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Success Stories

While Kansas City and Memphis may be known for great barbeque, Melody McCray-Miller has grown her Wichita-inspired barbeque baked beans product distribution to over half of the country.

Millers, Inc.’s Bar-B-Que Baked Beans have captured a niche market in the refrigerated, deli isles of grocery stores in 28 states. Miller’s Inc. Co-Founder, Melody McCray-Miller is now poised to expand her market further within the U.S. and recently gained new fans in Canada.

In early 2019, Miller was seeking guidance on how to grow her business. When she heard that SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program was designed to help owners of established businesses create a three-year strategic growth action plan, she applied.

Humble Beginnings   

In the early 1990s, Melody and her late husband, Larry Miller, started Millers Bar-B-Que in a small carry-out establishment in the Ken-Mar Shopping Center. The business grew into a 150-seat restaurant on East 13th Street in Wichita. The... Read More

Dan Reisig co-founded Concergent IT in 2001 after six years of working as an IT network systems contractor for large manufacturers, and over ten years serving in the U.S. Air Force in telecommunications and computer systems. Based in Wichita, Concergent IT is a technology-consulting firm that offers data center colocation, local private cloud services, IT architect & systems design, fully managed IT services and sells hardware and software to clients in a variety of industries in all 50 states and six countries.

In the beginning, Concergent provided IT professional services to companies before expanding to include sales of computer hardware and software. They later added a data center that provided off-site data storage and colocation for companies. The company’s name, Concergent, was created by combining the words concierge and urgent, and it defines how the company serves its clients.

Executive Education Alternative

In 2014, Reisig was looking for ways to... Read More

What started as a passion to make the perfect home brewed beer, led a CPA with 34 successful years in accounting to start the first brewery in Dodge City in 2017. Larry Cook and his wife Sheri own and manage Dodge City Brewing Company, LLC that features a variety of craft beers and brick-oven pizza.

It’s a state-of-the-art brewery, financed with an SBA 504 loan, with  capacity to brew 600 barrels (about 18,600 gallons) of craft beer a year. The brewery is located one block off Wyatt Earp Avenue which is the main thoroughfare through Dodge City.

Larry Cook, a CPA and partner in a local  accounting firm, fell in love with making his own craft beer as a home brewer in the early 2000’s. Cook had lived and worked in Wichita where he became friends with Goebel Liquor’s owner Rob Miller when their kids played on the same baseball team. Miller introduced him to craft beer, and Cook started making and perfecting his own batches as a home brewer for the next 14 years.

... Read More

Julie Riley didn’t know what she wanted to be growing up, but she knew her creativity was her greatest asset. “As a military brat, my family lived in many places across the country. My career path was just as diverse until I found my passion in social media marketing,” said Riley. Today, Julie Riley is the owner of Depict Media, LLC – a social media marketing company with expertise in chatbot messenger marketing. The company name is play on Wichita’s “ICT” airport code and her company’s mission to help clients depict the right ideas and messaging to promote brand recognition, drive sales and enhance customer service.

Riley’s journey that brought her to Wichita started in Florida while working for a Harley Davidson Motorcycle dealership in Orlando. That job led her to a service writer position at another dealership in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When Alefs Harley-Davidson in Wichita was under construction, she was offered an expanded role to pioneer the first e-commerce platform... Read More

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