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Success Stories

A Family Business Machining Its Way To Success

The timing was right when Mike Rickords and his son-in-law, Stephen Brittain, decided to turn their dream of owning their own machine shop into reality. Mike had decades of experience working for a large aerospace manufacturer, and Stephen had held various positions from CNC operator to large assembly program manager at a small firm. So in 2003, when Mike heard that he might be laid-off, they both got serious about the idea of using their combined experience to start their own business.

While they were putting together a business plan, they reached out to the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) at Wichita State University. The KSBDC helped them create a more robust business plan to present to a bank for financing. “After 10 banks turned us down, Garden Plain State Bank approved a SBA guarantee 7(a) loan to finance one water-jet machine and some operating capital,” said Stephen. Then, on March 19, 2004, Absolute Dimensions, LLC opened its doors for business.... Read More

39 Years of Building Custom Emergency Vehicles Is A Family Affair

Kelly Meyers always had a knack for building and fixing things. In 1998, he started working part-time for his father, owner of Hays Fire and Rescue Sales & Service, by helping him in the shop.


When he heard that his father was interested in selling the business in 2009, he and his wife DeAnn purchased the business to keep it in the family.


Hays Fire and Rescue Sales & Service, LLC., has been building fire apparatus and equipment for fire and rescue departments since 1974. “We build pumper trucks, aerials, brush trucks, and rescue squad vehicles for cities and towns throughout Kansas”, said Kelly.


Within a year of running the business, Kelly knew the business had outgrown its facility and he needed a bigger building to accommodate the manufacturing process. That's when Kelly contacted Ron Newman, at the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) at Fort Hays State University, for guidance.


“The team at... Read More

Kessler Kreations Expands as Quilting Popularity Grows

Marie Kessler started her quilting business, Kessler Kreations, out of her home in 2004. "People would bring me their quilting projects, the top and back, and I would sew them together with the batting in between using my machine," said Marie. Marie’s home was in a rural area, so people would get lost trying to find her house. Kessler Kreations needed to be in a place that people could easily find. So, in 2005 she rented about 600 square feet of storefront space from a friend who owned a gift shop in Hillsboro. The fixed hours and location in town helped grow her customer base. She worked the business part time until 2007.  The increase in the workload allowed her to quit her full time job and devote all her time to her growing business. In 2010, she needed more space and moved into a 1,500 square foot location. Within 10 months, she was outgrowing the space.  The local fabric shop owner was retiring and selling her business.  Marie wanted to acquire their fabric inventory and... Read More

Business is Fun and Games For Local Entrepreneurs

As early as age of 14, Steve Heiden dreamed of starting his own gaming business. In 2012, he put his ideas on paper and placed third in the annual Shocker Business Plan Competition at Wichita State University. When he and his partners, Terrence Abbott and Adam Haselwood, consolidated the funds from investors and their personal finances, they still needed more to fill the gap. Steve decided an SBA-guaranteed loan was the best option available, so with the help of his banker, a loan was obtained, and his dream became a reality.

BattleStations Gaming, Inc. is a pay-to-play facility where customers or “gamers” can play more games than they could ever hope to buy, on equipment superior to most home set-ups. Gamers can walk-in and compete against their friends or anyone else at the store interested in playing . BattleStations offers snacks, drinks, and birthday party packages too. Customers can try a new game before buying it, trade-in used games, or buy game software and... Read More