START When you’re ready to commit, Central Bank is there. Whether you’re finally chasing down your dreams and need a loan or are looking for support and guidance to help keep your business afloat, we’re here for you. Our team of business bankers will work with you to find customized solutions to help you reach your goals — and then set new ones. Because that’s how we do business better. Are you ready for the next chapter in your business? Consult your business banking team today to discover how we do business better.


Member FDIC

Bret’s Autoworks is a full-service auto repair facility using the latest technology by trained and skilled technicians to bring you peace of mind.

Why Choose Bret’s Autoworks? = FREE 3 Year / 36,000 Mile Nationwide Warranty = FREE 2 Year / 24,000 Mile Nationwide Warranty on Commercial Vehicles up to 1-ton = FREE Shuttle Service = FREE Video Inspections so you can see what needs to be repaired = Family Friendly Environment = Locally & Family Owned = Your #1 Dealership Alternative = We service all makes and models, including hybrids and diesels.

Let our 30 years of Honesty, Integrity, and Transparency be of service for you. 913-856-5169


522 W. Main Street, Gardner, KS 66030


Monday-Friday: 7:30am-5:30pm