Fun on the Exposure Show Floor

Stacy Ward Lattin (owner of Hopping Gnome Brewing) and Natasha Gandhi (owner of The Kitchen) are teaming up to offer a Bite & Sip experience at Exposure.

Three weeks from today, Century II’s Expo Hall will become the place to be in the Wichita business community when our Exposure trade show and networking event comes to life. On Sept. 27, more than 220 businesses from all industries will exhibit their products and services, and more than 1,800 attendees will walk away with connections and leads to grow their networks.

But aside from that, there will be a whole lot of FUN on the show floor. One of our favorite new partnerships is between Hopping Gnome Brewing Company and The Kitchen. The Hopping Gnome is a small microbrewery and taproom known for their exceptional customer service and passion for craft beer, and The Kitchen is locally and family-owned restaurant known for serving delicious food that is good for the body and makes the heart happy. These woman-led companies are teaming up to offer attendees a Bite & Sip Pairing, which will feature a Hopping Gnome Beer that pairs well with The Kitchen’s Southwest Quinoa Salad. Pay them a visit at booth #920 — your taste buds will thank you. (Pro Tip: Look for balloons throughout the show floor to find the BizBite booths, which are food vendors serving samples of their delicious offerings).

Paint the Towne Owner Jessie Sterling (left) says her exhibit will showcase options for team building activities.

Another new addition to Exposure this year is the creative team at Paint the Towne, a company that offers fun step-by-step paint parties for all ages and group sizes. Owner Jessie Sterling has promised an interactive experience when you visit them at booth #1010. “We will have art installations that guest can actually help create — some for the nice and clean, and some that are a little bit more for the adventurous.”

Many vendors use Exposure as a venue to launch new products and services. The team at Superior Signs & Engraving will be showcasing their new direct-to-garment printing services, and attendees will be able to see the process live, as they will be printing shirts throughout the show. Stop by and check them out in booth #116.

For those who have attended Exposure in the last few years, you undoubtedly remember your visit to the Expo Block Party. The party is returning in 2018 and the following businesses are participating: Auto Craft Collision Repair, Heartland Play & Stay/Hairy Sofa Pet Grooming, Metro Appliances, River City Brewing Co., Specs and Sweetly Scrumptious. Come party with them on the main Red Carpet Aisle.

The Expo Block Party is always a show favorite.

One of our staff’s favorite parts of Exposure is getting to see so many Chamber members and member of the community in one place. You will find Chamber staff through the show floor and in our booth (#614). We will be celebrating a Salute to the Military, so stop by to sign a welcome banner for the KC-46 Tanker and U.S.S. Wichita Naval Combat Ship crews.

We hope this has piqued your interest and that you will join us on Sept. 27. The show floor will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you can experience all of this Exposure fun at no cost! Admission to the show is free for business professionals, but we do recommend registering in advance to expedite the check-in process at the event. Register here and be sure to check out the complete list of registered exhibitors. We will see you at Exposure!

Google Small Business Trainer in Wichita on Sept. 27

Register for three free sessions today!
People in Wichita are looking for your company’s products and services. Participating in our Exposure trade show event is one way to boost your brand awareness. But your potential customers are also looking online.

That’s why we’re teaming up with Google to host three free workshops at Exposure on Thursday, Sept. 27 to help your business get online and grow! Please join us for one (or all three) of the sessions outlined below, and invite anyone else you think would benefit.

>> Be sure to check out the intro video from Google Small Business Trainer Pamela Starr at the bottom of this post. <<

Make Your Website Work For You (11 to 11:45 a.m.)
If you’re launching a new business website (or sprucing up an existing site), this workshop is for you. Learn how to create a search-friendly website that’s useful for customers and supports your business goals. In this workshop we’ll offer tips for:

  • Building a goal-oriented website
  • Creating useful content for your audience
  • Ensuring your site is useful for visitors, on any and every device
  • Increasing visibility with search engine optimization (SEO)

Tips for Measuring Online Success (11:55 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.)
You invest time, effort, and resources into being online, but do you know how much it’s worth to your bottom line? This workshop introduces ways to track and measure progress, so you can find out. In this workshop we’ll discuss best practices for:

  • Measuring the success of your website
  • Evaluating actions on your Google My Business listing
  • Optimizing your online ad campaigns

Using Data to Drive Growth (12:50 to 1:45 p.m.)
Learn about tools that can help you understand customer behavior with your online presence. We’ll show you how you can use this info to make informed decisions about your ongoing online marketing strategy. In this session we’ll talk about:

  • Identifying  business goals (and how you plan to use your online presence to achieve them)
  • Incorporating data into your plan
  • Selecting tools to help you find the answers you need

RSVP Now 
(Please register to attend Exposure and select which session(s) you plan to attend on the final check-out screen.)

