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).

 

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.

 

Member Minute with LightSpeed VT Midwest

229 E. William St., Ste. 410, Wichita, KS | 316-771-5050
lightspeedvtmidwest.com
Facebook: LightSpeed VT Midwest
LinkedIn: LightSpeed VT Midwest

LightSpeed VT Midwest President Steve Hull

If you’ve ever sat through a dull training video, then you’ll understand the necessity of LightSpeed VT Midwest. Through their interactive video technology, their team helps companies, trainers and subject matter experts to maximize their effectiveness, automate accountability, reduce costs and in many cases drive new revenue. Steve Hull, President of LightSpeed VT Midwest, shares more about his company in this Member Minute interview.

Please tell us a little bit about your company.
Founded in 2006, LightSpeed VT Midwest is a training solutions company that takes your content and creates web-based training that engages users with interactive components within lessons. Whether your content includes customer service training, leadership, business development, or self-improvement, LightSpeed VT Midwest can scale it down, and create state-of-the-art training modules to help broaden your audience.

Our mission is to inspire people to learn by delivering the most engaging, innovative and reliable training solutions in the world.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
We recently launched a client with all new content in 90 days with over 1,500 interactive videos.

To what do you attribute your success?
Our staff are the key to our success. The people here bring a high level of talent and customer service.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
Our business model of revenue sharing with content experts and interactive technology.

What is something people may not know about you or your business?
Our clients include both local and national brands. Some of our local clients are Lubrication Engineers and Billy Sims. A few of our non-local clients are Grant Cardone, The Black Swan, and Dale Carnegie.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
In five years we hope to have doubled our client base along with diversifying the content provided by those clients.

What about your business/organization are you most passionate?
Our people and our interactive technology. The two combined are a powerhouse!

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
We recently went to L’Ouverture Technology Magnet Elementary for their Career Cookout. The goal was to expose kids to a variety of careers in technology. We asked kids to show us their best dance moves, so we could make a music video. You can see the end result on our Facebook page.

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you find most valuable about  membership? We joined the Chamber to support Wichita and the local business community. The networking events alone have brought value to our business.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
Our favorite Chamber event is Exposure. It’s a great way to expose our products and services, as well as explore what the rest of the city has to offer.

The LightSpeed VT Midwest team created this interactive video to promote the Chamber’s upcoming Exposure event. How could this technology be utilized for your company?

What has Chamber membership brought to you and your business?
Two great local clients, Fundamental Learning Center and Wired Within!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
10 –  Involvement in your community is the most important thing a small business can do.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is the best thing about being a small business?
The best thing about being a small business is that all staff members get to be hands on with our clients, which provides a closer relationship and level of customer service.

What is the most challenging thing about running a small business?
The most challenging thing about running a small business is that staff members do wear multiple hats at times.

What is your best piece of advice for new small business owners/entrepreneurs?
My best piece of advice for a new small business owner is to get involved in the community. Use that to learn what resources are available to you.

What is something you wish you had known when your started your own business?
To always build more time into your expected costs than you think you will need.

Favorite business book?
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

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 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.

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!

Member Minute with Augustino Brewing Company

756 N Tyler Rd – Wichita, KS 67212 – (316) 721-5554 – augustinobrew.com
Find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @augustinobrew

The four founders of Augustino Brewing Company have decades of brewing and business expertise. They opened their brewpub in November 2017 and offer locally made craft beer along with special cocktails, coffee and a full range of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, sides and desserts. A calendar filled with special events provides their customers everything from a Mother’s Day brunch experience to a Cornhole Tournament Throwdown.

Augustine and Bianca Iacopelli hosted a ribbon cutting at Augustino Brewing Company for Chamber Champions in April. Check the Chamber Facebook page for event photos.

A majority woman-owned brewery, the business owners include Bianca and Augustine Iacopelli and Kara and Geoff Finn. Augustine Iacopelli recently provided some insights into Wichita’s growing brewery scene and the highlights of owning a small business.

Please tell us a little bit about your company.
We improve our community by creating daily moments of joy for our friends and neighbors. We do this through offering food and beverage experiences not available elsewhere. We feature an American cuisine food menu, a 3.5 barrel brewery that our bar guests can look into, and a full coffee and cocktail bar. If you’re looking for a place to bring a party for drinks, there will be something nearly everyone in your group can enjoy. We also feature special seminars and events in “Beerology” and mixology and host intimate tours of our brewhouse on Saturday afternoons at 3 p.m.

