By Leslie Collins – Reporter, Kansas City Business Journal
Apr 11, 2018, 6:00pm
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce unveiled the Top 10 Small Businesses on Wednesday evening, with the finalists ranging from apparel to transportation to a community bank.
Only one will receive the coveted Mr. K Award, which is awarded to a business that not only is driving success, but embraces the business philosophies of entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Kauffman.
The Top 10 are part of the chamber’s Small Business Celebration, which started 32 years ago as an avenue to shine a light on small businesses and their contributions to the regional economy. Past Mr. K winners include Boulevard Brewing Co., Cerner Corp., Gould Evans and, most recently, Alpha Energy and Electric Inc.
An independent panel of judges whittled the pack of 75 applicants down to the Top 10:
- Blue Nile Contractors Inc., Birmingham, Mo., is a minority-owned wet utility contractor that specializes in trenchless sewer and water construction.
- Charlie Hustle, Kansas City, is a vintage-style clothing company known for its sports and collegiate wear. One of its most popular designs is the KC heart, which has been sported by actor Paul Rudd.
- International Express Trucking Inc., Kansas City, Kan., is one of the largest woman-owned transportation businesses in the six-state Midwest region and now has 85 trucks serving the Midwest.
- Lead Bank, Kansas City, is a community bank that’s focused on Kansas City and entrepreneurship. The bank provides office space to several LaunchKC winners.
- Orbis Biosciences Inc., Lenexa, provides pharmaceutical companies a tech solution to manufacturing challenges and to innovation.
- Pro Athlete Inc., Kansas City, is an e-commerce company that specializes in the sale of baseball and softball bats and gloves.
- Royal Services Inc., Stilwell, is a family-owned integrated facility project management company that has worked with clients such as Hallmark Cards Inc. and Sprint Corp.
- SwimZip, Prairie Village, developed a line of UPF 50+ protective swimwear and accessories line to help users avoid skin cancer.
- Veracity Consulting Inc., Prairie Village, is a tech consulting group that bridges the gap between business and technology.
- Wellington, Overland Park, is a women-owned strategic events and marketing communications agency that specializes in designing and creating events that are hyper-focused on brand curation.
The Top 10 will participate in a best practices breakfast at 7:30 a.m. May 3 at The Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, where they’ll share their insights with attendees. The Mr. K winner will be announced during the Small Business Celebration Awards Luncheon on May 24 at the Kansas City Downtown Marriott.