Success Stories

Dr. David Kortje loves rock climbing. He climbed while in medical school, and continued to make trips to the mountains in Colorado with his family. A decade ago, he noticed the YMCA North in Wichita had a rock wall that was popular with families. The love of the sport caught-on with his son, Caleb, who was interested in climbing competitively. “My son and I started traveling and competing in rock climbing events. We visited climbing gyms in Colorado and in some larger metros, like Atlanta, and we thought it would be great to have a climbing gym in Wichita,” said Kortje.

The idea of opening a rock climbing gym with his son stayed on his mind. Then, Kortje tragically lost his son Caleb in 2012.

Kortje decided to use the gifts the family received after Caleb’s passing as seed money to build a climbing gym in 2013. He began to investigate the cost of building one as he put a business plan together. “I’m a physician, but was a little naïve when it came to creating a... Read More

The husband and wife team, Mike Watkins and Jaci Katz, opened their first small business called KOLÁČE Dough Company & Eatery in January 2018 after a year of planning and preparation. Both were marketing and media professionals at different companies before fulfilling their dream of working for themselves. “We always wanted to start a business – but one that offered something new and unique to the Wichita market,” said Katz.

The inspiration to start a restaurant that specializes in Kolaches - a palm sized pastry with either sweet or savory toppings, or filled (like a bierock) with meat and non-meat items. Originally from central Europe, kolache (pronounced Kuh-lah-chee) is gaining popularity in markets like Dallas and other cities. Mike and Jaci have added their own unique toppings and fillings to satisfy the hunger and tastes of Wichitans.

“After we visited a kolache restaurant in Kansas City, and saw how delicious and popular they were, we decided to bring the... Read More

Creative Financing Solution Opened the Door to Expansion

Andrew Gough (pronounced Goff) grew up in Andover (KS) and later studied Hotel and Restaurant Management at Kansas State University. After taking that coursework, he vowed to never get into the restaurant or lodging business. Gough changed his major, and graduated with a degree in Journalism - Public Relations. After college, he became an investment advisor and an employee education coordinator at a retirement planning company in Wichita. 

 Act First, Plan Later

While working as a financial advisor, Gough started his venture in coffee by buying an expensive, commercial roaster. “I bought the coffee roaster, and then started creating a business plan to make the investment pay off,” said Gough. “I did the exact opposite thing any business advisor would tell someone thinking of starting a business,” he said smiling.  

The pressure was on, but Gough made it work with a team of others that wanted to... Read More

Double D Family Mat Shop - Dale Goetz

Dale Goetz grew up working with his brothers and father at the family feedlot in Park, Kansas. “My father was an ‘order buyer’ (cattle broker) in the area. When Goetz started his own feedlot business just outside Park (Kansas) in 1993, little did he know that his penchant for tinkering would lead to a new family business that exports its innovative products to faraway places like Canada and Australia. Today, the Double D Family Mat Shop, Inc. produces mats made from used tires that that help prevent cattle from slipping and being injured at feedlots and farms. The livestock mats reduce noise, which calms the cattle, and reduces the risk of injury when the cattle are moved on hard surfaces like concrete. The company also produces a similar mat that helps prevent soil erosion. The innovative livestock and anti-erosion mats are made from re-purposed used tires, which make them environmentally friendly. 

Eureka Moment

Goetz’s inspiration to create livestock mats from car... Read More