SCR Painting, LLC: Second Chances

SCR painting goodland kansasTodd Trzcinski, member manager of Second Chance Ranch (SCR) Painting, is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. As a cancer survivor, he knows about determination and perseverance, and these traits have served him well as an entrepreneur.

Todd began painting at the age of 14 and took a chance when he started SCR Painting in 2011. Over the past four years, the business has grown into a full-fledged painting operation that offers commercial as well as residential services.

In 2014 Todd approached the Kansas SBDC at Fort Hays State University Colby outreach center for assistance on a business plan and bookkeeping. Allie Kastens, Kansas SBDC consultant, worked with Todd to assist him on not only his business plan but implementing a new accounting software system to improve the accuracy of his accounting, tax documentation, and labor reporting.

With the help of his KSBDC Consultant, Todd learned a lot about the administrative and management processes that comes with owning your own business. If he were to change something, Todd says, “I would have learned more about bookkeeping, computers, and office organization early on.”

SCR Painting continues to grow in the Goodland area and surrounding communities. Todd takes pride in his high quality workmanship. Because he’s incorporated a process to his management he’s been able to take on bigger and better projects knowing that he is growing the business the right way.

When asked what advice he would give someone thinking about starting a business, Todd says, “Be sure that you understand that along with reward comes a lot of risk. If you are not willing to work almost twice as hard as at a regular job, you’d probably better reconsider your decision.”

To learn more about SCR Painting, LLC visit or call (785) 995-9159

Assisted by
Allie Kastens, consultant
Kansas SBDC at FHSU in Colby

Represented by
Senator Pat Roberts
Senator Jerry Moran
Federal Congressional District KS-01 Tim Huelskamp
State Representative District KS-120 Richard Billinger
State Senate District KS-040 Ralph Ostmeyer

Prairie Glass Art Studio: When Art Becomes Business

prairie glass art studio topeka kansasWhen Kymm Hughes Ledbetter moved from southern California to Topeka, Kansas to pursue her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Washburn University she didn’t know how far that 1,544 mile move would really take her.

While pursuing her degree at Washburn, Kymm decided to teach summer art camps for youth out of her home basement. As parents picked up their children each day from camp, she noticed something fascinating. The parents were interested in not only encouraging their children to make art, but they themselves were interested in the process.

It was an opportunity she hadn’t anticipated – teaching adults. And it was an opportunity she didn’t want to ignore. By opening up her classes beyond youth camps, Kymm knew she would need more space and equipment to expand.

And expand she did. As Kymm grew her business, her business needs grew.

Learning About the Art of Business

In 2010 she attended classes at the Kansas SBDC at Washburn to begin exploring QuickBooks to help with her accounting. Shortly after, in January of 2011, she began using the free consulting services at the Kansas SBDC and connected with consultant Rick LeJuerrne. Together they worked on her Prairie Glass Art Studio business focusing predominantly on profitability and marketing – two keys to effective business growth.

As Prairie Glass grew, Kymm needed new equipment. Tapping into her ongoing relationship with the Kansas SBDC, Kymm worked with Karl Klein at the Kansas SBDC at Washburn to write and submit a successfully funded grant application to the Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development (EMBD) Council for a kiln.

It was critical that as Kymm developed the business, she had a partner in the Kansas SBDC that was willing to help. The team at the Kansas SBDC helped Kymm understand wholesale pricing and effective methods for pricing through online retailers. She began appreciating the impact of margins and cost drivers on her business. Kymm has continued consulting with Klein as well as Brittany Crabtree to develop an even more targeted marketing plan that has helped the business hone in on effective pricing strategies. All of which have resulted in both increased sales and profits for Prairie Glass.

Working with the Kansas SBDC over the past four plus years has moved Prairie Glass forward and taken what was once only a passion into a full-fledged business. Kymm credits the work she has done with the Kansas SBDC with three important areas of growth in her business: her ability to effectively merchandise, the creation of new and innovative products, and a recent 40% increase in sales.

