January 2017

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The Chamber

Marcus Allen

Guest Speaker at the 96th Annual Banquet on January 28, 2017, at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center

January 2017

Charter M embers

The Independence Chamber of Commerce is grateful to our Charter members for their ongoing support, which allows us to offer programs and events that help our city and members grow and prosper.

January Luncheon Guest Speaker

Dave Elyachar

Big Bob’s Flooring

Our founder, David Elyachar began his floor covering career as a retail carpet salesman. He worked his way up to sales manager and eventually became a mill representative. This experience afforded him extensive knowledge in all areas of the floor covering business. In addition, David developed solid contacts and personal relationships throughout the industry that have aided him in the development of his venture. These contacts continue to play a vital role in the success of Big Bob’s Flooring Outlets.

Our Business is Business 210 West Truman Road Independence, MO 64050 816-252-4745 www.iChamber.biz


The Chamber View

Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet in Kansas City and Saint Joseph has now evolved into Big Bob’s Outlet and is not just a First Quality Flooring Outlet. A huge selection of in-stock Flooring, Furniture and Mattresses are available at each of our 3 large locations. What started off in 1983 as a small Used Carpet Shop in a 4,000 square foot warehouse has turned into beautiful showrooms with over 125,000 square feet of new inventory—in-stock and available for immediate installation and/or delivery.

Year End Reflections

The holidays are always a time of reflection and rejuvenation as we watch another year pass and anticipate the New Year. It’s also a time to marvel at how fast the time did go – and with much activity at the Independence Chamber, I know the staff and I are amazed at all that has been accomplished with the support of our members. A great foundation had been laid with the leadership of particularly the past two board presidents, Brad Speaks and Cindy McClain and, in 2016, my job became one of building on that solid foundation and maintaining the momentum. I’d be remiss not to also mention the vision and expertise of Hap Graff and the execution of his team – the Chamber staff. The entire organization is goal-driven, and it shows in our 2016 results. Truly, the effort is geared at business development and success – this makes all the difference to all of us and to the citizens that we all serve in our various capacities. Events, programming and education and networking are at the heart of what we do to put business first. Some gains include: • The Chamber increased memberships to 510 in 2016. It is estimated that the full and part time employees of these businesses total over 10,300 contributors to our community. • Financial stability has been achieved through growing of the membership base but also revitalization of the programs and our main festival, Santa-Cali-Gon, which had a banner year. Many of the 258 vendors occupying 412 booth spaces reported this as their most profitable festival in the US, which led to 1/3 of the vendors committing to our 2017 festival, even at this early date. • Three initiatives started in 2015 - the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Independence Civic Council and the revitalization of LEAD Independence – continue to bring new ideas and leaders to the table. • The Academies of ISD continues to support student career preparedness goals with the help of the Chamber, which has provided essential fundraising and programmatic support. The new retail store on Independence Square, “All Things Independence,” is a great addition to the vibrant square and reflective of the Academies growing business acumen. And these are just some of the highlights of what is otherwise an impressive list of accomplishments for 2016. None of this happens without your active engagement with the Chamber and the dedication and hard work of our Chamber staff! On a personal note, one of the byproducts of board membership is relationships I’ve been able to build. I have achieved a deeper appreciation for the work the Chamber is doing and for each of the staff members and volunteers who work very diligently on the behalf of our community. I have also grown to know many of the business leaders who are giving of their time and talent to ensure that the community is working in concert to best supply the citizens of Independence a place they can be proud to live. As we welcome 2017, and with it, a new Board Chairman Tom Waters, whose capable hands will only further the Chamber’s growth and influence, I will continue to be engaged in the success of Independence and will remember fondly the fruit of our collective labors this past year. Happy Holidays to each of you as you, too, reflect on your 2016 successes and spend time with those you love. Dave Williams, Centerpoint Medical Center, Past Chair of the Board

January Calendar of Events January 13 8:00 am - 9:30 am Ennovation Center, 201 N. Forest Ave., Independence


The Chamber will present its 2017 legislative agenda and state legislators will discuss their hopes for the 2017 Missouri session.

Monthly Membership Luncheon 18

January 18 11:30 am - 1:00 pm Hilton Garden Inn 19677 E Jackson Dr, Independence, MO 64057 Be sure to join us for the Monthly Membership Luncheon with guest speaker Dave Elyachar of Big Bob’s Flooring. See more on page 2.

Sponsored by the Charter Members

96th Annual Banquet

Presenting Sponsor

Elite Sponsor


The Chamber View

January 28 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center 18011 Bass Pro Dr, Indep., MO Join us for an evening to celebrate our community! This black-tie optional event will feature a social hour, keynote speaker Chiefs Great and NFL Hall of Famer, Marcus Allen, dinner, and honoring people from the Independence business community.

