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Success Stories



Murphy Farm and Lawn – a John Deere dealership


Anderson, Mo…Darren and Debbie Murphy worked as employees of the John Deere Company for many years.  After several transfers and moves they decided to open their own business.  During this time, John Deere designated certain locations across the country where they wanted representation. Anderson, Missouri was located in one of those designated areas and Darren and Debbie took advantage of the opportunity.


Murphy Farm & Lawn, a John Deere dealership, opened their doors in April of 2006 after receiving a 504 loan from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  SBA’s 504 loan program provides financing for major fixed assets such as equipment or real estate.


“I thought the SBA loan process was a daunting task until I looked through it and realized it wasn’t that bad.  RMI was extremely helpful in working through the loan... Read More

Hick's Classic Concrete

Hick’s Classic Concrete continues to pave the way to success….

Jim Hicks started his concrete business back in 1984.  After being in business for some 28 years, Jim made his first visit to the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) last year.

Jim’s wife, Becky, had seen an article about the KU-KSBDC in the local newspaper.  They thought the time might be right for a fresh perspective on their business.  “We were looking for some help with financial management and cash flow analysis,” said Jim.

Any organization that has the staying power of Hicks’ Classic Concrete has to be adaptable.  The concrete industry was impacted significantly by the economic shock and recession of 2008-2009.  As a result, Jim had to look for new avenues to keep his crews working.  Rather than partnering almost exclusively with builders on construction sites, Hicks’ Classic Concrete started taking on more and more municipal road projects.  This new business strategy caused a... Read More

Express Yourself at TallulahBelle’s

As an avid art collector and world traveler, Melanie Coleman dedicated many of her travels to finding unique, artisan-made creations.  While visiting Alaska with her daughter, Melanie decided to act on her lifelong dream of creating a gallery space in the Kansas City area which showcases the talent of artists who are committed to the purity of their craft. In 2011, Melanie opened TallulahBelle’s LLC, a gallery of wearable art and other fine crafts which feature approximately 75 artists.


With more than 25 years of corporate finance experience, Melanie understood the importance of preparation. She wrote a detailed business plan for TallulahBelle’s, and she engaged the services of the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) at the Johnson County Community College to evaluate the feasibility of her gallery concept.  


“The KSBDC offers real-world, practical business advice. Their knowledge and expertise helped me reach informed decisions. The... Read More

The King of Green


In 1983, at the age of 17, Gary Walker enlisted into the United States Air Force (USAF).  During his time in the Air Force he held a number of duty positions in the areas of security and law enforcement to include work on a multi-national drug taskforce.   He was a superior Airman, earning distinction and recognition with such awards as “Security Police NCO of the Quarter,” “Wing NCO of the Quarter,” 17th Air Force Leadership School Distinguished Honor Graduate,” and “Security Policeman of the Year.”  His service commendations include the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, along with numerous training ribbons and Letters of Appreciation and Commendation.  He was well on his way to being a “King of Blue” in the Air Force.  Unfortunately he was injured in the line of duty and was medically retired from the Air Force in 1990.


In 1992 Gary and his wife Trish opened their business and named it... Read More