2018 Small Business Award Winners Announced Today

Watermark Books & Café and Allmetal Recycling, LLC are the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Small Businesses of the Year. The Chamber made the announcement at today’s award luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.

Award finalists were divided into two tiers based upon number of full-time employees. Watermark Books & Cafe represents Tier One (businesses with 1 – 25 full-time employees), and Allmetal Recycling represents Tier Two (businesses with 26-100 full-time employees). Judges evaluated the finalists based on five key areas: leadership and performance, employee relations, entrepreneurship, diversity and community involvement.

Watermark Books & Cafe is our Tier One 2018 Small Business Award Winner.

Watermark Books & Café opened its doors in 1 977 and is located at 4701 E. Douglas. Twenty-five employees at the independent bookstore keep the minds and bodies of their customers fed by hosting interesting reading events involving nationally-known authors and selling made-from-scratch café items. Owner Sarah Bagby credits her success to a passionate staff and a complex marketing infrastructure as well as her partnerships with authors, area businesses, schools, publishers, and literary houses. A champion of local authors, Bagby said, “We love to bolster stories being written in Wichita.”

Allmetal Recycling is our Tier Two 2018 Small Business Award Winner.

Founded in 2009, Allmetal Recycling, LLC currently employs a team of seventy-seven and is located at 800 E. 21st St. N. The company has been growing its footprint and changing the culture as well as attitudes about the scrap metal and recycling industry with the tagline, Not your typical scrap yard. Owner and general manager Clint Cornejo said, “We set out to change the image of the industry. Safety is our top priority and we’ve created a friendly environment for our customers.”

The Presenting Sponsors of the 2018 Awards program were Mahaney Roofing Company and The Monarch. Joe Ontjes of Luminous Neon, Inc. gave the keynote address.

Small businesses are responsible for creating 2 of every 3 new jobs in the U.S. and make up almost 90 percent of the Wichita Regional Chamber membership. The Small Business Awards program, now in its 14th year, is designed not only to provide small businesses the recognition they deserve but to also give other small businesses a chance to learn from the best.

2018 Small Business Awards Finalists

Tier One (1 – 25 full-time employees)

McCurdy Auction, LLC
Paint the Towne
Reverie Coffee Roasters
Shelden Architecture
Watermark Books & Cafe

Tier Two (26 – 100 full-time employees)

Allmetal Recycling, LLC
Elite Staffing Solutions
Stearman Field Bar & Grill
The Anchor

Visit the Chamber’s Facebook page to see photos of the event. Videos highlighting each of the finalists will be posted to the Chamber’s YouTube channel.

Member Minute with The McGinty Machine Co.

222 N. Hydraulic – Wichita, KS 67214 –  (316) 269-3344
mcgintymachine.com | Facebook and Twitter: @mcgintymachine

The McGinty Machine Company, Inc. was recently honored as a Lockheed Martin Aeronautics 2017 Elite Supplier. The company started building airplane parts seven decades ago and has earned other supplier awards from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Owner and President Don McGinty shares more information about his company’s achievements, Chamber involvement and the Wichita business environment in today’s Member Minute.

Don McGinty is the President and Owner of The McGinty Machine Co.

Company background
My dad and uncle started The McGinty Machine Company, Inc., to build parts for war planes and general aviation in the mid-1940s. Since then, McGinty Machine has delivered quality precision-machined parts and customer service to the Wichita community and beyond. We offer both blue streak (or expedited) and long-term production, including sheet metal and small, benchtop assembly. We believe in quality, customer service and working as a team with our customers, so they can be the very best at what they do.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Most recently, we were honored as a 2017 Elite Supplier from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Only 23 suppliers, representing the top two percent of Lockheed Martin’s suppliers, earned this based on at least 98 percent quality, 98 percent delivery and a $1 million contract value. We had 100 percent quality and delivery.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics recently named The McGinty Machine Company a 2017 Elite Supplier. The company’s performance has earned them other awards.