The Benefits of Help

Kymm’s advice for others interested in starting a business today is to “do what you love – and don’t try to do it alone.” As an import from California, she’s witnessed a lot of support in Kansas. “There are a lot of people in the community that want to help you out and see you succeed. Sometimes those supporters are organizations like the SBDC and EMBD, and other times it is friends and neighbors. Believe in the support. It can take you a long way.”

To learn more about Prairie Glass Art Studio, visit or call (785) 271-8006.

Assisted by
Brittany Crabtree and Karl Klein, consultants
Kansas SBDC at Wasburn in Topeka
785-234-32345 | |

Represented by
Senator Pat Roberts
Senator Jerry Moran
Federal Congressional District KS-02 Lynn Jenkins
State Representative District KS-052 Dick Jones
State Senate District KS-020 Vicki L. Schmidt

Progressive Products Inc.: When Growth is Number One

Progressive Products Pittsburg Kansas


In business, growth can almost always be found in a business’ top 5 challenges.

For Progressive Products, Inc., a fabricated pipe and pipe fitting manufacturing business located in Pittsburg, Kansas, growth was on the top of their list.

“We had been on a growth trajectory for the past four years,” shared Todd Allison, President of Progressive Products. “However, the marketplace for our core product line – pneumatic conveying components – was starting to change.” Progressive did a lot of work in the power industry and that market was slowing down. According to Allison, they knew that they needed to start doing things differently to keep the company moving in a forward direction.

Increasing industry awareness and developing more market share were sizable challenges. Progressive had good products, prices, and delivery, but they needed fresh strategies to extend their reach. They knew their markets and believed that hadn’t even scratched the surface of their market potential. So, how did they find new customers and engage them?

Growing Market Share

While Progressive still had ideas for new products and how to develop them into viable market offers, they were having difficulty increasing their market share in a few product lines. At a meeting with the City of Pittsburg to discuss Economic Gardening, a program used to pull data to identify market trends, Progressive met Tom Byler and Darrell Pulliam – the Kansas SBDC team at Pittsburg State University.

Looking for advice, Progressive began consulting with Byler and Pulliam at the Kansas SBDC. Byler and Pulliam connected Allison with PSU Business Professor Jeff Poe and a team of students to work with Progressive. The connections Progressive made through the Kansas SBDC helped Allison and his team identify new opportunities for growth through new test designs and market identification.

Allison was pleased with the collaboration. “There are more opportunities to work with the local university than I had imagined,” said Allison. “While I thought by working with the university I was helping them, instead I found the experience to be mutually beneficial.” Allison was also surprised by what he learned when working with the Kansas SBDC. “I also found the Kansas SBDC has access to resources I didn’t know about. That’s a surprise to me, because I try to be well informed.”

Realizing Results

Progressive Products has experienced some immediate results. Since first working with the Kansas SBDC, Progressive has added six new full-time employees and is on track to increase annual sales by 27%. Allison is using what he learned from Economic Gardening to improve Progressive’s social media presence with a surprising effect. Business inquiries are up, and Progressive is getting more attention from new markets. And new export markets are being explored.

Allison attributes Progressive’s success to “being adaptable and innovative as well as hiring the right employees. Teamwork is everything.” He offers this advice to his peers in business today, “Business is always changing. If your business plan doesn’t change to meet today’s realities, you won’t need a business plan tomorrow.”

To learn more about Progressive Products Inc. visit or call (620) 235-1712.


Assisted by
Tom Byler and Darrell Pulliam, consultants
Kansas SBDC at PSU
620-235-4920 | |

Represented by
Senator Pat Roberts
Senator Jerry Moran
Federal Congressional District KS-02 Lynn Jenkins
State Representative District KS-003 Charles Smith
State Senate District KS-013 Jacob LaTurner

Katz Recognized As 2015 SBDC State Star [Press Release]

will katz ku kansas sbdc

TOPEKA, Kansas — Will Katz of Lawrence has been awarded the Kansas Small Business Development Center’s (Kansas SBDC) State Star for 2015.

This award recognizes business consultants and staff in the SBDC Program who have demonstrated exemplary work performance, significant contribution to the organization’s economic development efforts, and a strong commitment to small businesses.

