International Builders & Consultants, Inc.
Kansas City, Missouri | Second-Stage
When the economy was at its worst in 2009, Brandy McCombs moved her construction business, International Builders & Consultants, Inc. (IBC) from Miami, Florida, to Kansas City, Missouri.
“It was a tough time for everybody. Many businesses were going under, but there was enough opportunity available in Kansas City to warrant the move,” explains Brandy.
IBC specializes in commercial carpentry construction—custom millwork, wood wall paneling, wood trim and the like. Brandy built herself a small book of business in the first few years, then she sat down behind her desk and watched her revenue plateau.
After three years of keeping to herself, Brandy realized it was time for a change. She set a goal to get out into the Kansas City community more, networking and building relationships with fellow business owners.
IBC felt the difference almost immediately, “When I made intentional networking a priority, my revenue tripled.”
Getting a business up and running during tough economic times taught Brandy innumerable lessons about what it really takes to be an entrepreneur. Those are lessons she passes on today to other female entrepreneurs as president of the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
“You can never go wrong by building relationships and investing in your community. I owe much of my success to the strength of my network and my team.” Brandy’s team received recognition for their accomplishments in 2016 when they were awarded a spot in the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Top 10 Small Businesses.
Ticket to Ride
Brandy’s commitment to networking paid off in 2014 when she attended an informational session about the nascent Kansas City streetcar. She learned about all of the opportunity the streetcar project offered for businesses, and knew right away that IBC had to get onboard.
Today, the Kansas City streetcar runs from the River Market neighborhood to the historic Union Station, a two-mile stretch that connects many bustling areas of the city, including the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light Entertainment District and the downtown financial district.
If you drove around the streetcar line during construction and had to navigate around traffic cones or saw yellow-vested people directing vehicles, then you saw Brandy’s company hard at work.
IBC handled traffic control services during the entire construction process. What seems like a small piece of the puzzle, actually allowed Brandy to start a brand new division in her company and at peak activity, she employed 15 full-time workers.
Kansas City has also prospered thanks to the streetcar. The streetcar spurred $1.8 billion in downtown development and is well received by business owners along the line--97% credit the streetcar with having a positive impact on their business.
The streetcar is the spine of Kansas City’s Smart City, cutting-edge technology that collects data for all to see at the Open Access website, with the goal of helping city officials make more informed decisions about basic services for residents.
Next Stop: Growth
Construction on the Kansas City streetcar is complete, but Brandy continues to reap the benefits of the catalytic line.
“IBC is working on a few large scale multi-family projects along the streetcar right now. None of this would be possible without the line on Main Street and the city of Kansas City’s commitment to innovation.”
Brandy is preparing IBC for growth; in the fall of 2016 she was accepted into the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program. The streetcar may be growing too: plans are under way to extend the line from Union Station, through Midtown and Westport, past the Plaza and all the way to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Brandy knows that no matter how far the streetcar stretches someday, there will always be opportunity for hard working and driven entrepreneurs in Kansas City, “I have grown my business larger than I ever thought possible. Kansas City is a special place that I am proud to call home.”
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