Being online can have a big impact: Small businesses are nearly 3x as likely to reach more customers and new markets when they fully adopt digital tools. Yet, less than 1 in 5 small businesses in Kansas have a listing on a search engine. RSVP today for any of the workshops outlined above, and together we can help grow your business.

Exposure will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27 at Century II Expo Hall. It is the region’s premiere business-to-business trade show and networking event. Exhibit your products and services for as little as $150, or attend the show for free (advance registration is recommended).

 

Thirty-one Selected for 2018 Leadership Wichita Class

Thirty-one citizens from the Wichita region have been selected to participate in the 2018 Leadership Wichita class, an immersive leadership experience presented by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. This class will join the more than 1,000 other individuals who have committed to become stronger leaders for the community since the program was launched in 1983.

“Leadership Wichita provides professionals insight into community processes in order to use their talents and skills to tackle local needs, such as education and economic development,” said Ryan Bond, Chair of Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. “Past participants of Leadership Wichita have made significant contributions in our community, and this year’s class will graduate equipped with the knowledge to build upon their professional successes, contributing to make Wichita the premier place to grow companies, careers and communities.”

Participants are identified through a nomination process, followed by submission of a formal application to the program’s Board of Trustees for selection. The 2018 class will participate in nine sessions that cover issues such as the future vision for Wichita, economic development, the impact of ensuring a highly-educated population, the importance of consensus within government, and executing their leadership skills through real-life examples, group discussions and collaboration.

The first session of the 2018 Leadership Wichita class will begin Thursday, Aug. 23 and the program will conclude Wednesday, Nov. 14 with a celebratory reception.

2018 Leadership Wichita Class:

  • Claudia Yaujar-Amaro, AB&C Bilingual Resources, LLC
  • Francis Baalmann, Foulston Siefkin LLP
  • Rachel Banning, Special Products, LLC
  • Courtney Bengtson, Wichita Community Foundation
  • Rachel Biggs, K·Coe Isom LLP
  • Brian Blackerby, INTRUST Bank
  • Todd Carter, Pathway Church
  • Angie Elliott, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Sherii Farmer, Westar Energy
  • Levi Fitzmier, RSM Marketing
  • Dioane Gates, World Impact, Inc.
  • Christyn Gunter, The Kansas African American Museum
  • Anna Hatter, City of Wichita
  • Michele Ingenthron, USD 259 Wichita Public Schools
  • Donita Jarrell, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office
  • Venus Lee, GraceMed Health Clinic, Inc.
  • Rusty Leeds, Sedgwick County
  • Erik Lopez, Airbus Americas, Inc.
  • Jeff Lucas, High Touch Technologies, Inc.
  • Tevin Manuel, United States Air Force
  • Thea Pajunen, Fidelity Bank
  • Laura Roddy, Mark Arts
  • Dan Shurtz, Oxford Senior Living
  • Chris Snyder, Kansas Air National Guard
  • Kevin Steckley, Syndeo HRO
    Rachel Thomas-Murphy, Thomas Grey Interiors
  • Brian Truskett, Eby Construction Company
  • Fe Vorderlandwehr, Alzheimer’s Association of Central & Western Kansas
  • Katie Wesbrooks, Spirit Aerosystems
  • Zach Wiggins, Martin Pringle Law Firm
  • Lora Winchell, Hunter Health Clinic

Please join us in congratulating this year’s class!

Member Minute with Retreat to Joy

Connie Porazka of Retreat to Joy
110 S. Main, Ste. 101 | 316-650-3761
retreattojoy.com
Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Connie Porazka is a pioneer in the field of Mindfulness and says Wichita is on its way to becoming noted for its growing mindful community.