December Membership Luncheon

In honor of the 2016 Chair Dave Williams, CEO of Centerpoint Medical Center


January 2017


LEAD Alumni Luncheon


The Chamber View

LEAD Economic Development Day

Russ Constans, Soup Glaceé

2017 LEAD Class

Tom Lesnak, President, Independence Economic Development Council

January 2017


Business After Hours at Bingham Waggoner


The Chamber View

January 2017


Ribbon Cutting

My Place Hotel

December 2 20105 E. Valley View Pkwy Independence, MO 64057

s st ing l y Ta Hour k e e W py g Hap Durin - 8pm 4pm Beer y: Frida : Wines ay d Satur


• Specialty Beers • Sipping Spirits • Cigars

• Gourmet Cheeses • Assorted Snacks

70 M-291

• Blended Coffees


Little Blue Pkwy.

19341 E. Highway 40 • Independence, MO (Located in the Crackerneck Plaza)

• “Themed” Gifts

Crackerneck Plaza

• Over 1,000 Wines, including Missouri Wines


The Chamber View

816.795.5335 Hours: Mon. - Thur. 10am - 10pm Fri. & Sat. 10am - 11pm Sun. Noon - 6pm

Celebration Worthy! Local school districs rank high in the state according to the Missouri Department and of Elementary and Secondary Education in the annual performance review.



2016 Membership Directory and Resource Guide


2 016 • I n d ep en d en c e

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Please contact the Chamber for requirements and additional details. Ad space is available in different sizes for all industries and budgets. The advertisements in this publication serve to better the visibility to current chamber members. Reserve your space today, as spaces will sell fast! Businesses interested in the advertising opportunity in this annual publication should contact Tammie Easson with MetroMedia at 417-629-7935 or Mikealene at 816-252-4745, Ext. 4.

Independence: 89.6% Fort Osage: 92.1% Blue Springs: 99.6% Grain Valley: 91.4% Oak Grove: 96.4%

Lee’s Summit: 97.9% Kansas City: 70.0% Raytown: 79.6% Grandiew: 78.6% Lone Jack: 96.8%

Membership Directory

The Independence Chamber is again partnering with Chamber member, Metro Media, to design, write, and publish its annual 2017 Membership Directory. In January, the sales staff from MetroMedia will begin contacting members about advertising opportunities in the Directory for the Independence Chamber of Commerce. The full-color directory, with gorgeous, quality photos, will tell our story. The publication will be approximately 100 pages in length and provide an easy guide to the membership of the Chamber. Chamber benefits, opportunities and business resources will be mailed out to all Chamber members as well as distributed to government offices, realtors, hospitals, visitor centers, major area employers, schools and other businesses. We will reach up to 3,600 readers! We also send copies to those requesting various information. Sections on tourism, commerce, education, history, recreation, demographics, transportation, health, along with a detailed membership and business directory will also be included. The 2017 publication will also be available online via the Chamber website as an interactive flipbook edition. Tens of thousands of views and/or downloads are anticipated for this additional distribution method. The projected publication date for the 2017 Chamber Membership Directory is April 15th, 2017. Please consider the advertising opportunities for this annual publication that adorns the desk of almost every business decision maker in Independence and Eastern Jackson County. Thank you for supporting the Chamber as we continue to promote our area a great place to live, work, shop and play.

January 2017


We Need Your Help! ISD Career Fair January 25th 6:00 - 8:00 pm All three high schools will be hosting this event and we need businesses to participate at Truman, Van Horn, and William Chrisman High Schools. Join the team and sign up to be a Business Partner in this great experience. Get in front of our community one student at a time by sharing what you and your industry does, so the student can decide if they want to go into this career. These students could be your future employees, and we want to prepare them so that they are ready to go into the workforce when they graduate. You would share with them education needed, workforce trends and information that might be helpful about your business and career. Please contact Kelsey Edwards at [email protected] or at 816.252.4745 if you wish to attend.


The Chamber View

Career Fair

Next year will mark the first graduating class from the Independence School District that has completed the Ford Next Generation Learning model. It will be a historic graduation and will mark a milestone in the complete transformation of our local high schools from the old factory-model to one in which career pathways are an expectation for every student. The Independence School District is being noticed and studied by districts around the metro and across the country. We have been tapped to provide tours and information for the Missouri Education Commissioner as well as the Missouri School Board as they want to replicate what we are doing in other districts across the state. Dual credit classes and Industry Recognized Credentials (IRC) are offered in each pathway. If students choose to attend college, they will be much better prepared and have some of their college coursework already completed. The economic impact this has upon our patrons and district will be more than 13.5 million dollars if only half of our students access half of the dual credit in each pathway! The ISD now offers 91 classes for credit thanks to our strong partnership with local colleges and universities. We also have generated these high demand, high-wage pathways with IRC’s. For example, our Construction Trades pathway accesses the same curriculum that the St. Louis District Carpenter’s Union uses. Upon completion of our two-year program and successful passage of the tests, our students can join the union one full step up. With an average salary 3.5 times more than with only a high school diploma, these IRC’s provide a real opportunity for our graduates to enter the workforce, pay their way through college and stay ahead. The economic impact is valued at more than 8 million dollars a year. With more than 20 million dollars in total economic impact from this model, you can see why Independence and our businesses are starting to rally. The connections our business partners are making right now are already starting to pay dividends.

