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Wichita District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

How a One Man Printing Operation Turned Into the Largest Print Shop in the Region

Entrepreneurship has been called a labor of love, and like any great endeavor it requires a lot of persistence and passion to succeed over time. Marvin Rack, owner of Northwestern Printers, Inc. of Hays (KS) spent a lot of sweat and tears rebuilding the printing business into the largest printer in northwest Kansas.  

It all started back in the late 70’s when Marvin Rack, a trained diesel mechanic, was hired to maintain the printing presses at the small print shop owned by Northwestern Office Suppliers in Hays. Marvin also worked outside the shop as a service technician for the company. “Back then, they only had two employees running the printing machines, so it was a fairly small operation,” said Marvin.

After a few years on the job, Marvin was handling both sales and technician work for the company.

Upon arriving to work one day, he discovered the two press employees had both quit with no one available to handle the printing jobs. Since Marvin enjoyed the... Read More

Walnut River Brewing Company Co-Owners: BJ Hunt, Rick Goehring, and Travis Rohrberg

Successfully starting a small business is hard. It’s especially daunting to create a manufacturing enterprise when the initial investment capital requirements for the equipment are so steep.

Rick Goehring and BJ Hunt each had dreams of starting a craft-brewery years before they met. They didn’t know it at the time when they were introduced to each other in 2010 by a mutual friend that they each brought to the table the know-how to turn their dream into a reality.

Rick Goehring started brewing beer in 1994 when his brother gave him a ‘beer-in-a-bag’ brewing kit. He kept refining his brewing techniques, and even spent five months completing the Craft Brewers Apprenticeship Program through the American Brewers Guild in Vermont. Rick also obtained a college education in chemistry, computer engineering and physics. While Rick wanted to make brewing his profession, he knew he needed to partner with someone who had the business background and marketing skills.

BJ Hunt... Read More

Dr. Wendy Foster volunteering and providing vision health screening services

At a young age Dr. Wendy Runyon Foster, owner of Vision Care 4 Life, knew she wanted to help people as a doctor.  Foster’s determination to excel in school allowed her to graduate high school early at the age of 15. She credits her parents with instilling a great work ethic in her.

While studying at University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) for her undergraduate degree, Foster worked at a restaurant. One day, a customer of the restaurant encouraged her to apply for an open position at a local Pearle Vision Center. That customer happened to be the manager at the Pearle Vision Center. Once interviewed, Foster was hired. “After just two days of working at Pearle Vision, I knew I wanted to be an optometrist,” said Foster.

In those days, Foster worked in many roles in the optometrist office, including being an optometric technician and ophthalmic lab assistant. She was an ABO Certified Optician for 7 years.
Foster graduated from UMKC and began studying at the... Read More

ReJuvv Spa storefront in Winfield, Kansas

Opportunities present themselves as consumers demand changes.

After 16 years in the day spa business, Tracie Gordon began noticing a pattern of change – patterns of opportunity that kept presenting themselves to her small business. Several times a day, she would hear clients say, “I wish I could change this – or do something about that”, often referring to skin conditions that would require more than her current day spa offered. After listening to clients and noticing the same needs, Tracie began investigating the process of transforming her day spa into a medical spa and the opportunity to help people on a different level.

To make the transformation, she recognized that she needed to restructure the business to find the best modalities for clients seeking services and do it in a way that would continue to grow her already successful business.

She reached out in 2013 to CowleyFirst, an economic development partner in the Winfield, Kansas area, and was referred... Read More