Local resident Jake Province, started Influx Services, a building exterior cleaning service in late May of this year.
“We provide house washing, pressure washing, exterior cleaning, and restoration services,” Province said. “We provide … driveway and concrete cleaning, deck and fence cleaning, and restoration services such as oil and rust stain removal.”
Service to other businesses are offered by Province as well.
“We also offer all services to commercial clients,” Province said. “We offer reasonable prices, professional service, and use appropriate cleaning techniques to prevent damage to your home or building.”
“I started this business because I’ve lived in Fort Scott and the
surrounding areas for most of my life, and like all of us, I want to
see it grow and improve,” he said. “Providing quality pressure washing, house washing, and exterior cleaning to the people of the town at reasonable prices is my way of giving back, and I hope to see my efforts cause more people to appreciate the town and the local businesses here.”
The business serves Fort Scott and all surrounding areas.
Those interested in residential or commercial cleaning can get a free
quote by calling (620) 407-3008,
or emailing [email protected]m
Kelly and Thaddeus Perry opened their store, Perry’s Pork Rinds and Country Store on July 31 in Bronson, Kansas-population 309.
The store is located right on Highway 54 that runs through the town.
The mom and pop operation has people sign a guest book when they come in. “This is for Kansas Tourism,” Kelly said. “There have been a ton of people coming in.”
“We sold over 200 pounds of (her homemade) fudge in the first three days we were open,” she said.
Mama K’s fudge, made by Kelly Perry on site, has the capability of making 200 flavors of fudge.
“The fudge takes two hours to make with real cream and butter,” she said. “It’s from the same company that made Ozark Land and Silver Dollar City fudge.”
“We are wholesaling fudge and doing fundraisers (for community organizations),” Kelly said.
Their best seller at the store is their pork rinds, which along with the fudge is made in the back of the store.
Thaddeus said to make the pork rinds they order from a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture site.
“Then it’s cooked until done, then seasoned, then cooled and then bagged,” he said.
“It took two-and-a-half years to get to produce rinds and fudge on site,” Thaddeus said. “People have been asking us for six to eight months when we were going to open.”
In addition to their signature products, “We now carry milk and eggs, that will be from local vendors,” Kelly said. “We will be getting eggs and frozen chickens from Freedom Farms ( a Bourbon County farm) and all our ground beef, brats, hot dogs and bacon are from Bronson (Meat) Locker.”
And important to locals and those passing by, is the ability to purchase local fruits and vegetables.
“The first weekend we sold 28 watermelons and 60 pounds of tomatoes,” she said.
A hot meal is also served everyday from 11 a.m. “until it’s gone,” she said. A list of the week’s offerings are on a whiteboard near the inside door of the store.
The Perry’s have eight employees, some part-time and some full-time.
“We just hired three new employees for the front store,” Thaddeus said.
The store is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Nedra Barr, Spyder CEO, of Spyder, announced today that they were selected to be included in the NXTSTAGE Accelerator program in Kansas.
“We are excited to collaborate with this program and the other awardees in the program,” she said. “This allows Spyder a larger stage in the State of Kansas to sell our new software products geared towards small business.”
Spyder CTO Mike Upright said, “Spyder’s small business product is scheduled to be released in September and will include Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. These tools are not widely available to small business’ today, but we see it differently. Small Business’ need these types of solutions to put them on more of a level playing field. Small business’ are the lifeblood of our U.S. economy, so helping them get to a level playing field is an important mission of Spyder!”
Commerce Department, Patterson Family Foundation Team Up to Help Downtown Areas Throughout Kansas
TOPEKA – It is a familiar sight in smaller Kansas communities throughout the state: vibrant downtown districts whose allure is somewhat diminished by one or two vacant or dilapidated buildings. In many cases, a major barrier to making these structures useful again is the high cost of renovation.
Last fall, the Kansas Department of Commerce launched a new community revitalization program, the Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (HEAL), to address the issue. With HEAL, the state assists building owners with matching grants to cover eligible expenses as historic properties are revitalized. HEAL was made possible through a collaboration with the Patterson Family Foundation, which has been dedicated to strengthening rural communities since 2007.