Katz, who serves dual roles as both a regional director and business consultant with the Kansas SBDC at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, was recognized for his exceptional work in business valuations, guiding companies through the development of growth plans, and working with business owners to prepare for successful business transitions to new owners in the future. He holds both a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) and Accredited Business Planning Advisor (ABPA) accreditations.

Katz stays busy in the Lawrence regional area as a member of the 1 Million Cups Lawrence Organizing Committee. He’s a board member of the First City Development Corporation (Leavenworth E-Community) and the Douglas County E-Community as well as local non-profits Just Food (VP) and Headquarters (Treasurer).

“Will has been a valuable part of our consulting team since 2006,” said Greg Panichello, Kansas SBDC state director. “He has great rapport with business owners he works with and understands what it takes to successfully own and operate a business in Kansas.”

Katz will be recognized with 62 other State Stars for his work at America’s SBDC conference in San Francisco in September.

About Kansas Small Business Development Center

The Kansas SBDC network provides existing Kansas small businesses, start-ups, and pre-venture entrepreneurs with no-cost business consulting, low- and no-cost training, and resources for every stage of the business life cycle.

The Kansas SBDC network is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the state of Kansas. The network receives funding from, and partners with, higher education and economic development organizations. The Kansas SBDC is nationally accredited through America’s SBDC. The statewide host for Kansas SBDC is Fort Hays State University.

For more information on the Kansas SBDC Network, visit or call 877-625-7232.


Kingsbury Service: The Better Choice

Kingsbury Service: 2015 Kansas SBDC at FHSU Emerging Business of the Year

Sometimes the first opportunity is not always the right opportunity.

When the father/son team of Marty and Rhett Kingsbury were presented with an opportunity to buy a small business they were excited about the prospect of striking out on their own. Both had years of experience working in a larger company but still wanted to direct their own destinies.

To get help, they reached out to Pam Barton, Smith Center economic development director. She referred them to Ron Newman, director and consultant at the Kansas SBDC at FSHU.

Ron helped the Kingsburys evaluate the business opportunity. Predominantly he and the Kingsburys focused on the performance of the business that was being offered for sale. Together they realized that the business wouldn’t help the Kingsburys reach their personal and business goals in the short or long-term.

But all wasn’t lost. Both Marty and Rhett learned a great deal in the process including a more in-depth understanding of the financial aspects of owning and operating a successful small business. They were able to refocus and develop a clearer picture of what they were looking for in their future business.

Shortly after they were approached with the first opportunity a second opportunity presented itself that was a more ideal fit. With a stronger knowledge of financials and still working with Newman, the team developed a solid business plan and financials. “We were able to formulate a projected business plan to see if it was a plan that we were able to be comfortable with.”

The father/son duo obtained funding and in 2009 Marty and Rhett opened Kingsbury Service in Smith Center, Kansas.

Not unlike many small businesses they have changed their focus as they’ve found how to best serve customers in their local market. Initially, their thought process was to focus on agriculture equipment service. Over time they’ve expanded their service to work on a variety of motors from weed eaters to electric scooters to cars and trucks. “Knowing the needs of the community and to be able to focus on those needs to strengthen your business plan to provide for your community” is key, shared Rhett.

Kingsbury Service has grown the family business to now employ five full-time and one part-time family members through a shared interest and commitment to the business.

Marty and Rhett both credit the work they did with the Kansas SBDC to making their business a reality.

When we asked them what advice they’d give someone thinking about starting a business today, they had some
great suggestions:

“Definitely don’t be afraid of taking a risk and talk to the Kansas SBDC.” – Rhett and Marty

“Make sure you have a bank that is willing to work and grow with you.” – Marty

“Don’t get discouraged when the first person you turn to for help turns down your idea of opening your business – keep your dream in focus!” – Rhett

Learn more about Kingsbury Service visit them on Facebook or call  785-686-4199.

Assisted by
Ron Newman, regional director and consultant
Kansas SBDC at FHSU
Hays. FHSU KSBDC | 785.628.5615 |

Small Business Success: On Being Nimble

Art in Iron: 2015 Kansas SBDC at PSU Emerging Business of the Year

Mike Hill has a love for metal art which he developed into a business idea— Art In Iron.