Describe your business’ most recent success.
Every day we have guests coming through our doors and trying out our beers for the first or fiftieth time. Each week, our team has become stronger as we bring on additional A-players that see they are getting in on the ground floor of something really cool and unique in the brewing and restaurant industry. It’s difficult to quality when you’re a startup company and may not be able to offer all the perks of other companies, so you have to find team members who see the big picture and realize the best is yet to come.

To what do you attribute your success?
Never being afraid to fail and never being afraid of being the dumbest guy in the room. Surrounding yourself with smart people who have learned lessons before you is important. Also, trying to absorb (and filter) as much information as possible, while thinking about what might be applicable to what you are trying to accomplish is important.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?
We focus on building relationships with our guests by offering our Ultimate Mug Club, which is our “gym membership without the sweat and a lot more beer!” For one flat price each month, members get beers and coffee included in their membership along with additional discounts. All their beers and coffees are served in our signature 20oz stoneware mugs instead of our pub pint glasses.

We’re also the only brewery in the area that both features a full coffee and mixology bar. There are specialty coffees and cocktails that are available at Augustino Brewing that you cannot get anywhere else. One example of this is Lu’s Habitude. This is a Cuban coffee nitro collaboration between Augustino Brewing and Nitro Joe’s. It can be ordered with or without alcohol and is fantastic either way.

We also produce a podcast called “What’s Brewing with Augustino.” This originated to simply create content to improve our website ranking on Google and other search engines. I’d created over 100 episodes prior to opening our doors and didn’t necessarily intend to continue producing them. However, shortly after we opened, people started asking our staff if I was planning to do new episodes for the show. So, we’re starting the show back up, currently via Facebook Live, with archives going to our channel on SoundCloud, iTunes, and our Augustino Brewing blog on our website. It’s a fun way to get our news and events out to fans.

Augustino Brewing Company is located at 756 N. Tyler Road.

What is something people may not know about your business?
Very few people realize that Augustino Brewing is either the only or one of the only majority women-owned breweries in the state of Kansas and among a handful of women-owned breweries in the region. Even though the sign says Augustino, which people associate with me because of the closeness in name, my spouse Bianca Iacopelli, owns over 60% of the business outright and is our financial hero behind the scenes that makes Augustino Brewing happen.

Where do you see your business in five years?
We’d like to expand our business into additional locations bringing our craft food and beverage experiences to additional communities in the Wichita area and beyond. We’ve been asked many times about distributing our product on a larger scale. We very recently signed a distribution contract and you’ll start seeing Augustino Brewing on draft in some of the finer craft beer establishments in the immediate Wichita area. That stated, we are not in a hurry for mass distribution. All the movement currently in craft beer is toward smaller-scale and local establishments. People want beer that’s made near them in many cases, which is why the regional and national brewery markets are struggling. We believe that we are building a model that is scalable, while still allowing for localized innovation and community involvement.

What about your business are you most passionate?
As a homebrewer for about 20 years, the craft beer side of the business is the focus of my passion. However, our ownership team realizes scaling our business requires looking beyond the beer to having a passion for the food and beverage category in general. One thing that is concerning to the craft beer industry right now, is that many younger drinkers are not drinking craft beer, or drinking less of it than their parents’ generation. Just like macro beer was my generation’s “parents’ drink of choice,” and thus not as “cool” as craft beer to people around my age, “craft beer” is becoming that way for the younger generation as they seek out other beverage categories. Because we offer high-end mixology and craft coffee in house in addition to our beer, we’re able to bridge the gap between generations and offer unique products not available at our other area competitors. I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to recruit some of the top bartenders and mixologists in the area that bring a level of creativity and passion to other beverage areas. Their enthusiasm for what they do excites me as well and adds significant value to the Augustino Brewing Company brand as a whole.

Is your company involved in any community/civic activities?
We love participating in area philanthropic events, particularly those that support causes helping disadvantaged children and women escaping trafficking and abuse in the community.

What unique beverage can people find at Augustino Brewing Company?
We feature the only nitrogenized Cuban coffee beverage in town, if not anywhere. Lu’s Nitro Habitude Cafecito packs a huge punch in terms of caffeine and sweetness and was our first collaboration on a beverage project with Nitro Joe’s. The reaction we’ve gotten from everyone who has tried it is… “WOW, that’s amazing.”