Today, Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland announced the inaugural HEAL grant recipients. Slightly more than $1.8 million in matching grants will be awarded to help 32 projects across the state.
“The goal of the HEAL is to rescue downtown buildings and restore them as productive spaces for business and community use,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce SecretaryToland said. “Seeing our downtown districts turned into more attractive and vibrant places to live and work, along with creating new jobs and services for Kansans, is key to our state’s prosperity.”
Grants are divided into two funding categories, Emergency and Regular, for cities with fewer than 50,000 residents. The program is designed to transform buildings for new or expanding businesses, housing, arts and culture, civic engagement, childcare or entrepreneurship – and once again become economic drivers in the community.
“Vibrant downtown areas are important to the future prospects of smaller communities, so it was not a difficult decision for us to join the Department of Commerce and its partners in funding HEAL grants,” said Lindsey Patterson Smith, President of the Patterson Family Foundation. “HEAL grants give architecturally significant buildings a new lease on life, so they can continue to play vital roles in their communities.”
Emergency HEAL was established to make strategic investments in underutilized, dilapidated or buildings in danger of collapse. Twenty-four applications were received for this category. A total of 10 projects are receiving $585,000 in matching grant funds.
Emergency HEAL Award recipients include:
Elmo Building, Burden – $40,000,
Union Gas Building Renovation, Caney – $65,000,
Pretty Boy Floyd’s Underground Restaurant and Event Venue, Ellsworth – $65,000,
Cohn-Gardner Hill Department Store, Eudora – $65,000,
The Eureka Project, Eureka – $41,000,
McDonald Hall, Fort Scott – $65,000,
Kollock and Bragunier-Otte Buildings, Peabody – $65,000,
David Rettiger Building, Strong City – $65,000,
Jacob Engles Dry Goods/Restaurant and Distillery, Wellington – $64,000, and
Stiles Mortuary Building, Wilson – $50,000.
A total of 220 applications were received for Regular HEAL grants. Twenty-two projects from across the state are receiving $1,294,715 in matching grant funds.
Regular HEAL award recipients include:
The Star Block Restaurant/Retail, Osage City – $65,000,
Restoration of 17 E. Fourth Ave – Brewery Manufacturing, Emporia – $65,000,
HL Hart Building Coworking & Apartment, Newton – $65,000,
Historic Lowis Building – Nesting Expansion, Colby – $65,000,
The Landing Restaurant & Outdoor Gathering Place, Great Bend – $43,960,
Junction City Brewery & Restaurant, Junction City – $65,000,
Midland Theater Front of the House & Stage Restoration, Coffeyville – $65,000,
Marquee Performing arts Center, Winfield – $38,715,
Tree House of Early Learning, Independence – $65,000, and
Robin’s Nest, Minneola – $65,000.
About the Kansas Department of Commerce
As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in 2021 and 2022, and was awarded the 2021 Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine.
About the Patterson Family Foundation
Where you come from says a lot about you. But what you do says even more. The Patterson Family Foundation is a family-led foundation extending the legacy of Neal and Jeanne Patterson to improve the rural communities we come from through healthcare, education, economic opportunity, and beyond. Learn more about the Patterson Family Foundation and how it can help your community at https://pattersonfamilyfoundation.org/
Completing the survey is no obligation to take out the insurance. Rates and plans will be released in September and then you can make a choice to proceed or not.
The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to offer another benefit to our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Kansas (CCEKS) and local Chambers across the state have created an association health plan (AHP) – Chamber Blue of Kansas. This AHP offers member businesses access to health insurance associated with large group medical coverage.
Completing this survey allows your business to be eligible to enroll in Chamber Blue effective January 1, 2023. If your business is currently enrolled with BCBSKS, you simply will include your business information and group number. If your business is not currently enrolled with BCBSKS, please complete the census which will include the name, date of birth, gender and zip code for each employee, spouse and dependents covered under your current plan or those you believe will want coverage under this plan. The deadline is August 18, 2022. The survey is to be completed one time per business by the person responsible for the decisions of the health benefits for your company. It is not to be passed to the employees to complete.