Recent studies have revealed that 80% of American workers feel stress on the job. And, nearly half say they need ‘real’ help in dealing with job-related stress. Connie Porazka and Susan Langmann founded Retreat to Joy in 2016 to address this workplace issue through the practice of Mindfulness, the process of bringing one’s attention to the present moment. Learn more about this Wichita-centric business with a goal of helping people elevate their sense of joy and happiness.

YOUR BUSINESS
Please tell us a little bit about your company.
At Retreat to Joy, our mission is to transform individuals and businesses through Mindfulness to create and nurture a kinder Wichita. We offer training in Mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Our vision is to make Mindfulness an integral part of local corporate culture. We do this by offering a variety of platforms, from 2-hour lunch-and-learn programs to half, single, and multi-day team workshops.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
We most recently were engaged in a full-day retreat entitled More Joy, Less Stress, a custom tailored workshop for 25 employees from Child Start. Participants learned about stress resilience and compassionate self-care.

To what do you attribute your success?
Mindfulness is becoming an in-demand mainstream need; the trends in the marketplace are indicating this. Some of the most downloaded apps of 2017 were Mindfulness apps, like Calm. Businesses often suffer because of all that weighs on their employees and are seeking solutions to equip workers with tools to improve workplace productivity. Joy is the missing ingredient in so many lives, so we are here to help more Wichitans access a daily sense of joy through Mindfulness.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Currently we are pioneers in this field and are actively networking and partnering with anyone who wants to join. Wichita is already well on its way to becoming noted for its growing mindful community.

Connie wants people to know that meditation is not just sitting cross-legged on the floor. She’s teaches businesses how to easily incorporate the teachings into each day.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
I have trained in Mindfulness at the University of California, San Diego. In addition, I’ve completed Google Search Inside Yourself Institute training at Georgetown University. This has put me into contact with leaders and concepts in the Mindfulness movement at the national level, and I’m bringing that knowledge to Wichita.

Where do you see your business in five years?
I’d like all that we’re doing to nurture Wichita as a community. Part of doing that involves a long-term plan of establishing a school in Wichita for nutrition and Mindfulness.

What about your business are you most passionate?
I love helping people and businesses discover the joy of living in the present moment and the ability to reduce stress in their lives. My practice is very Wichita-centric to benefit the community I call home.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
Yes, we work with Wichita in Mind, e2e, WeKan, and Breakthrough Club, to name a few. We also organize a monthly Mindfulness Meditation. This is a free service we offer to the community, which also provides attendees the opportunity to support and be supported by other like-minded individuals.

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you think will be most valuable about Chamber membership?
Being part of the Chamber is a wonderful opportunity interact with other businesses. It puts us in a great space to meet people who also love Wichita and want to be part of the Renaissance going on here.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
I am a morning person and really look forward to the Sunrise Scramblers.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
10! I have had such a personal and warm welcome into the Chamber. Everyone has been so helpful!

SMALL BUSINESS
What is your biggest challenge as a small business?
I think for us, like most small businesses, it’s challenging to initially bring in enough capital to elevate the business to the next level.

What’s the best thing about being a small business?
I enjoy the freedom to build my business by connecting with others. There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in Wichita and I love getting to be a part of that!

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
Work at it every day. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the big picture. But if you can do even just a little each day, those consistent efforts will bring about your dreams into reality.

What is something you wish you’d known before you started your business?
I wish I’d known more about all of the tremendous resources here available to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Here are some that I’ve had the privilege of working with that I wish everyone knew about: e2e, Network Kansas, SBDC and Kauffman FastTrac.

Why do you like doing business in the Wichita area?
I love the Wichita community. I am native to Kansas and it is so fulfilling to be working towards creating even more connectivity and positivity in the place I proudly call home.

OTHER TIDBITS
Favorite business app?
My favorite business app is Insight Timer. It’s the app I use to time my daily meditations.

Favorite business book? Why?
My favorite business book is Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. The principles in this book have helped guide my vision, and I believe that making a positive impact in the community can send the effects rippling throughout the world. But it starts HERE.

What’s the most effective social media tool for your business?
I find that Facebook has been an enormously effective tool for spreading the word and bringing people together. You can expect to see lots of new and exciting content on our Retreat To Joy page on Facebook.

How many hours per week do you devote to connecting with your customers and partners on social media?
This is a tricky question, because spending too much time on social media can be considered a roadblock to Mindfulness. However, I post regularly to maintain engagement and raise awareness. I love using social media to spark real life meet-ups. You can often find me having meaningful face-to-face conversations over coffee as a result of social media interactions with individuals who want to learn more about Mindfulness.

