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2024 Coolest Things Made in the Ozarks

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Editor's note: Showcasing the best in Ozarks ingenuity

Building blocks for race car engines, security systems for major banking institutions and award-winning bourbon and chocolate – that’s just a sampling of the products featured in this year’s Coolest Things Made in the Ozarks class.

Our region has a strong manufacturing base. In fact, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center found that in the Ozark region – seven counties in our region including Greene – manufacturing was the fastest-growing industry in recent years, gaining over 2,700 jobs since 2018 to total nearly 20,000 positions.

These products and companies featured in this issue display Ozarks ingenuity at its best by solving complex problems, meeting needs and even providing a little joy into the every day.

For this award event, we asked manufacturers to submit one of their products to be evaluated by a selection committee. We met and picked the 16 finalists you’ll read about in this issue based on impact, innovation and uniqueness. Now it’s up to readers to select the Voters’ Choice winner at SBJ.net/CoolestThings through Feb. 16. Event attendees will also be able to pick a Best in Show after meeting the manufacturers and seeing their products up close at the event on Feb. 29.

New this year, we’re honoring a Plant Manager of the Year. Read more about Carl Kicklighter of Vital Farms on page 25.

We hope you enjoy this special edition as we uncover the stories of these cool products made right here in the Ozarks.

—Executive Editor Christine Temple

Why?
Finalists answer why their product is the coolest thing made in the Ozarks.

RexRover,
27 North Inc.
The new expedition truck seamlessly blends adventure and luxury.

Adventure Badges,
All Roads Taken LLC
We’ve created a product that encourages everyone to take a chance on adventure.

Davao, Philippines White Chocolate Bar,
Askinosie Chocolate LLC
It’s unique because we make our own cocoa butter, and you won’t find that in any other place in the U.S. And it tastes great.

Classic Pepper Jelly,
College of the Ozarks
The fact that our students can make a jar of jelly and it helps pay for their four-year education is a huge piece that makes it unique and very special.

Custom cabinets, closets and millwork,
Concepts by Design Inc.
Products seamlessly merge traditional craftsmanship with modern innovation, creating uniquely beautiful, functional spaces.

XR550 Intrusion, Access Control and Fire Alarm Panel,
Digital Monitoring Products Inc.
Protecting our nation’s most secure, vital secrets is pretty cool – especially when it’s all stemming from a family-owned business started right here in the Ozarks just 49 years ago.

Adventure Journal,
Grimbeard Leather
They make people smile.

Outlaw Run Ice Cream,
Hiland Dairy Foods Co. LLC
It’s not just made locally with local dairy farmers’ milk, but also local with a tie-in to Silver Dollar City, which is a staple in our Branson community.

Signal cantilever,
L&W Industries LLC
It presents a high degree of skill and craftmanship from design to manufacturing to inspection – which results in a high-quality, reliable product.

Limousines, executive vans and buses,
Limo Land Inc.
Limos aren’t designed on the car factory floor anymore. At Limo Land, we take a brand new $100,000 car and, believe it or not, cut it in half.

The Automated Captioning Engine Series,
Link Electronics Inc.
We are developing artificial intelligence technologies for the broadcast industry and bridging communication gaps for the Deaf community.

Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey,
Missouri Ridge Distillery LLC
It’s a multinational and international double gold medal-winning single-barrel bourbon.

Materfamilias Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout,
Mother’s Brewing Co. LLC
Materfamilias presents a harmony of flavors and aromas combining the artisty of our brewers, U.S. distilleries and Missouri coopers using local timber.

Billet Aluminum Engine Block,
Point One LLC
It’s the foundation for the fastest-accelerating vehicles on the planet – 11,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragsters that can hit 330 mph in under four seconds.

Jewelweed Bar Soap,
Tunetti Natural Soap
Natural products, especially those we can source locally, should not be more expensive than those manufactured and imported from other countries.

Single-origin coffee,
The Coffee Ethic LLC
Springfieldians are special, and they deserve an elevated coffee experience.

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