Here is also a link to a recently recorded webinar on the insurance offering, click here.
Please note there will be a separate process to enroll your business in Chamber Blue. Completing this survey does not obligate your business to enroll in the program. If you have additional questions, you can contact your BCBSKS representative or complete the form on the website.
New ONE Gas ESG Report Highlights Kansas Gas Service’s Community Involvement and Sustainability Progress in Kansas
ONE Gas, the parent company of Kansas Gas Service, has released its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, which outlines the company’s commitment to safe operations, responsible environmental stewardship and an inclusive and diverse work culture.
“Natural gas plays an essential role in Kansas’ transition to a carbon-neutral energy future, and we are actively working toward that future,” said Sean Postlethwait, vice president of Operations for Kansas Gas Service. “This report highlights our commitment to provide safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to our customers, now and into the future.”
Some highlights from Kansas in the report include:
Energy-Efficient Hutchinson South Service Center
In 2021, the company completed construction on the Hutchinson South Service Center using new energy-efficient building standards including:
Automated lighting system and brightness sensors.
Automated thermostat control and more efficient HVACs.
Stormwater capture to aerate low-impact landscaping.
Low Income Support
The Kansas Gas Service Customer Service team offered in-person workshops around the state to guide customers through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program application process.
The ONE Gas Foundation donated more than $400,000 across the state of Kansas to support community enrichment and development.
“Our ESG report outlines the vision and progress toward a more sustainable future for all the communities we serve,” Postlethwait said.
ONE Gas, Inc. (NYSE: OGS) is a 100-percent regulated natural gas utility, and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “OGS.” ONE Gas is included in the S&P MidCap 400 Index and is one of the largest natural gas utilities in the United States.
Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ONE Gas provides a reliable and affordable energy choice to more than 2.3 million customers in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Its divisions include Kansas Gas Service, the largest natural gas distributor in Kansas; Oklahoma Natural Gas, the largest in Oklahoma; and Texas Gas Service, the third largest in Texas, in terms of customers.
A new restaurant and pub is on the horizon for downtown Fort Scott, called Pizza Republic.
“We want to make sure people have good options,” Bret Holder, the president of the new business venture said. “You’ll get a great meal and it’s a place for the whole family.”
Robert and Kimberly Coon, owners of 17 S. Main, the old Kress Building, are partnering with Pat McDonald and Bret and Sara Holder, all of Fort Scott, and Dennis Moon, Houston, TX, Sara’s uncle, to open the new business venture by September 1.
Bret Holder is the president of Pizza Republic, and has 20 years of corporate law experience, he said. “I am setting the vision, and making sure it’s going,” he said.
Pat McDonald just moved from Kansas City Northland, and has previous restaurant ownership experience: PatMacs in Kansas City. He is also an investor, chief chef and manager, he said.
Moon is the treasurer of the new venture, Holder said.
The Coons have been facilitating the reno of the first floor, 5,000 square foot of space, that will be divided into a family dining area, a bar, a large kitchen and an office space.
In the family side will be arcade games, a juke box, 10-plus big screen TVs and space for live music on occasion.
“It’s a big thing coming,” Robert Coon said. “The new floor plan requires a lot of reconstruction. The restaurant and pub will take up the entire first floor.”
“Kim and I have a residential construction crew, that we are having them take time off from that, to work on this,” he said. “We’ve been working non-stop.”
The idea for the business has been percolating for some time.
“Bret and Pat approached me quite some time ago, but I wasn’t open to the idea because the building was already rented,” he said.
A sushi restaurant business was formerly the renter of a portion of the first floor.
“The sushi restaurant closed on July 5,” Coon said.
The new restaurant plans to employ 15-20 people, Holder said.
The ideal candidates for employment are “go-getters from Fort Scott High School and Fort Scott Community College and others,” Holder said.
Holder, a veteran, said the reason he moved to Fort Scott “was to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome with Adam LaRoche.”
