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.

Nominate your favorite small biz for Small Business of the Year

We are currently accepting nominations for our 2017 Small Business Awards through Friday, Dec. 15! The program, now in its 14th year, offers well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community and provides owners and employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story and be rewarded for their efforts.

The Monarch was the recipient of our 2017 Small Business of the Year Award in Tier One.

Nominations take less than a minute and can be made online at wichitachamber.org/awards. Please help us honor the small businesses that make our region unique and vibrant by nominating them for this award.

Business Criteria for Participation

  • Headquartered in Wichita metro area
  • Employ between 1-25 FTE for Tier One, or 26-100 FTE for Tier Two
  • Have been in business for at least three years
  • Demonstrate a commitment to good business practices
  • Maintain good employee relations
  • Contribute to the community
  • Have primary source of revenues from business operations, rather than grants, donors, or governmental funding (not-for-profits may be eligible to apply if they meet this criteria)
  • Be a member in good standing of the Wichita Regional Chamber at the time of application

Mahaney Roofing was the recipient of our 2017 Small Business of the Year Award in Tier Two.

Companies nominated will be invited to attend a complimentary nomination reception at the Chamber on Thursday, January 4 to learn more about the awards process and application materials.

Then in the spring, one business from each tier will be selected as the 2018 Small Business of the Year, which will be announced at an awards luncheon.

Love of people, community unite #SmBizAwards finalists

Our 2017 Small Business Awards finalists truly couldn’t be more different when it comes to the industries they span (think from roofing to retail). But what they all do have in common is a love of people and a love for their community. The Wichita Eagle has profiled each of the 10 finalist companies in today’s edition, and links to each story can be found below.

There is another opportunity to hear directly from the finalists at next week’s Sunrise Scrambler, where a representative from each company will share some entrepreneurial insights about what has contributed to their success. The event will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26. Then the Small Business of the Year will be announced at a luncheon on May 24.

About the Small Business Awards
Small business is at the heart of what we do at the Chamber, so we’re so pleased to celebrate the 13th annual Small Business Awards this year. This annual program offers well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community by offering the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story and be rewarded for their efforts. Click here to learn more about the program and to see a list of previous award recipients.

New Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference Scheduled for May 11

2016_SBA_awards_4cLeading-edge ideas and enlightening discussions about the fundamentals of running a small business are the topics of a new conference that has been added to our annual Small Business Awards event. The Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference will be held on Wednesday, May 11, prior to the Small Business Awards Luncheon and the announcement of the 2016 Small Business of the Year.

Angie Elliott, Vice President of Business Services, says the new conference is the brainchild of the Small Business Awards planning committee. “The annual Small Business Awards luncheon is always well attended because people really enjoy learning the stories behind the success of our top ten small businesses. They like to peek behind the scenes and learn about the obstacles those businesses have overcome and how they can apply some of those lessons to their own organizations. We’ve been working on expanding that learning experience and the result is a new morning conference that will be followed by our annual luncheon.”

The conference will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency of Wichita. Three sessions are available for attendees every half hour with a short break in between. Topics range from Dealing with Common Family Business Challenges to Low-Cost Marketing Ideas. The luncheon begins at 11:15 a.m.

Elliott said the Small Business Awards committee kept the conference cost affordable at $15 per person. “We’re hoping that businesses will send more than one person to the conference since we have so many interesting speakers who are focused on providing valuable take-aways that attendees can immediately implement in their operations.”

Small Business Awards Events

Register for all events at wichitachamber.org.

2015 Small Business of the Year finalists announced

The 2015 Small Business of the Year finalists were announced last night at a Metro Mingle event. This is the eleventh year for the program, which is presented by the 2014 award recipients: Balco, Inc. and Icon Structures Inc.

In addition to offering well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community, the Small Business Award program provides owners and their employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story, and be rewarded for their efforts.

“Our focus in 2015 is on growing jobs in our region,” Chamber President Gary Plummer said. “Small businesses are at the heart of job growth, both here and across the nation. It’s a wonderful time to be recognizing the outstanding small businesses that are creating jobs and making Wichita a stronger community. Congratulations to each of these finalists.”

2015 Finalists
Advanced Mobile Healthcare
After Hours Auto Repair
Building Controls and Services Inc.
Chance Rides Manufacturing, Inc.
Cornerstone Design and Development, Inc.
Crave Beauty Academy
Legacy Bank
McClelland Sound Inc.
Zernco, Inc.

Ninety-four small businesses were nominated for the award, and twenty completed the application process. The finalists will be featured at a Sunrise Scrambler event on April 16, and an Awards Luncheon will be held on May 13 to announce this year’s winners.

See photos from the Metro Mingle event here.

