Meet the 9th Cohort of ScaleUP! Kansas City Business Owners Primed to Scale, Grow

Meet the 9th Cohort of ScaleUP! Kansas City Business Owners Primed to Scale, Grow

A new year, a new cohort of businesses that are ready to scale: Say hello to ScaleUP! Kansas City’s ninth cohort. These 15 entrepreneurs lead small businesses across the Kansas City metro and represent a variety of industries, such as photography, construction, design, counseling, film, engineering and more.

This newest cohort builds the total number of Scalers to 141 Kansas City business owners who’ve taken this free program that helps them create the processes, strategies and long-term plans to not only grow but also to scale their businesses.

“ScaleUP! KC has proved year after year that it’s such a powerful program for the small business owners who make this metro a great place for entrepreneurship,” says Jill Meyer, program director of ScaleUP! KC. “This program has shown us, time and time again, that not only can you start a business in Kansas City, but you can also scale it here. The limits, really, are as high as your ambition.”


Announcing Cohort 9

The ninth ScaleUP! Kansas City cohort includes:

Amie Bristol – HMC Performance Coatings, Tonganoxie, Kansas
HMC Performance Coatings is a woman-owned, award-winning media-blasting and powder-coating facility serving custom, commercial and industrial clients.

Cate DePrisco – The Photo Bus, Kansas City, Missouri
The Photo Bus, founded in 2012, is a photo booth company offering a customizable on-site photo experience for event attendees in both print and digital. It also licenses the concept, which began as a photo booth in a Volkswagen bus, to other cities across the U.S.

Ellie Forouzesh – Artin LLC, Overland Park, Kansas
Artin is a structural engineering consulting firm that specializes in designing different types of buildings—including commercial, mixed-use and industrial—and offers inspections. The WBE-certified company has professional engineer licensing from 11 states and has worked on projects nationally.

Natasha Griswold-Friends – Elder Hair Care LLC, Kansas City, Missouri
Elder Hair Care offers a luxury salon and spa service experience to senior communities. The founder has 17 years of experience and has managed and owned salons that serve other communities. Now, with EHC, she is giving a voice for the elderly and empowering aging populations.

Carrie Kiefer – Ampersand Design Studio LLC, Mission, Kansas
Ampersand Design Studio is an art and design studio. Created by two art school friends—Carrie Kiefer and Morgan Georgie—the company’s signature bold surface pattern designs have appeared on stationary, home décor and fashion and textiles for clients, such as Crate & Kids, Target, Hallmark Cards and West Elm. The company also sells products in shops across the U.S.

Rena Krouse – Green Bee KC Tea Towels, Kansas City, Missouri
Green Bee KC produces high-quality, affordable kitchen towels with a vintage feel. Founded in 2015, the brand has grown to over 500 wholesale accounts in all 50 states.

Mike Linn – Linn Construction LLC, Kansas City, Missouri
Linn Construction specializes in renovation and capital improvement services for the single- and multi-family residence investment space. In addition to construction management and local market expertise, Linn Construction offers investment clients the ability to analyze and track investment funds. The company has completed more than 540 renovation and new construction projects.

Chris Matsch – Messenger Coffee Co., Kansas City, Missouri
Messenger Coffee Co. creates artisan-level roasts from the best coffees available while taking care of its coffee farmers in a way that goes above and beyond the status quo. Its coffees are beyond fair trade and manually roasted in small batches in Kansas City.

Jy Maze – Maze Freight Solutions, Overland Park, Kansas
Jy Maze, president of Maze Freight Solutions, has been in transportation and supply chain management for over 10 years. Her sales success with large and small companies, along with the lack of diversity in the industry, led to the founding of Maze Freight Solutions in 2017. The company, which emphasizes integrity, quality and superior customer service, has experienced phenomenal growth since its inception.