As he began his ornamental ironwork business in 2012 in Garnett he realized he needed assistance in getting pointed in the right direction from the beginning. That’s when he contacted the Kansas SBDC at Pittsburg State University and began working with consultant Tom Byler. With Tom’s help, Mike developed a business plan which he admits resulted in starting an entirely different business than he originally envisioned, but found the process very educational. In addition to assisting with the business plan, Tom assisted with obtaining financing for the startup, equipment purchasing decisions, and most recently UPC barcode licensing.

Today Mike has a growing business in a tough economic environment. One of the challenges he continually faces is creating products efficiently with a decent margin. When he “gets it right” he considers this a great success. Because of the outside support he has utilized, he has been able to avoid certain pitfalls with Art In Iron by anticipating problems before they happen.

Mike also attributes the success of his small business, Art In Iron, to finding something that the large companies cannot do. Small businesses such as his can be nimble, creative and quick to adapt to changing markets and the business environment.

As for his advice to other potential small business owners, Mike shares:

“Don’t be afraid to change the business plan radically if needed since it is just a guide.”

“Be incredibly careful with startup capital as it will be gone quicker than expected. If every penny is not watched carefully, the business can be in trouble before the owner realizes it.”

“View every new person met as an opportunity to do business, and to actively expand their network daily.”

Learn more about Art in Iron on Facebook, at, or by calling 785-304-0825.

Assisted by
Tom Byler, KSBDC Consultant
Kansas SBDC at PSU
Chanute. PSU KSBDC NCCC Outreach
620.431.2820×285 |

Small Business Success: Advanced Advice

Advanced Systems Homes, Inc.: 2015 Kansas SBDC at PSU Emerging Business of the Year

Advanced Systems Homes, Inc. – a custom modular home building business – has been building new homes for customers in a 100-mile radius of Chanute, Kansas, for over 40 years.

Their overall business goal is to continue to be a leader in their field and grow into new areas of business.

After several years of dealing with a stagnant economy, and with housing in a major slump, the Luebbering family owners (father Stanley and sons Darin and Scott), felt the need to look for outside consulting to help them grow the business. That’s when they started working with Kansas SBDC consultant Tom Byler.

Tom worked with the team by evaluating the company’s financial information, marketing efforts, and ideas for improving efficiency in all areas of the business. Tom also introduced the idea of the team working with a business coaching pilot project of the regional Prosperity Foundation.  The project allowed Darin to bring in MORF Consulting at reduced cost to the company to help them delve deeper into operational areas that Tom had helped the owners identify. Tom still continues to work in collaboration with the MORF team and Advanced System owners as needed to make progress on their plans to improve efficiency as they work toward growing the business.

The secret to our success is hard work. We have a saying around here that we live by: You can’t finish if you don’t get started, so let’s get to work. Darin Luebbering

We asked the team at Advanced what their advice would be for themselves and for others interested in venturing out on their own. Here’s what they shared:

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself before purchasing/opening/expanding your small business? “Learn the financial aspect of running a business early on. Being a hard worker and expert at your craft is not enough, you also need to have a good understanding of the financial side.”

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business today? “Becoming a professional at a specific job is very important in starting a business.  Learning a trade, or becoming a professional manager while working for another business is very helpful before stepping out on your own. Understanding the financial side of business is also very important.  If you do not know how to read a financial statement, then you will not be able to understand your business and how to run it efficiently.”

What advice would you give to someone currently in business today? “Work hard. Listen to your customers and strive to give them what they want.”

Learn more about Advanced Systems Homes at, on Facebook, or by calling 1-800-444-9652.

Assisted by
Tom Byler, regional director and consultant
Pittsburg. PSU KSBDC | 620.235.4920

Kansas SBDC to recognize 16 successful Kansas small businesses

[Press Release]

HAYS, Kansas — The Kansas Small Business Development Center (Kansas SBDC) statewide network has announced the 2015 Existing and Emerging Businesses of the Year. Each of the eight Kansas SBDC regional centers have selected one emerging and one existing business for the award.