To what do you attribute your success?
This is a second-generation business, and we’ve survived because of the foundation my father and mother left. I also attribute our success to our team. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Reliability – Our customers know they can count on us.
Longevity – They know we will be with them year after year as we have been for the past 70+ years.
Experience – We have more than 30 years’ experience at the lead and throughout our company.
Innovation – We are always looking to improve our processes to provide quality work for our customers.
Quality – Quality is number one for our company.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
Most people don’t realize the technology involved in manufacturing and how quickly it’s advancing.

Where do you see your business in five years?
Continuing to grow and expand our capabilities with the addition of new technology.

What about your business are you most passionate?
Quality. Customer service. Technology. Innovation.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
Our company supports a variety of community and civic activities, including the Wichita Open (formerly Air Capital Classic), Wichita Aero Club, Wichita Children’s Home, and many others. Our employees are active with a number of organizations, and as a company, we try to support those as best as we can. Personally, I am involved with the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee and on the Wichita Aero Club board.

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you think will be most valuable about Chamber membership?
I joined the Chamber to be more involved and to stay in touch with our decision makers. I’ve developed connections throughout the community and especially like serving on the Government Relations Committee.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
I enjoy the government relations events the most because of the opportunity to talk with and hear directly from decision makers. I also enjoy the opportunity to meet other business leaders at various awards and roundtable events.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague? Why?
10. The connections are invaluable no matter what stage of life or business you are in.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is your biggest challenge as a small business?
There are many challenging factors in running a small business. The labor force is one of those factors. Recruiting the talent needed to succeed can be a challenge as a small business.

What’s the best thing about being a small business?
Being your own boss is both stressful and rewarding. It allows you to grow something for your family and the people working for you.

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
Don’t be afraid to try and fail. This is how you gain experience in your industry. If one thing isn’t working, change it. Keep trying until you get to where you want to be.

Something you wish you’d known before you started your business?
I wish I’d had a better understanding of the market’s up and down trends. It’s important to understand this, so you can prepare and protect your business. Also, keeping your debt service at a minimal to not overextend yourself or your business is important to know.

WICHITA BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Why do you like doing business in the Wichita area?
There is no better place to live or do business than Wichita. I grew up here. I enjoy the people, the community, and the ease of getting around.

Earlier this month the 55 members of The McGinty Machine Company team celebrated their supplier award.

Help Shape Our Region with a Leadership Wichita Nomination

We asked three area leaders why they have consistently nominated candidates for the Chamber’s Leadership Wichita program. They shared their responses in the Chamber Update that published in today’s Wichita Eagle. We’re also sharing them here to inspire you to submit a nomination before May 25.

VALUE

Sheelu Surender

Sheelu Surender, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Wichita State University

“I nominate someone for the Leadership Wichita program every year because of the tremendous value I believe it offers participants, their organizations and the larger community. The program is unique in that it brings together cross sections of our community and offers a rare opportunity to learn, network and develop relationships with other leaders who are committed to improving and growing our community.

“This type of intensive immersion, over a relatively short period of time, truly connects participant with their community and helps underscore how we, as engaged citizens, can make immediate and direct impact on community success.”

Matt Cortez

OPPORTUNITY
Matt Cortez, VP & Opportunities Studio Lead at GLMV Architecture

“I believe the Leadership Wichita program provides individuals with a unique opportunity to understand their community by exposing them to issues and opportunities facing Wichita and the surrounding area. The Leadership Wichita program has a rich history of alumni who have gone on to have tremendous success within their organizations and the community. This success can be attributed to the development of their skills within the program, along with the motivation from classmates to become more effective leaders. The Leadership Wichita program sets itself apart from all other leadership programs in this way and that is why I nominate individuals for this program every year.”

CONNECTIONS

Coleen Tabor

Coleen Tabor, Talent and Diversity Director at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.

“I nominate someone for Leadership Wichita every year because the program plays an important role in Spirit’s leadership development programming by providing context, connections and involvement. The program accomplishes these goals by exposing leaders to the strategic plans for the community, connecting them with people and organizations influencing these plans, and involving them in the forward motion for the business, government and cultural advancement of the region.”