Save the Dates! First Responders Breakfast Independence Regional Business Expo QUARTERLY AMBASS

March 15, 2017 7:30 am - 9:00 am Truman Memorial Building

May 11, 2017 Stoney Creek Hotel and Convention Center 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm


We have an amazing group of ambassadors and this quarter Barbara Langley, with the Kiwanis Club of Independence, rose to the top because of her success in recruitment!

January 2017


New Anniversaries Members 1-4 Years

Cricket Wireless

816-803-6406 18801 E 39th Street S 135 Independence, MO 64057

Metro Ford 816-254-9800 2860 S Noland Rd Independence, MO 64055

Leslie Tuttle, Consultant 816-898-5960

Modern-Woodmen Fraternal Financial

Swope Health Independence

Health Care Foundation of Greater

NorthWest Communities

Three Trails Cottages, LLC Kansas City

816-525-7889 651 NE Woods Chapel Rd Ste 101 Lee’s Summit, MO 64064

Way of Escape 816-844-9500 3010 S M 291 Highway Suites J and K Independence, MO 64057

Morgan Miller Plumbing

Matt Ford Sales Inc.

Victorian Society of the Vaile Mansion and Dewitt Museum

Sibley Orchards Revive Church Red Robin

Bella’s Laundry Room Buffalo Wild Wings

The Springs at Independence Villages of Jackson Creek Villages of Jackson Creek University of Central Missouri

Midwest Foster Care & Adoption Association

Wyatt Violin Shop LLC

Stephen and Kathy King, Independent Associates with LegalShield

Mallinson Vineyard and Hall

Village Heights Community of Christ

5-14 Years Blue Springs Ford

Consultants in Gastroenterology City of Sugar Creek

Specialty Landscape Services LLC Stewardship Capital

CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services of K.C.

Truman Heartland Community Foundation

25+ Years Drumm Farm Center for Children Kapke & Willerth LLC Tim’s Pizza

TMC Lakewood

The Laclede Group Unilever

Carpenter and Company, Inc. AT&T

Howe & Company CPA PC Jeannie Colvin CPA PC

Comprehensive Mental Health Services

Family Wrench LLC

Independence School District

Jackson County Health Department

Speaks Family Legacy Chapels

WIC Independence

Office Products Alliance

Sonic Drive In - Jackson Drive Edward Jones, Jon Klassen ARC Physical Therapy+

Lakewood Chiropractic P.C

Jim Blau Insurance Agency Inc.

Hy-Vee Food & Drug Store 40 Hwy Summit Computer Solutions

The Chamber View

Development Corporation

Residence Inn by Marriott


Medical Imaging Eastland


Nativity of Mary School

All Copy Products

Memory Care

Eric Knipp Agency, Inc.

15-24 Years

Centerpoint Medical Center


Dave Williams Past Chair of the Board Centerpoint Medical Center

Tom Waters Chair of the Board Corporate CopyPrint

Jonathan Zerr Chair Elect Kapke & Willerth, LLC.

Board of Directors:

Tom Weir Treasurer Blue Ridge Bank & Trust Co.

Bob Glaser Summit Bank of Kansas City

Wes Cowan Space Center

Dr. Michael Banks Metropolitan Community College–Blue River

Julie Moreno The Examiner

Kim Deveney American Funding Solutions, LLC

Mike Sanders Humphrey, Farrington, & McClain, PC

Mary McNamara Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal Co.

Steve Graffeo Community of Christ

Cindy McClain McClain Enterprises, Inc.

Jon Ellis Paradise Park Dr. Karen Cox

Doug Williams Morgan Stanley

Sonci Bleckinger Central Bank of the Midwest

Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics

Beth Franklin Keller Williams Real Estate

Kent Holiday Alliant Techsystems, Inc.

Terri Steele Evans & Steele Financial, LLC

Lynette Wheeler Truman Medical Center Lakewood

Ron Finke Stewardship Capital

Dr. Jason Snodgrass Fort Osage School District

Dr. Dale Herl Independence School District

Dr. Jim Finley Blue Springs School District

Hap Graff Independence Chamber of Commerce

Ex Officio Members:

Tom Lesnak Independence Council for Economic Development Zach Walker City of Independence

Chamber Team:

Hap Graff, President & CEO [email protected], ext. 5 Trina Anderson, Director of Membership Services [email protected], ext. 1 Amy Knipp, Director of Membership Events [email protected], ext. 8 Lois McDonald, Vice President of Community Development [email protected], ext. 2 Steve Patton, Business Liaison to the Chamber [email protected], ext. 7

Congrats, Kris!

The Independence Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce

the promotion of Kris Zerr to Vice President & Director of Finance.

Kris Zerr, Vice President & Director of Finance [email protected], ext. 3

The announcement was made by President, Hap Graff at the

Mikealene Evans, Director of Marketing & Communications [email protected], ext. 4

the Chamber in 2014, she has taken on effectively managing

Kelsey Edwards Academies of ISD Liaison [email protected]

December Board Meeting. As Vice President, Kris will assist

Hap in the overall operations of the Chamber. Since Kris joined all of the financial tasks for the organization. Please help us in congratulating Kris on a well-deserved promotion.

January 2017


210 West Truman Road Independence, MO 64050


Quote of the Month

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Henry Ford

Santa Spottings!