More information and a complete list of past winners can be found at wichitachamber.org/awards

2015 Finalists with Chamber President Gary Plummer

2015 Finalists with Chamber President Gary Plummer

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Now accepting nominations for our 2015 Small Business Awards

2015_SBA_awards_4cThe Wichita Metro Chamber is accepting nominations for the 2015 Small Business Awards now through Friday, Dec. 12. The program, presented by Balco, Inc. and Icon Structures Inc., offers well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community. It provides owners and employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story, and be rewarded for their efforts.

Business Criteria for Participation

  • Headquartered in Wichita Metro area
  • Employ between 1-25 FTE for Tier One, or 26-100 FTE for Tier Two
  • Have been in business for at least three years
  • Demonstrate a commitment to good business practices
  • Maintain good employee relations
  • Contribute to the community
  • Have primary source of revenues from business operations, rather than grants, donors, or governmental funding (not-for-profits may be eligible to apply if they meet this criteria)
  • Be a member in good standing of the Wichita Metro Chamber at the time of application

Nominations can be made online at wichitachamber.org/awards.

One business from each tier will be selected as the 2015 Small Business of the Year, and an awards luncheon will be held in the spring to announce the recipients.

Successful Business Leaders Share Valuable Insight

Jim Holt of Mid American Credit Union

Jim Holt of Mid American Credit Union

The April Sunrise Scrambler event is always devoted to learning lessons from our Small Business Awards finalists.   It’s a rare opportunity to hear directly from some of our must successful business leaders. We’ve summarized some of the insights that were shared at today’s Scrambler by each of our speakers. All ten of the award finalists are profiled in today’s Wichita Eagle, so be sure to follow the links below to learn more from each of their success stories. See photos from today’s event here.

Ashley Thill, President & CEO of Zernco

It’s important for the company’s new leader to build their own team when leadership transition takes place.

Chock Chapple, CEO of Chapple Insurance Group

Providing excellent customer service is instrumental to your success. The key components of growth are ensuring that you have good associates, clients, and vendors.

Levi Mabe, Director of Development for Cassandra Bryan Design

Internet presence is critical for your business. It’s imperative for your customers to be able to locate you quickly so that you can provide the solutions they need.

Jim Holt, President of Mid American Credit Union

Dedication to providing world-class service produces growth and success. Spend time with each staff member to engage, educate and inspire service improvements that will differentiate your business.

Ken Stoppel, President of Building Controls and Services

                – A blend of hard work and intelligence assures success, but hard work is the most important of the two attributes.

                -Communicating properly, effectively and promptly helps convey your integrity.

                -Demonstrating honesty, dignity, and respect in all of your conversations, especially the difficult ones, is imperative.

                -Combining people and technical skills results in optimal success.

                -Starting your own business requires a great deal of sacrifice and passion.   

Maurice Linnens, President of Kansas Truck Equipment

Becoming a business owner is a challenging and an incredible experience. Don’t delay getting started.

Dawn Truman, President of J. P. Weigand & Sons

Creating and maintaining a culture that allows employees to grow personally and professionally is imperative. Show appreciation by celebrating your employees’ milestones and visibly demonstrate your care for them when they encounter challenging situations.

Brandon Wilson, President of Icon Structures

Diversification is satisfying and enjoyable for business owners and employees. Cross-training ensures success.

Pat Robinson, President of Mize & Company

Resilient employees are a huge key to business success. Hire people who provide peer pressure to produce results and are always willing to do more.

Ronnie Leonard, President of Balco

Rigorous testing and continual product enhancement ensure that you are providing your customers with the best possible products.

The Small Business Awards Luncheon is less than three weeks away. You’ll want to attend on May 7, when the2014 Small Business of the Year Award winners are announced. Be sure to register soon!

Congratulations to our 10th Annual Small Business of the Year Finalists

Now in its 10th year, our Small Business Awards program offers well-deserved recognition to Wichita small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community. It provides owners and their employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story, and be rewarded for their efforts.

This year, 72 small businesses were nominated for the award and 21 completed the application process. The ten finalists were recently announced, and one business from each tier will be selected as the Small Business of the Year at an Awards Luncheon on May 7.

Tier One (1-25 Employees)
Cassandra Bryan Design
Chapple Insurance Group
Icon Structures Inc.
Kansas Truck Equipment Co., Inc.
Mize & Co., Inc.

Small Business Awards_Tier One
Tier One Finalists

Tier Two (26-100 Employees)
Balco, Inc.
Building Controls and Services Inc.
J.P. Weigand & Sons Inc.
Mid American Credit Union
Zernco, Inc.

Small Business Awards_Tier Two
Tier Two Finalists

See all the photos from the Metro Mingle featuring the Small Business Awards Showcase, and register here to meet all the finalists at the April 17th Sunrise Scrambler!