Leadership Wichita is an immersive experience for 30 area achievers that runs between August 23 and November 14. The program provides interactive learning experiences for those interested in taking increasingly more significant roles in shaping the region. Since it was introduced in 1983, the program has graduated more than 1,000 representatives of local businesses, government and the military. For more information about the program, contact Director of Community Advancement Jonathan Long at 316-268-1170.

Member Minute with Dandelion Wine Design

Facebook and Instagram @dandelionwinedesign – 316-308-0803

Jan Sattler is the creative talent behind many of the Chamber’s most popular graphic design projects. She’s developed numerous invitations as well as the Chamber’s award-winning annual summaries. And she just finished producing a unique intern passport for the Chamber’s affiliate, the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). In this interview, you’ll learn more about what inspires her to find creative solutions to the challenges faced by her clients.

Jan Sattler owns and operates Dandelion Wine Design.

What products and services do you provide?
The name of my business might lead you to believe that I specialize in the fermentation of dandelion blossoms into wine. Not so. I love a good challenge and I find great satisfaction in transforming what some people may view as a problem into a positive opportunity. My objective with this business is to find creative solutions. That’s reflected in the name and motto for my business:  “When life gives you dandelions, make dandelion wine. Turn your nemesis into something divine.”

I specialize in logo & branding design, business cards, stationery, brochures, flyers, postcards, ads, banners, forms, catalogs, newsletters, direct mail, posters, billboards, signs, infographics, trade show materials, murals and apparel design.

In addition to graphic design services for businesses and organizations, I also design invitations, announcements, signage and room decor for events celebrating the special occasions of life: birth, birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary, retirement, and memorials to name a few.

Another category of my design work involves various Wichita Flag swag items, including a 2018 calendar and unique seasonal items.

My objective with this business is to find creative solutions – to surpass the typical way of thinking by creating an end product that is truly unique and unforeseen. I strive to exceed the expectations of the client while meeting the specific needs of their company, organization or special event.

About my company
I’ve been a graphic artist for 20 years, but only recently under the name Dandelion Wine Design. Past clients include the Diocese of Wichita, Wichita Clinic and Via Christi Health. I’m the Principal & Creative Director, Project Manager, Business Manager and Graphic Designer for my business.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?

Initially I prefer to meet face-to-face with new clients. I want to get to know them and learn their story. I’m interested in their style and their preferences. I want to create specifically for each client and satisfy THEIR unique graphic needs rather than MY wants, without any templates or preconceived idea.

Jan Sattler likes to incorporate unique folds in her designs so that they stand out for her clients.

What about your business are you most passionate?
The creative part. My favorite projects are the ones where I can be “extra” creative. Perhaps a special fold will take the project to the next level as was the case with the 2015 & 2016 Chamber Annual Summaries. My 2018 Wichita Flag calendar design took “special fold” to a whole new level. Another fun project was the interactive Wichita Flag mural I designed for the Chamber. Now I have been challenged to create a fun mural for one of my Chamber member clients, SpinICT.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Together with the Chamber, three awards were received for the 2015 Annual Summary “folded Wichita flag” document: 2016 Silver Award from the Wichita American Marketing Association Annual Report category, 2016 First Place from the Kansas Professional Communicators Annual Report category and 2016 Honorable Mention from the National Federation of Press Women Nonprofit Brochures category. We also won the 2016 Gold Award from the Wichita American Marketing Association for the #ILoveWichita Wichita Flag cityscape design and initiative.

To what do you attribute your success?

I was drawing and painting from a very early age and always had a sense of the elements of design before I learned their technical definitions. Certainly, many useful traits have been passed down through my family, like the courage and determination necessary for growth and new ventures as well as a strong work ethic.