 

7 Ways to Celebrate Wichita’s Birthday

The 148th anniversary of Wichita’s incorporation is this Saturday, July 21. We encourage everyone to find a way to celebrate our city and have offered several recommendations below. Tell us how you’re celebrating on Twitter by using #ILoveWichita.

Attend a Birthday Celebration

  • The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is providing free
    admission on Saturday if you bring a Birthday card for Wichita.
  • Known as LevelUP, several community groups are transforming
    a not-so-typical parking garage into a vibrant, curated showcase
    of Wichita at 215 S. Market.
  • The Wichita Art Museum is hosting a Birthday Bash to celebrate
    the city’s anniversary as well as the Museum’s 83rd birthday.
  • Host your own birthday bash by offering a discount or service for
    people wearing flag swag and promote it via social media.

The flag is a common sight in College Hill neighborhoods. Photo from Tillie’s Flower Shop.

Wave Your #WichitaFlag
Gone are the days when only a handful of businesses and homes were flying the city’s official flag. Wichitans are showing their pride at home, school and work by flying their favorite civic symbol and tagging @WichitaFlag on social media. Don’t own a flag, yet? Find a list of local vendors that can set you up with various sizes of flags at ilovewichita.org.

Support a Local Artist
Stumped about how to mark a special occasion for a friend, family member or co-worker? Purchase some flag wearables or art. The variety and quantity of creative folk and commercial art that Wichitans are creating is dazzling. Check the @WichitaFlag accounts and look for the flag swag listing on ilovewichita.org.

This mural can be found at 350 W. Douglas.

Visit a Mural
Wouldn’t it be flagtastic to have a guide to all the Wichita flag-themed murals in the downtown area? The Chamber offers a PDF guide for the three-mile stretch of Douglas Avenue between Clifton Avenue and S. Osage Street (download at ilovewichita.org).

Rather go green? Then download the izi.travel app and look for the Wichita Flag Murals – Downtown Wichita, Kansas tour. There are both audio and readable versions of the tour, which includes 28 different murals on or near Douglas Avenue.

Display #ILoveWichita for All to See
Share what you love about our city on social media using #ILoveWichita, use your organization’s digital signage to share your pride, or add a #ILoveWichita decal to the front door of your company of organization (Contact Courtney Sendall to learn how to get a decal).

Heather Feist (@honeyfeist) and friends spent their friend-cation in matching flag tanks at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Participate in the #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest
Take the Wichita flag on your summer vacation and enter to win. Just follow @WichitaFlag on Instagram and post your original photos on Instagram of you repping ICT. Tag your location, use #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest, and be part of spreading the Wichita love.

Show Your Wichita Colors
Grab a copy of today’s Wichita Eagle to cut and color a Wichita flag coloring sheet, or download a two-sided version from ilovewichita.org.

Member Minute with the Alzheimer’s Association

1820 E. Douglas | 316-267-7333
Follow on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
alz.org/cwkansas/

Fe Vorderlandwehr is the Executive Director of the local chapter of the Association, which serves 68 counties in Kansas.

Did you know that Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined each year? This month is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and Executive Director Fe Vorderlandwehr is featured in this Member Minute to share ways you can get involved to find a cure. And be sure to mark your calendar for Oct. 13 for the 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at INTRUST Bank Arena.

Please tell us a little bit about your organization.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. We work on a global, national and local level to provide care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Association is committed to accelerating the global progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure.

Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

The Association is the leading voice for Alzheimer’s disease advocacy, fighting for critical Alzheimer’s research, prevention and care initiatives at the state and federal level. We diligently work to make Alzheimer’s a national priority.

The Alzheimer’s Association was founded in 1980 by a group of family caregivers. Today, the Association reaches millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s across the globe through our headquarters in Chicago, a public policy office in Washington, D.C., and a presence in communities across the country. The local chapter serves 68 counties throughout central & western Kansas and is located in Wichita. They operate with a staff of 8 and countless volunteers.

Describe your organization’s most recent success.
We recently hosted our inaugural Memory Gala. This first-time event brought together over 340 civic and community leaders. It allowed us to not only expand our reach and share our message with many for the first time, but it also raised over $384,000 to help fund local care, support and research programs.