Adam LaRoche, retired from major league baseball, along with his wife, Jennifer, both of Fort Scott, are the founders of the E3 Ranch Foundation. Together, they are committed to put God’s love into action, through supporting combat wounded veterans, fighting against sex-trafficking, and providing support during humanitarian crises globally, according to their website.
In the future, Holder sees opportunities for veterans getting training at this restaurant for future franchises.
“The plan is open other restaurants, in other towns,” Holder said.
A swine farm is being constructed along the county line next to Bourbon County
The company, Monarch Sow Farm, is owned by Perdue Premium Meat Company, headquartered in Salisbury, MD, and is located in Neosho County. Their harvest facility is in Sioux Center, Iowa.
“The property is on the county lines of Neosho, Allen, and Bourbon; but in Neosho County,” said Jim Magolski, PHD, Perdue’s Senior Director of Hog Quality and Protocols. “The property is south of Alabama/250th Road, west of York/10th Road, and north of 39.”
The 240 acres of land was purchased in March 2021, and construction began February 2022. The site will be completed in August of 2022, according to Magolski.
“We birth (farrow) and raise baby pigs until they are old enough to be weaned from their mothers,” said Magolski.
“The farm, when fully populated, will house 1600 sows across five barns, three barns comprised of large pens bedded with straw for gestation and two barns of individual birthing pens for the moms and piglets that is also bedded with straw and wood shavings; all raised in accordance to production protocols that exceed industry standards,” he said. “Our program is part of a farming system that helps support new and young farmers, independent family farmers and generational farmers that are looking to grow sustainably, humanely raised pigs.”
“This farm is on the Bourbon County line, but is actually in Neosho County,” he said. “As an antibiotic free production system, biosecurity and the distance to other swine is a key component of this type of production model’s success. The combination of low pig density, an ideal climate for our open air barns, quality work force, ample access to bedding (straw), and close proximity to our network of independent family farms made this area an ideal location to expand our business while investing in a community we look forward to being a valued member of.”
“The piglets from this farm will be sold to farmers in the region to raise on their land as part of our weaned pig program,” he said. “This program has helped farmers find a way to make a living in agriculture, particularly young farmers who do not have the time to dedicate to farrowing. Today we have over 600 producers in our network across the Midwest, including over 30 producers in eastern Kansas.”
Employees are needed for the farm.
“We’re hiring!” he said. “We pay well above minimum wage and have many growth opportunities within a larger company. Ultimately we will have 12 employees at the location.”
Brandon Smith, 44, is the new plant manager at Labconco, in Fort Scott’s Industrial Park.
Smith started on May 9, 2022, replacing Mike Lakeman.
He oversees the daily operations of the plant, with 72 employees.
Smith served in the U.S. Navy for eight years, and has been at the Labconco headquarters in Kansas City, MO for 16.5 years, before coming to Fort Scott.
Labconco is celebrating its 97th year in Kansas City, MO and 34th year in Fort Scott, Smith said “Labconco designs and builds high-quality laboratory equipment.”
“Continuous product innovation keeps researchers safe and meets their exacting and ever-evolving needs for efficiency and performance in chemical and biological ventilation, particulate enclosures, sample preparation, forensics, washers, and water purification,” Smith said. “Labconco’s employees are dedicated to the safety of people and the scientific process, and to the prospect of a world made safer through science.”
Labconco: A Part of the COVID-19 Pandemic Vaccine Research
Labconco has played a big part in the pandemic, Smith said.
“Our biological safety cabinets, which are manufactured in the Kansas City location, and fume hoods, which are manufactured here in Fort Scott, were used in the research and development of the various vaccines currently being used now,” he said. “A large part of our customer base is medical and pharmaceutical research. We are an international company, so our products serviced not just nationally, but globally as well.”
The business has also dealt with the supply disruptions of the pandemic.
“We are constantly dealing with supply chain disruptions to this day since the pandemic started,” he said. “Most of our suppliers have increased their lead times, for various reasons, which in turn has produced new challenges and obstacles on our end with keeping up to the customer demand.”