What is most valuable about Chamber membership?
Since I work alone at my home office, what is most valuable to me is networking and socializing with other Chamber members. Many of my clientele are Chamber members, whose design work was secured as a result of my Chamber membership and their recognition of my graphic projects produced specifically for the Chamber. On a scale of 1-10, I rate Chamber membership at a 10 for anyone who wants to build a successful business in this vibrant, pride-filled community.

What is your favorite Chamber event?

The Annual Meeting of course, since I have been given the opportunity to create the printed materials for the event: the folded flag brochure in 2015, the new logo reveal with special fold in 2016 and the Sports Celebrated magazine in 2017.

Sattler designed the interactive Wichita flag mural that is positioned on the east side of the building.

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
If you have some talent and you are willing to work hard, you can become very successful at your trade. But excellence, peak performance, and being the best you can be at something can really be enhanced with coaching. Don’t be afraid to seek appropriate counsel, mentoring and advice. Fortunately, Chamber membership provides many of these coaching opportunities to build your business.

What’s the most effective social media tool for your own business?

So far, I have not taken full advantage of the positive impact that social media could have on my business. I have an Instagram account, a Facebook page and a website that I am currently updating. However, I have dedicated time to create graphics for social media use for my clients.

Where do you see your business in the next five years?
I plan to nurture the seed that has already been established, to strive to make Dandelion Wine Design more efficient and profitable. We all know that it’s difficult to keep a good dandelion down. To be resilient and deeply rooted are key.

2018 Leadership Wichita Nominations Underway

Nominations opened this week for the 2018 Leadership Wichita program and will close on May 25. Managed by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Wichita provides an immersive experience every year for 30 area achievers. The program runs between August 23 and November 14 and provides interactive leadership learning experiences for those interested in taking increasingly more significant roles in shaping the region. Participants gain valuable insight into local government, economic development, education, and media; and interact with the key community and business leaders working to make progress in each area.

Ryan Bond of Sasnak is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Wichita and currently serves as the Chair of the Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees.

Since Leadership Wichita was introduced in 1983, more than 1,000 representatives of local businesses, government and the military have completed the program and have committed to become stronger leaders for our community. Those interested in participating must be nominated by another person and then submit a completed application.

Ryan Bond, Director of Brand Experience for Sasnak Management Corporation, graduated from the Leadership Wichita program in 2014. He currently serves as the Chair of the Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. Bond said the Board plans to announce the 2018 Leadership Wichita class on August 6. “Our Board’s goal is to have a group of participants, representing a broad spectrum of industries, backgrounds and viewpoints from across the region, that desire to make a positive difference in the community we share.”

Please visit the Chamber’s website to find more detailed information about the program and to submit a nomination by the May 25 deadline. For more information, contact the program manager Jonathan Long at 316-268-1170.

Internships Make an Impact

By Emma Meyer, Chamber Intern

Emma Meyer is a senior at Valley Center High School and plans to attend KSU in the fall to pursue a marketing degree. Follow @vchsinterns on Twitter to see posts about Emma’s experience and the work of other Valley Center High students.

Many people probably do not expect to see a high school intern in a professional business setting, but here I am at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. I began my internship with the Marketing & Communications Department in January and will complete it this week.

I’m a senior at Valley Center High School and am involved in activities ranging from volleyball and softball to National Honors Society and Student Council. Additionally, I am in the Internship Program that is coordinated by Mrs. Cody Lee. The program is for seniors, and this year there are 25 participants. Each student is released from class to go to their internship every day, and our internship experiences help us determine what we would like to pursue as a career. It helped me tremendously because I had no idea what I wanted to do until recently.

My first semester, I interned at Wesley Medical Center and Newton Medical Center. I saw some really cool things like a hysterectomy and open heart surgery… and no I did not pass out in the operating room. I found these things to be fascinating but ultimately decided the medical field is not for me. I wondered if I would enjoy something in the business field, so here I am.