Also, on June 1, Governor Jeff Coyler signed the Executive Order to authorize the development of an Alzheimer’s Kansas State Plan. With the Order, all 50 states now have a state plan.

On June 1, Governor Jeff Coyler authorized the development of an Alzheimer’s Kansas State Plan. 

To what do you attribute your success?
We have a great Board of Directors and passionate committee volunteers representing many different industries and interests. But we all are working together to achieve our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

What is something people may not know about you or your organization?
We provide respite grants for caregivers. While care giving can be rewarding, it can also create tension and exhaustion. Without some time off, the mental and physical health of the caregiver becomes affected. This could reduce the quality of care for the loved one. The purpose of the Respite Assistance Program is to provide family caregivers time to do necessary or desired activities. The program helps pay for care for the loved one while the caregiver gets a short break, respite. The program can allow the caregiver to do things such as: go to the beauty shop, have lunch with a friend, maintain the garden, visit the physician, take a nap, and more. With this program, we hope to ease the burden on families by helping with some of the costs. 

What differentiates your organization from your others in similar spaces?
We are the largest Alzheimer’s-related nonprofit that provides care and support programs AND research.

As the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Association is committed to accelerating the global progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure. Our peer-reviewed research grant program has invested over $385 million in more than 2,500 scientific investigations since 1982. 

Where do you see your organization in five years?
It is important that while we look toward funding research we continue to provide care and support. The Association will contribute to research breakthroughs that are life-changing for people with Alzheimer’s disease by driving the international research agenda.

The Association will contribute to a dramatic increase (e.g., to 90 percent) in the accurate and timely diagnosis of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and a significant increase in the number of people with dementia and their caregivers who receive affordable, high-quality care and support (e.g., to 80 percent of people with the disease).

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
Participating in community activities is something that we enjoy. We have been a part of the Wichita WagonMaster’s Chili Cook-Off, ICT Open Streets, Wichita Women’s Fair, Wichita Pride, and Final Fridays in the Douglas Design District.

What about your organization are you most passionate?
Finding a cure! And the path toward a cure is research. The Alzheimer’s Association is one of the largest funders for Alzheimer’s research, behind only the American and Chinese governments.

THE CHAMBER
What do you find most valuable about Chamber membership?

Being part of the Chamber not only helps us with community outreach and awareness but with community engagement as well. Outreach and engagement are two separate things. The Chamber allows us to reach more businesses as well as engage not only them but ourselves with the community.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
The Sunrise Scramblers are a wonderful way to start the day. Getting to network and know members from the community, as well as hear from great speakers on relevant topics are reasons why we are part of the Scrambler Club and we reserve a seat at breakfast for the entire year!

What has Chamber membership brought to you and your organization?
It has given us access to business and community leaders and allowed us to explore partnerships that can be mutually beneficial.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
10 – Really the question isn’t ‘why to join’ but ‘why not join’. The Chamber offers so many different ways to get involved and meet fellow business colleagues and leaders. You can choose how to be involved and what areas interest you.

NONPROFIT
What is the greatest challenge in operating a nonprofit?
Outreach. We have a small staff of 8 individuals and cover 68 counties in Kansas. We just can’t physically be everywhere, however, we have great volunteers and ambassadors that help us with education classes, programs and fundraisers. We are always looking for more passionate volunteers to help us reach and engage our community members in central and western Kansas.

Mark your calendar for Oct.13 for the 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at INTRUST Bank Arena.

How can people get involved with your organization?
We have many volunteer opportunities that range from fundraising, marketing, education, office help, special events, etc.  If you are looking for a way to get involved, please give us a call. Whatever your interest or skills, I know there is a volunteer opportunity. For example, we have some volunteers that help sew “busy blankets” for those with Alzheimer’s, some help download iPods with music for our Roth Project, some help with data entry, some help plan events, and so much more.

What is the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
I’ve always described Wichita as the “largest” small town. Even though there is close to 400,000 residents in Wichita (and over 640,000 total for the metro area), there is still a strong sense of community and of helping your neighbors and fellow citizens. I feel we get the best of both worlds.

