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Success Stories

Dan & Jan Smoots with Wayne Symmonds of Frontier Financial Partners

It’s not often that you hear about a thriving manufacturer that has survived 73 years of existence and subjected to numerous disasters, like floods. Especially, when that business is subject to stringent federal and state sanitation and food safety laws, like a meat processor.

Fanestil Meats, a value-added meat processing facility and retail establishment, is now primed for accelerated growth in its new location in Emporia, Kansas. The completion of their ‘Phase 1’ expansion earlier this year, includes a facility containing high-efficiency cold storage warehousing, loading docks, and administrative offices. The front of their new facility also features a butcher shop and retail space called Fanestil Meats Fresh Local Market, a new venture for the company. The meat market had been a dream in the making for owners, Dan and Janeice Smoots, who thought it would be popular with local consumers.

The new facility is located on the other side of town where their original meat... Read More

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