I have loved every second that I have spent at the Chamber. Everyone is so nice and welcoming, and I am able to contribute to the team every day. Some of my projects  included posting ribbon-cutting photos on social media and writing captions for Chamber event pictures that are published in the Wichita Eagle. My biggest assignment dealt with the #ILoveWichita Campaign. I found pictures on Instagram that have used #ILoveWichita and selected a few each week that were later displayed on billboards throughout Wichita.

This fall, I plan to attend Kansas State University with a major in Marketing. My time at the Chamber has helped make this decision easier. I am very thankful for the things my internship has taught me and how it has allowed me to meet many amazing people and businesses in the Wichita area.


Experiences like the one Emma described above are key to retaining talent for Wichita. The Youth Employment Project (YEP), led by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, teaches Wichitans, as young as age 16, the skills necessary to become great employees and then connects them with an employer to provide a work experience to practice those skills. The program’s goal is to combat the exodus of our talent is by forging a deeper and earlier connection with our local talent pool.

How can you get involved?

  • HIRE
    interns (age 14-21) for a six- to 10-week paid work experience opportunity.
  • SPONSOR
    a paid intern work experience opportunity at another business or organization.
  • SPREAD THE WORD
    about this important program through your own professional and social networks.

For more information contact the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas:
Employers  call 316-771-6622
Intern Applicants – call 316-771-6620

Follow this link to see a 2017 video produced by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas regarding the Youth Employment Project from the perspective of employers.

Frontier Airlines Announces Nonstop Wichita/Denver Service

As Wichita carries on its Air Capital legacy into the next generation, local leaders in both the public and private sectors are strategically focusing resources to grow businesses and attract talent to our region. Ease of travel and low-cost airfare to high-demand destinations is a component vital to our success. For years, business and leisure travelers alike have made it known that improved service between Wichita and Denver is desperately needed. The Wichita Airport Authority has worked hard to make these needs known to the airlines. Yesterday, Frontier Airlines answered the call to action.

Beginning August 30, Frontier will return to Wichita with nonstop service to and from Denver for as low as $59 each way. With current round-trip fares to Denver often exceeding $1,000, this is fantastic news. If businesses and leisure travelers want the competition to remain in Wichita to keep fares low, they should fly this new, low-cost option to Denver as often as possible.

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically welcomed the news. Our public and private partners have been hard at work to support the Wichita Airport Authority in communicating current demand. “I am extremely excited for this addition to the Wichita market!” said Peggy Deiter, Manager of Governance, Internal Communications & Community Affairs for Bombardier Learjet and Chair of the Chamber’s Air Services Task Force. “Enhancing air services in South Central Kansas is vital to our competitive growth and improved quality of place. Frontier Airlines service to Denver helps advance these goals.  This is great news for the entire Wichita region.”

This truly is great news. To celebrate this service, Frontier is offering special introductory one-way fares as low as $29 which are available now at flyfrontier.com. To get this introductory fare, flights must be purchased by 10:59 p.m. Central time on May 9, 2018.

Media Links
Wichita Eagle – Frontier Airlines launches service to Denver with $58 fares
Wichita Business Journal – Frontier Airlines ready to bust the high fares from Wichita to Denver
KMUW – Frontier Announces Nonstop Flights Between Wichita And Denver

Member Minute with Connie’s Mexico Café

2227 N. Broadway, Wichita, KS 67219 | 316-832-9636
Facebook: Connie’s Mexico Café
Instagram: @conniesmexico

One of Wichita’s oldest and most-loved Mexican restaurants, Connie’s Mexico Café is celebrating 55 years in business this month. The founders of the restaurant, Ralph and Connie Lopez, proved that you don’t need a fancy degree to do well in life — just a commitment to work hard and a desire to chase the American dream. They passed that work ethic on to their daughter Carmen Rosales, who now owns the restaurant, and she is passing it down to her children and grandchildren.

Carmen shares her passion for her family-owned restaurant and the broader Wichita community in this Small Business Week Member Minute Profile.