OTHER
Favorite app?
Walk to End Alzheimer’s App. Staying up to date with your Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraising progress is easy! Just click on the My Fundraising Progress button to get real-time goal and raised amounts. Take advantage of all your potential donors with email addresses by sending them an email donation ask. Schedule posts on Facebook, too! You can choose from a list of weekly messages or other timely messages to automatically post on your Facebook Timeline and your friends’ News Feeds just like any posts shared from the Facebook app.

Favorite business book?
Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell.  It is a short read but a great read – a great guide to being a better leader and mentor.

Is there anything else you would like to include? 

Purple Goldfish authors coming to Wichita

Authors and customer experience leaders Evan Carroll and David Rendall will be speaking in Wichita on June 21. Their three-hour workshop is titled “Think Outside the Bowl: Creating a World-Class Experience to Drive Customer Loyalty and Advocacy” and is based on the Purple Goldfish book series. The workshop will challenge attendees to think differently about their customers and to do the little things that make a big difference in customer experience. The program is presented by AMA Wichita and the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. It will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 21 at The Hudson – directly following Wichita American Marketing Association’s Awards luncheon.

Evan Carroll is an NPR, CBS, and New York Times featured author, keynote speaker, Veteran SXSW presenter, and IBM Futurist who humanizes technology to connect with customers, engage employees and drive a stronger bottom line. As a workshop facilitator, Evan inspires companies to leverage technology, data, and analytics to drive customer loyalty and advocacy. He is the author of two books: Blue Goldfish and Your Digital Afterlife.

During the last fifteen years, David Rendall has spoken to audiences on every inhabited continent. His clients include the US Air Force, Australian Government, and Fortune 50 companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, United Health Group, Fannie Mae and State Farm. David has a doctor of management degree in organizational leadership, as well as a graduate degree in psychology. He is the author of four books: The Four Factors of Effective Leadership; The Freak Factor; The Freak Factor for Kids; and Pink Goldfish.

Emily Juhnke of Gardner Design is the incoming president of Wichita’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and has heard Evan speak on previous occasions. “The AMA is made up of professionals who are leaders in their fields of expertise, and this definitely includes Evan and David,” Emily said. “We’re so excited for Wichita businesses to benefit from their insights, which, when applied, will no doubt lead to increased sales and profitability.”

“We’re thrilled to have national thought-leaders like Evan and David joining us in Wichita,” said Chamber Director of Engagement Rachel Douglass. “When the Wichita American Marketing Association secured them for their annual awards luncheon and asked if we’d like to partner on a post-luncheon workshop, it was a no-brainer. The importance of customer service and overall differentiation is key to the success of our local businesses – and our community’s economic growth.”

Tickets are available for $45, and each ticket holder will receive will receive a signed copy of Purple Goldfish ($15.95 value) and a copy of the Purple Goldfish Workbook ($19.95 value). Register at wichitachamber.org.

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

Chamber announces staffing updates in Membership, Accounting departments

Monica Poe is the Chamber’s new Membership Data Manager.

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce has recently expanded our staff. Monica Poe has been hired as the Membership Data Manager, and Alison Percy has been hired as the Member Engagement Coordinator. In addition, Peter Gaulding’s role as Accounting Clerk has moved from part-time to full-time.

Monica, a graduate of Wichita State University, previously worked at the Marketing Manager for In the Bag Cleaners. In her new role, she is responsible for maintaining accurate membership records and for managing the organization’s membership database to assist in strategic analyses. Her background in managing data and measuring results will help position the organization for continued success. Her first day at the Chamber was Jan. 2.

Alison Percy has joined the Chamber team as the Member Engagement Coordinator.

Alison, a graduate of Kansas State University, previously worked as the Events Coordinator for JOMA Bowling Company where she oversaw a wide range of events for groups of 15 to 1,000 attendees. In her new role, she provides administrative and project management support for the Membership & Engagement Department, which is responsible for planning and executing the majority of the organization’s 100+ annual events. Her first day at the Chamber was Jan. 2.

Peter joined the Chamber as a part-time Accounting Clerk in April of 2016. During his time with the Chamber, he has demonstrated a team-first work ethic. Due to growth within the organization, the position was moved to a full-time status on Jan. 2. Gaulding will graduate from Wichita State University this May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Peter Gaulding will graduate from Wichita State University this May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said, “The work and volunteer experiences of these individuals make them assets to the Chamber team. I am confident they will continue providing the exceptional service that our members and community partners have come to expect. We’re pleased to have them on board.”