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Dake Wells Architecture Inc. co-owner Andrew Wells accepts the 2024 W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award on behalf of his firm.
Tawnie Wilson | SBJ
Dake Wells Architecture Inc. co-owner Andrew Wells accepts the 2024 W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award on behalf of his firm.

Dake Wells receives chamber’s Small Business Award

Posted online

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce this afternoon announced Dake Wells Architecture Inc. as the recipient of the 2024 W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award.

Founded in 2004 by Brandon Dake and Andrew Wells, the architecture firm’s honor was presented during a ceremony at Oasis Hotel & Convention Center. The firm previously was a finalist for the annual award in 2015.

The firm’s owners originally set up shop 20 years ago in Dake’s guest bedroom using folding tables with a milk crate and toolbox before moving a few months later to its first office location downtown. The 401 W. Walnut St. space was once occupied by the former Dungeons of Doom haunted house, according to firm officials .

The firm relocated in 2017 to 134 Park Central Square, Ste. 300, at which time it employed 15. Today, Dake Wells has more than doubled its staff to 35, which includes a second office in Kansas City that opened in late 2018.

Despite challenges in the firm’s early years of existence, which included the Great Recession, Wells recently told Springfield Business Journal he and Dake felt confident in their abilities to make the business a success.

“I suppose we felt like that from the very beginning,” he said. “We didn't really have a backup plan, so we knew we had to make it work. Brandon and I have always been big believers in hard work. Just like if we just put our minds to it, we’re going to figure out a way to make this work.”

Some projects under its belt include Aetos Center for the Performing Arts, Jarrett Middle School, Liberty United Methodist Church, Andy’s Frozen Custard, Missouri State University’s Glass Hall renovation and the Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Ozarks Technical Community College.

“Dake Wells Architecture exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that drives our local economy,” chamber President Matt Morrow said in the release. “The commitment to creating not just beautiful spaces, but also spaces that enhance the lives of Springfield residents, is truly commendable.”

Chamber officials estimated approximately 360 attended the annual ceremony.

Dake Wells received the award over finalists, in alphabetical order:
• 417 Magazine, a lifestyle and business publication owned by Logan Aguirre.
• Ireland Architects Inc., an architecture firm led by Stephanie Ireland that started in 2000.
• Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center, an organization in business since 1937 that holds over 100 events annually.
• Volt Credit Union, a financial institution with nearly 7,000 members in the Springfield area.

Last year’s Small Business Award winner was Kare Health & Wellness LLC, a functional medicine business from owner and founder Keri Sutton, according to past reporting. Honorees are selected based on written applications reviewed by an independent panel of judges comprising previous recipients, local business experts and volunteers of the chamber’s Small Business Council.

The council was founded by the late Curtis Strube, a former director at Drury University’s Breech School of Business Administration. The annual Small Business Award is given in his honor.

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