Please tell us a little bit about your business.
Connie’s Mexico Cafe was started in 1963 by Connie and Ralph Lopez. After Ralph served in WW2, Connie, Ralph and their daughter Carmen moved to Wichita to truly live the American dream. Wichita is such an entrepreneurial town. Ralph also opened his own barber shop and helped Connie start the café. They worked hard at owning small businesses!

Today, we sell Tex-Mex food and are known for our King Size Burrito, and we have 21 employees.

You can’t go wrong with the queso fundido enchiladas!

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Being voted Best Mexican Restaurant in the Wichita Eagle Reader’s Choice Awards again and celebrating 55 years of service in 2018.

To what do you attribute your success?
Consistency of my mother Connie’s recipes, taking no shortcuts, and offering the best service and food. 

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Longevity and consistency 

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
We have been around since April 1963. 

Where do you see your organization in five years?
More expansion and publicity for our business and hopefully another location.

What about your business are you most passionate?
Happy customers and co-workers 

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
We are strongly tied to the local community events in Northside. We participate in some NoMar events, and we donate what we can when any local organizations need a helping hand. 

Share any fun facts, throw backs, historical facts, or unique aspects of your business.

  1. Connie’s burritos were 25 cents back in the 1960’s.
  2. Our building is 112 years old.
  3. We found a beautiful hidden mural in our kitchen when we renovated last year.
  4. Connie used to make the tortillas from scratch for all the meals on the menu.
  5. Back in the 1970/80’s the Carney brothers, founders of Pizza Hut, tried to ask Grandma Connie if she’d ever consider franchising Connie’s food. Connie declined the opportunity to consider franchising Connie’s food. We often wonder if Connie’s could have been the next Taco Bell, but if you’ve ever eaten a Connie’s taco, you’d quickly taste the difference!

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you find most valuable about Chamber membership?
We became members to invest in our future and to join forces with other local businesses. We want to share ideas with other members and hear their goals, give encouragement and take any advice on how to thrive! 

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
Highly recommend! We all want our businesses to grow not only with customers, but because of relationships with community and other businesses. This will create an awesome city for all. 

What has Chamber membership brought to you and your business?
The ribbon-cutting event celebrating our 55th anniversary (scheduled for Friday, May 11) is such an honor. We can’t wait to celebrate!

The fajita plate is also a customer favorite.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is the best thing about being a small business?
I teach my family about everything, and my grandkids get to experience growing up in the restaurant industry.

What is the most challenging thing about running a small business?
Finding employees with the same passion. 

What is your best piece of advice for new small business owners/entrepreneurs?
Never lose hope and never give up!

What is something you wish you had known when your started your own business?
The hard work is never ending.

Favorite app?
Facebook and Instagram are powerful tools we use to advertise. And, of course, our alarm system Alert 360 to always check on our restaurant when we can’t be there.

WICHITA BUSINESS COMMUNITY
What is the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
The best thing about doing business in the Wichita area is the cooperation other businesses bring. We love that big or small companies have their events at our restaurant or we cater at their special events. We love that we are considered an icon and a staple of Wichita.

Is there anything else you would like to include?
Please join us for our 55th Anniversary Celebration on May 11 & 12! We will be having a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Chamber of Commerce at 1 p m  on Friday the 11th and other fun events all weekend!

Connie’s Mexico Cafe Owner Carmen Rosales stands next to family photos that hang in the restaurant. They show her parents, Ralph and Connie, and her five daughters.

Member Minute with The Arcade

139 N. Mead, Wichita, KS 67202 | 316-844-0010 | thearcadewichita.com
Facebook: @thearcadewichita | Twitter & Instagram: @arcadewichita

Owners Michael Jensen and Derek Sorrells have brought a new and unique entertainment option to downtown Wichita.

What do you do when you and your buddy own nearly 70 arcade game from the 80s and 90s? You open a place where people from all around can enjoy them, which is exactly what arcade game collectors Derek Sorrells and Michael Jensen did. For some, visiting The Arcade brings back nostalgia of their youth. For others, it is the first time experiencing these games. And for all, it is a lot of fun.