Ann Packingham – InnovaPrep, Drexel, Missouri
InnovaPrep is a manufacturing company. Since 2009, it has developed a suite of instruments for modern microbiology. The company’s 35 awarded and pending patents enable faster, easier and better detection of microorganisms for a wide range of biomonitoring applications that help people and animals live safer, healthier lives.

Heath Porter – The Chop Shop, Independence, Missouri
The Chop Shop is a full-service creative graphic design and cutting company that specializes in embroidery, screen-printing, apparel design, die-cutting and heat-transfer graphics. The Chop Shop’s prior work includes stage uniforms for local rapper Tech N9ne, corporate apparel for Dannon Yogurt and shirts sold in stores, such as Hy-Vee. The company prides itself on over 40 years of design experience.

Amber Reed – Resolve, Prairie Village, Kansas
Resolve Counseling & Wellness is a private practice that reimagines how counseling services are accessed in the Kansas City area. The counseling office offers specialized services, no waiting lists, online booking, clinical education and community outreach. Resolve’s mission includes providing services at the time of need, removing the barriers to seeking help and offering immediate care and affordable options. Resolve therapists and counselors work with families and individuals who need healing, growth and change.

Joe Speicher – Easton Roofing, Kansas City, Missouri
Easton Roofing is a contracting business in historic Westport. Easton Roofing has provided residential and commercial roofing, insulation and gutter services in the Kansas City metro and in Lawrence, Kansas, since it opened in 2014. Great customer service has allowed Easton Roofing to become one of the most highly rated contractors in the market.

Andrew Syrios – Stewardship Investments LLC, Kansas City, Missouri
Stewardship Investments LLC is a real estate investment and property management company founded in 2011. Today, Stewardship Investments LLC owns over 300 houses and nearly 500 total units and has revenues that exceed $3 million a year. It was named one of the Kansas City Business Journals’ Fast 50, appeared on Ingram’s list of Top 100 Private Companies in Kansas City and made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies nationwide.

Chris Vanderloo – Lucky Day LLC, Mission, Kansas
Lucky Day is a content creation studio with operations in the Kansas City area and Portland, Oregon. It specializes in moving images, with a focus on post-production. Lucky Day guides projects from concept to completion, including editorial, motion graphics, color and sound. Partnering with agencies, brands and individuals, Lucky Day delivers high-quality branded and original content.

Where Are They Now?

Catch up with alums of the ScaleUP! Kansas City program and see how they’re scaling their businesses.

“These companies are making, waves, creating jobs and are huge contributors to the Kansas City economy,” Meyer says. “It’s amazing to be part of their journey and to give these local business leaders the perspective, knowledge and guidance to scale their operations. I can’t wait to see where they take their businesses next.”

Friend That Cooks is expanding into Texas, now has 50 employees and is on pace for $2.5 million in revenue, with a goal of $3.5 million for 2019.

Weave Gotcha Covered wrapped up filming for Season 2 of “Bargain Mansions” on the DIY channel, acquired an upholstery company, started an installation company and is gearing up for a commercial division, all while revenues were up over 60 percent.

Midwest Comfort Homes reported over 1.5 million sales in January 2019 and is “tracking to blow last year out of the water.”

Onspring’s first quarter of 2019 has been its best yet. The company has 30 employees, is looking to hire six to eight more this year, is considering a new office in Overland Park, Kansas, and plans to enter two new markets in 2019.

Fresh Approach Cleaning Professionals added three workers and boosted its revenues by 25 percent.

Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery won a gold medal in an international competition for taste and excellence in sustainable winegrowing.

Matai Services was accepted into the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program and is working on projects in Virginia, Arkansas and Arizona.

Thirsty Coconut now has an 18,000-square-foot warehouse.

Lisa Schmitz Interior Design recently doubled its studio space and got its third out-of-state project.

Lynch Bryan Consulting completed several projects to help fast-growing companies or those in the middle of an acquisition or merger. Employees have also completed several specialized training programs to help other businesses with operations.


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