In total, 16 Kansas small businesses will be recognized at a ceremony in Topeka on Tuesday, March 10. The businesses were selected from more than 2,392 businesses that received Kansas SBDC services in 2014.

“The selected businesses were given careful consideration by our Kansas SBDC regional directors and consultants,” said Greg Panichello, Kansas SBDC state director.” Collectively, the Kansas SBDC team feels these 16 small businesses are excellent examples of small business innovation, growth, and success in the midst of economic recovery.”

For the evening celebration, Jared Broyles, KSNT News Anchor/Reporter, will serve as this year’s Master of Ceremonies.


Existing Businesses of the Year

Garden City Propane, Dennis and Risa DeVaney, Garden City

CS Gas, Inc., Karen Horinek, Atwood

Leading Edge Aerospace, LLC, Stan Unruh, Wichita

The Merchant, Lisa Boyd, Topeka

The Walter’s Farm, Becky and Carroll Walters, Burns

McDonald Marketing, Brad McDonald, Bonner Springs

Enhanced HomeCare, LLC, Randy Block and Cindy Singer, Overland Park

Advanced Systems Homes, Inc., Darin Luebbering, Chanute


Emerging Businesses of the Year

Women’s Specialists of Liberal, PA, Dr. Lamberto Flores, Liberal

Kingsbury Service, Marty and Rhett Kingsbury, Smith Center

ReJuvv’ Spa, Tracie Gordon, Winfield

Kansas Regenerative Medicine Center, LLC, John Farley, Manhattan

Flint Hills Music, Thomas Silkman, Emporia

Cat Clinic of Lawrence, Dr. Jennifer O’Driscoll

Velo+ Maps Coffee, Vincent Rodriguez, Lenexa

Art in Iron, Mike Hill, Garnett

About Kansas Small Business Development Center

The Kansas SBDC network provides existing Kansas small businesses, start-ups, and pre-venture entrepreneurs with no-cost business consulting, low- and no-cost training, and resources for every stage of the business life cycle.

The Kansas SBDC network is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the state of Kansas. The network receives funding from and partners with higher education and economic development organizations. The Kansas SBDC is nationally accredited through America’s Small Business Development Centers. The statewide host for Kansas SBDC is Fort Hays State University.

For more information on the Kansas SBDC Network, visit or call 877-625-7232.




If you’d like more information about this event, please contact Lisa Roberts at 785-296-6514 or

Program facilitators in Kansas needed

searching for facilitators

Good facilitation is like beauty or even leadership, hard to describe but you know it when you see it. – Tim Fulton, nationally recognized consultant and advocate for small business


The Kansas Small Business Development Center (Kansas SBDC) network is actively seeking program facilitators for small business education programs delivered throughout the year. Some programs are one day or less in length; others involve a series of programs delivered over several weeks.

At the Kansas SBDC our focus is on growing Kansas entrepreneurs. Our program attendees will be entrepreneurs, small business owners and decision makers, as well as other individuals that work within the small business and entrepreneurship ecosystems in Kansas.

Do you have what it takes to facilitate some great events? We need program facilitators with the following qualifications:

 * extensive small business/entrepreneurial experience

* experience leading business teams

* a belief that the smartest people in the room are the participants

* an ability to be very flexible with the structure of the learning process

* a willingness to challenge participants in the programs

* a comfort level with being vulnerable

*desire to make a profound difference through entrepreneurship

We need program facilitators with the following skills:

*active listening

*guiding focused discussion

*guiding groups toward an agreed-upon set of outcomes

*helping groups define outcomes – set priorities

*people management

If this sounds like you, please contact Lisa Roberts at 785.296.6514 or email


Audrey Spirit, LLC

audrey spirit

Audrey Spirit LLC is an inspiring example of a business born out of passion, need, and love.