President Derek Sorrells shares what makes The Arcade unique (and an incredible deal – only $10 for all-day play!) and his enthusiasm for gaming in this Small Business Week Member Minute Profile.

Please tell us a little bit about your company.
The Arcade was opened on December 15, 2017 by Derek Sorrells and Michael Jensen, two arcade game collectors that turned their private collections into a place where everyone can enjoy and play 80s and 90s arcade games. We are located in downtown Wichita at 139 N. Mead.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Parties! We have held MANY parties….more than we ever thought we would. We have hosted everything from corporate parties to church groups to team-building events. And, of course, birthday parties.

$10 buys all-day, unlimited play at The Arcade.

To what do you attribute your success?
A simple low price ($10 for all the games you can play!) and a large group of games that all work!

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
We don’t require quarters or tokens for our 75 video games. Customers can play all they want for one flat fee.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
Michael and I owned 90% of the arcade games BEFORE the arcade opened. Both had huge personal collections in their basements and now we get to share them with our customers.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
It’s difficult to know where we’ll be in five years. This is an interesting business based somewhat on nostalgia. Hopefully we are still around and growing!

What about your business are you most passionate?
Seeing people smile and hearing them tell their kids, “This is what an arcade was like when I was a kid!” The stories and comments like that make our business worthwhile every day.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
We generously donate to non-profits.

Share any fun facts, throw backs, historical facts, or unique aspects of your business.
Derek’s first arcade game was Galaga and Michael’s was Mortal Kombat 2.

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber?
We joined the Chamber in order to work with other small business owners and to grow and learn together.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is the best thing about being a small business?
If something needs to change, we change it.

What is the most challenging thing about running a small business?
You’re the CEO and the janitor at the same time.

What is your best piece of advice for new small business owners/entrepreneurs?
Plan. Talk to people already doing what you want to do. Don’t let your passion overrule logic.

WICHITA BUSINESS COMMUNITY
What is the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
The people. We are friends with people that run arcades across the U.S. The problems they seem to have (like trying to sneak in, rude and crass behavior, etc.), we just don’t see much of it. People are friendly and respectful.

OTHER
Favorite app?
The Points Guy (love traveling!)

Favorite business book?
Anything from Tony Robbins

Member Minute with Red Door Three

1400 Terradyne St #210 | Andover, KS 67002 | (316) 570-2773
FB: @RedDoorThree | Twitter: @edmundson3

Stacy Edmundson is the President and Owner of Red Door Three.

Stacy Edmundson is the President and Owner of Red Door Three. Located in Andover, the company has been a Chamber member since 2014 and a member of the Wichita Manufacturer’s Association (a Chamber affiliate) since 2015. Edmundson’s passion for customer service shines through in this Member Minute.

What products and services does Red Door Three provide?
Red Door Three is a display and exhibit company that specializes in creating exhibits that are custom to the client’s needs — from design to manufacture to set-up and dismantle. Our main areas of focus are custom exhibits, portable displays, custom kiosks and interior signage. We handle the project, from the design process to manufacturing  to final installation. We are also an authorized Nimlok dealer.

Why did you join the Chamber and what do you find most valuable about Chamber membership?
Business is all about relationships. We joined to connect with other businesses in the Wichita area. It’s been an amazing marketing tool for us and has helped with name recognition and credibility.

What is the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
Wichita is a great city to do business in, especially in our industry, because of the variety of businesses that call Wichita ‘home’. Every business needs what we have to offer in some way or another. We want our clients to succeed in their marketing efforts so that they can grow and create more jobs. We take great pride in that. There’s no more gratifying feeling than designing an exhibit and having it come to life to create business opportunities for our clients.

A rendering of the Solution Center that will open soon inside the new warehouse space Red Door Three will occupy in Andover.