THE CHAMBER
Why did you join the Chamber and what do you think will be most valuable about Chamber membership?
We believe we’re uniquely positioned as a business that can cater to other businesses. By being one of only two brewpubs currently in town with separate seating areas that can handle groups of over 100 with a full kitchen, we’re able to cater to groups looking for unique food and beverage experiences for both their employees and clients. Before we even opened our doors we were receiving phone calls to book special events and meals at our location and have found that our business clientele was higher than we originally predicted. We look forward to working with fellow Chamber members on planning special events at Augustino Brewing Company in the future.

What is your favorite Chamber event, program, or service and why?
Thus far, I’ve only been to one event which was Networking at Noon at Hopping Gnome Brewing. I enjoyed myself and the fact that there were a number of people I knew there from other professional circles.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague? Why?
Honestly, the jury is still out for me as I’m a new member. If it’s like many other things I have been involved with in my professional career, the more you invest into an organization the more you’ll get out of it. We’re happy to continue to explore the many resources and opportunities the Chamber has and hope to continue to grow with the Chamber.

Are there other Chamber members that you do business with?
Several, perhaps most notably Heartland Credit Union, who played a very significant role in making Augustino Brewing Company a reality.

SMALL BUSINESS
What is your biggest challenge as a small business?
What’s not a big challenge as a small business startup?! Paying down debts and keeping money coming in, while refining business practices and constantly trying to improve on shoestring budgets. We’ve definitely seen increased business since the beginning of the year, but it’s always a struggle. We go by the mantra, “If we help enough other people and philanthropic organizations where we can, we’ll wind up building good karma in the community and helping ourselves in the process.”

What’s the best thing about being a small business?
Being a “jack of all trades” is finally paying off! I’ve probably learned more in the past six months than the past twenty years. Business ownership is fraught with challenges, but each one is like trying to solve a puzzle and is extremely engaging and exciting.

What’s your best piece of advice for new small business owners?
I’ll pass along some good advice I received from another business owner:   “Remember, the highs are never as high as they feel, nor are the lows as low.”

Something you wish you’d known before you started your business?
Nothing really prepares you for the mental, emotional, and physical toll starting a business can take. You can “know” the things you will face as you deal with the challenges and triumphs of owning and operating a business, but there isn’t anything that lessens the impact ownership has on your well-being and the importance of making time to recover and recuperate, even when it feels like there is no time to do so.

WICHITA BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Why do you like doing business in the Wichita area?
Because it’s a great city with great people. All of our owners are “transplants” from other parts of the country and settled down in Wichita because it’s a gem that many people who have grown up here are only now starting to realizing. There’s a wonderful resurgence in the entrepreneurial community that provides support to local businesses and entrepreneurs trying to bring their ideas and projects to reality.

OTHER ADVICE
Favorite business app? Why?
Evernote Premium is the BOMB! It pretty much ties my business and personal life together no matter where I’m at. I also live off the business card scanning tool when networking. It’s nice to be able to just scan the cards you receive and have them automatically saved and filed within Evernote and in your contact lists simultaneously, not to mention automatically searching to see if the contact is on LinkedIn and available to connect.

Favorite business book? Why?
Winning by Jack Welsh is a pretty easy read, albeit a little longer than many business books, but many of the principles are rock solid regardless of your industry.

Creating Magic by Lee Cockerell cuts to the bare bones principles of creating a great customer experience. It’s based on his years in hospitality at Hilton, Marriot, and Walt Disney World.

Start Here by Clay Clark, Johnathan Kelly, and Marshall Morris is a beast of a book. It literally outlines the steps of starting a successful business in an actionable manner, complete with accompanying website, templates and business podcast.

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
What’s the most effective social media tool for your business? Why?
Right now, it’s definitely Hootsuite. We’ve set up months of “timeless” posts for our feeds to give us a good baseline of communication with our audience that we augment with our more timely photos, videos, and events that we drop in on a more ad hoc basis.

How many hours per week do you devote to connecting with your customers and partners on social media?
It can vary, but the short answer is a lot. As a new business, social media is a very cost effective way to reach our specific audience and test marketing and branding messages before trying to scale our messaging to a wider audience.