In 2011, Donna Yadrich lost her beloved 15-year-old daughter, Audrey Grace, from complications of serious medical problems.  Although appreciative of the tremendous care Audrey received during her countless hospitalizations, Donna observed that generic hospital gowns stripped young patients of their youthful attitude and personal dignity.  Street wear worn in the hospital required a nurse to unhook and re-hook medical lines just to change in to a clean shirt.  During Audrey’s final hospitalization, Donna made customized t-shirts that were both “hospital-friendly” and also expressed Audrey’s spunky personality. After 25 years in the medical field, Donna experienced a lapse in employment after Audrey’s death.  That is when Donna decided to launch Audrey Spirit LLC, a clothing manufacturer that continues her daughter’s mission – to make difficult times that hospital patients face as personable, comfortable and empowering as possible.

The first line of Audrey Spirit apparel includes xamtees™; these therapeutic t-shirts help nurses get around invasive medical devices without having to disconnect them or contort the patient’s body into uncomfortable positions.  Most importantly, the clothing looks “normal.”  Donna worked with an apparel designer to develop original, patent-pending designs for high quality garments that are comfortable and useful in medical environments.

With the help of the JCCC KSBDC, Audrey Spirit LLC marked its first commercial sale of xamtee™ therapeutic garments to a local children’s hospital in 2013. Donna explained that “without the support and guidance of the KSBDC, I would not have found a U.S. manufacturer to produce the garments that are being worn today by children fighting cancer and other critical illnesses.”  Donna has been meeting with Elisa Waldman of the KSBDC on a regular basis since 2012.  According to Donna, “Elisa provides an unmatched dimension of practical and visionary support for my small business.”

Convincing seasoned healthcare professionals to support a new venture, like Audrey Spirit LLC, and to embrace an innovative new product is challenging in the healthcare industry. Donna spent many months forging relationships within the healthcare system. She organized beta tests and meticulously surveyed patients, nurses, and doctors to gather feedback and suggestions for improvement of xamtee™ t-shirts.  Now that the t-shirts are available for sale, Donna continues to champion the needs of her customers by seeking payment for Audrey Spirit xamtee™   through medical insurance.

Donna has taken full advantage of KSBDC offerings including QuickBooks courses, business plan review, and in-depth assessment of financial goals and projections. Donna believes that “having the confidence through preparation and the numbers to support my financial projections directly reflects the efforts of the KSBDC. Elisa required me to stop avoiding unknown details and create a five-year sales plan. As a result, Audrey Spirit LLC won a $5000 award in a local pitch contest!”

Donna is an outstanding example of an entrepreneur who is succeeding as a result of determination, hard work, persistence, and the support of seasoned professionals. When Donna is asked for advice from new business owners, she always tells them that “every obstacle is an opportunity.” Donna truly practices this advice, and she remains busy identifying opportunities and designing future medical industry products worthy of Audrey’s legacy.

About Audrey Spirit
Owner:  Donna Macan Yadrich
Nature of Business:  Therapeutic Garment Manufacturer
City: Kansas City, Kansas
County: Wyandotte
Phone/website: (913) 980-6282

About our consultant Elisa Waldman

Elisa Waldman brings her past experiences as an attorney and a retail store owner to her current position as a consultant for the Kansas Small Business Development Center (Kansas SBDC) at JCCC. Prior to joining the Kansas SDBC in 2005, Elisa earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her law degree from George Washington University. Elisa practiced law in the Kansas City area with a focus on land use and business litigation, and she worked as the Advocacy Manager and in-house Counsel for the Academy of General Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois. While in Chicago, Elisa also taught as an adjunct professor at DePaul University Law School. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor of Business Law at Johnson County Community College.

Elisa left the practice of law to pursue her creative and entrepreneurial interests by opening Paint Glaze & Fire, Inc., a retail paint-your-own pottery studio in Overland Park. Elisa opened her small business with the assistance of the Kansas SBDC.  During her eight years of ownership, Elisa was responsible for all areas of business operations including marketing, finance, technical training, employee relations and customer service. In 2000, Elisa opened Successful Studio Consulting Inc. and has assisted over 200 pottery studios in opening their doors throughout the United States and Canada. Upon selling her studio, Elisa joined the Kansas SBDC as a full-time consultant.