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Success Stories

Celco owners

In the agricultural town of Anthony, Kansas, 60 miles southwest of Wichita, you will find a unique company that does not seem to fit in the local picture of a farming community. They produce no material product; they don’t work for any local business; all their work is shipped to them, and they have very little competition. The company, Central Electropolishing Company, Inc. (CELCO), has been locally owned, operated and managed by the same family for 30 years. It was also started with the assistance of a SBA loan.

An Engineer’s Third Career Turned Brilliant

Ken Bellesine really enjoyed working with his design team at General Dynamics in the 1960’s. As a Senior Aerosystems Engineer, he thrived at creating new ways to design better products for the company. He was promoted after 14 years as a design specialist to a desk job in charge of program budgets. “When they took my design team away from me and ‘promoted’ me to doing budget work, I realized that I didn’t have the... Read More

Progressive Products' Apex Stage under construction

In business, growth is the number one goal. Foresight and flexibility are the attributes that often differentiate the businesses that continue to grow in a volatile marketplace. Progressive Products, Inc. has demonstrated those characteristics to keep their momentum moving forward.

Progressive Products, Inc., manufactures a wide variety of metal components and pipes at its 70,000 square foot facility in Pittsburg, Kansas. Progressive also has the distinction of being the market leader in the manufacture of mobile stages for the entertainment industry.

“We had been on a steep growth trajectory for the past four years, and 2015 was a banner year for us,” shared Todd Allison, President of Progressive Products. “However, the market for some of our core products – like, pneumatic conveying components – was starting to change.”

Progressive’s recent growth was aided by demand from the power industry for their activated carbon injection systems that help scrub the... Read More

Ruben’s Mexican Grill has been synonymous with great food for the last 17 years in Wichita. Ruben and Anita Acosta started their journey in 1997 when they sold flowers and other items at the farmer’s market in Old Town. Ruben recalled there was a man who sold tamales at the market for a couple of years, but then stopped. “His tamales were popular and he used to run out of product before the market closed each Saturday. When I found out that he quit due to a death in his family, I thought it would be a good thing to start selling at the market”, said Ruben.

Ruben and his wife Anita started to bring tamales and enchiladas to sell, and the investment quickly paid off. Ruben and Anita’s enchiladas and tamales were selling fast, and it wasn’t long before Anita added tacos and tostadas to the menu. Considering the demand and volume of sales, Ruben and Anita bought a kitchen trailer where they would fry the tacos and tostadas on-site. “We may have had one of the first food trucks... Read More

Beth Harshfield, Owner of Exhibit Arts, LLC in Wichita (Kansas) is adapting and growing with the changes in both the commercial market and the government contracting sector. “We are redirecting our efforts to tap more of the commercial market. Despite our exceptional past performance on government contracts, we have seen a growing trend of government agencies using more LPTA – “lowest price, technically acceptable” requests for proposal, that undercuts what we feel discounts our competitive advantage,” explained Harshfield.

Exhibit Arts, LLC is a woman-owned small business and a successful graduate of the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program.  They have 16 years of successful, hands-on experience customizing marketing and trade show programs for their clients. The core competencies include branded corporate apparel, promotional products, printed collateral plus exhibit design, manufacturing and support. To supplement these programs they offer on-site warehousing, e-commerce... Read More