Describe your business’ most recent successes.
It’s been a banner year, so I’d have to list five things.
— I was just accepted into the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative. In completing the program, I will have developed a three-year strategic growth action plan for my business.
— With the help of the Kansas PTAC Team, we are finalizing our government contracting certifications.
— We’ll soon be finalizing a Solutions Center for our clients at our facility located in Andover. It will be a great environment for clients so that they can see various products and what materials and options are available.
— We were recognized by Nimlok for “2017 Best Design” for an exhibit we created for a local Wichita client.
— Last year’s growth was amazing and our referrals are helping our expansion.

To what do you attribute your success?
Making sure that every client we have feels like they are our only client. We are focused on customer service. Our clients know that we will take care of them. That’s crucial in our industry. We live by deadlines and we don’t get second chances.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
There are two of them actually. I try to attend every Small Business Owner Roundtable. It’s a great opportunity to meet with other business owners in the community and the session topics are very informative. The topic may not pertain to my business at this point in time, but things change so rapidly that it probably will soon.

My other favorite is the Member Business Exchange. You meet so many different businesses in such a short period of time. Great event!

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
The fact that we offer complete trade show coordination — logistics, show service coordination, set-up/dismantle, and exhibit storage. All of those services are needed to put a client’s exhibit to use and they can continue to rely on us for those.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
We’re LOCAL. Many companies in our area have relied on exhibit houses outside of Wichita to develop their exhibits and may not realize that they can get the same level and depth of services with Red Door Three right here in the Wichita area. I would put us up against anyone’s current exhibit partner in terms of customer service, value, and overall expertise in the industry. Also, many other exhibit houses require their customers to sign multiple-year fulfillment contracts. These contracts require the client to work exclusively with an exhibit house for a specific period of time, typically two years. We don’t believe those types of contracts are necessary. We hold ourselves to the highest standards on all of our projects at all times. Returning clients and referrals are a testament to our high level of service.

What has Chamber membership brought to you and your business?
Visibility. I didn’t buy an existing business. I started a brand new one. While I had years of industry experience and people knew my name, they weren’t familiar with my company. The Chamber was the best way to get my name out there. It helped with both visibility and establishing credibility.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
We just celebrated our fourth anniversary and we’ve had a lot of growth in those four years. I predict even more growth for us in the next five years. I want to keep building our diverse list of clients and hope to hire a few more people over the next few years.

What about your business are you most passionate?
Learning about businesses and telling the client’s story thru exhibits and displays.  By doing this, it allow the client a platform to open more doors and provide more opportunities for their business. The variety of businesses in and around Wichita is truly amazing. I always try to get a tour of our client’s facility to get a real sense of what they do and how they do it. It helps us to provide the background and details our designers need to do the best job for the client. Those details definitely show through at the end.

Best thing about being a small business?
Knowing that the sacrifices and challenges are worth it when you get to pursue your own passion.

Most challenging thing about owning a small business?
Juggling so many priorities can be challenging, but there’s a real sense of gratification when you deliver exactly what you promised the client.

Best piece of advice for new small business owners.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek mentors who you can connect with and support your vision. I’ve been so impressed with the business professionals who’ve been able to help me. Just one example: Shawn Nguyen at Wichita State University’s Kansas PTAC Team guided me through the entire certification process for government contracting. That group is invaluable for small businesses like mine.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
A 10 for sure. There’s no better way to connect with the many great businesses in and around the Wichita area.

Favorite business book?
Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
I recently joined the Wichita Aero Club and I’m a member of the Board of the Wichita Manufacturer’s Association (WMA). The majority of our clients are manufacturers, so I really enjoy learning more about that they do through the tours WMA offers. It’s really beneficial to interact with people who have so much experience in that industry. Our manufacturing experience in this region elevates us globally and I like being part of that organization.

Is there anything else you want to share?
People always ask me about the company name. I can’t take credit for it. I gave one of my dear colleagues the task of coming up with something that represented my beliefs. She came up with three words.
RED – is for leadership, courage and passion. It’s a bold color that stands out, even from afar. It represents the courage to outshine others and do the things others might be afraid to do.
DOOR – we offer different options.
THREE– represents my three children.

That sums it up!