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Nine candidates vie for Business of the Year

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by Clarissa A. French

SBJ Staff

There's some stiff competition for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce's W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Year Award this year, with nine nominees in the running.

Following are brief profiles of this year's nominees, taken from the companies' award applications. For more in-depth information on this year's candidates, look for SBJ's profiles of individual companies in this week's news section, as well as in the issues of May 4, May 11 and May 25.

Bass Litho Color Inc.

Richard L. Bass is the top executive at Bass Litho Color, which offers image scanning, litho film imaging, digital image manipulation and digital offset printing.

Established in 1984 and located at 3015 E. Cairo, Bass Litho currently employs a staff of 15.

Under the category of innovative services, "Computer technology has made almost everything faster," Bass Litho stated in its application. "The demand in printing is for faster and faster turnaround time. Our challenge has been twofold: 1. to give the customers quick service; 2. to increase our business during a period when portions of that business are disappearing due to technology changes."

At the beginning of 1998, Bass began offering "on demand" four-color offset printing via "a sizable investment in a state-of-the-art, digital-image Heidelberg offset press. This press eliminates two steps in the printing process, which allows us to offer high-quality, four-color printing in a fraction of the time normally required," the application stated.

"Fast turnaround, short-run, high-quality, four-color printing is an industry trend," the application said. "This printing service has opened new doors that were previously closed to us. Business has increased throughout the shop because of our move to digital printing."

Butler, Rosenbury & Partners.

Headed by founding partner Geoff Butler, Butler, Rosenbury & Partners offers architectural, structural engineering, interior design and planning and development services.

Established in 1978 and located at 300 S. Jefferson in Springfield, Butler Rosenbury reported rapid growth in staff, volume and client base in 1996 and 1997, after a period of "lean and controlled overhead and growing staff efficiency" 1993-1995.

With a staff of 40, Butler Rosenbury's innovative services cover all aspects of construction, from structural and interior design to construction management and consultant selection.

Client satisfaction is paramount, which means listening to the client's needs, defining problems, identifying solutions, balancing costs with such issues as durability and aesthetics, and utilizing computer technology to its fullest, according to the application.

"We were pioneers in computer assisted design and quickly integrated it into our service plan. Our computers are networked with CAD, word processing, data-base, financial and desktop publishing capabilities a valuable link in our team's ability to access information regarding all phases of a client's project," the application stated.

LCS Kleen-Aire Inc.

President Michael McGauley is at the helm of this Springfield company, which offers HVAC system cleaning, allergy-relief products, complete chimney maintenance and repairs, air cleaning and filtration products.

Established in 1978 and located at 3210 S. Scenic Ave. in Springfield, LCS Kleen-Aire currently employs a staff of eight.

Regarding LCS' innovative services, "Our people are our innovative 'mark,'" the application said. "We call the customer when we say we will; we do what we say we'll do; we respect our client's time as being just as valuable, if not more so, than our own and act accordingly; we treat our clients' homes and businesses as their castles.

"Our employees project the image of LCS Kleen-Aire, and that image is excellence in all dealings with clients and each other," the application said.

"LCS Kleen-Aire has grown from a chimney-cleaning-only company to a company that provides a full line of chimney-related products and services, air-duct cleaning services, allergy-relief products and air-cleaning and filtration products," the application stated.

Marketing Partners Inc./Embroidery House.

Led by President Mark Andrew Shea, Marketing Partners/Embroidery House is a marketing services company offering creative design, promotional product development, warehousing and fulfillment, direct mail and business group travel, according to the application.

Established in 1995, Marketing Partners launched Embroidery House in 1997. Embroidery House provides Marketing Partners with all its embroidery needs, as well as marketing embroidery direct. Embroidery House operates as a separate entity under the Marketing Partners banner. MPI employs a staff of seven.

Under innovative products and services, Marketing Partners states, "A commitment has been made to servicing strictly advertising agencies and consumer product companies. The client base is narrow and demanding. Programs are always time-sensitive and precise.

"This niche, coupled with our team spirit, has caught the attention of national accounts such as Tyson Foods, Jimmy Dean Foods, Reckitt & Colman, Stihl, DDB Needham Advertising, Noble & Associates and Mercury Marine, to name a few. Over the years, they have come to rely on their marketing partner for program execution," the application stated.

Mostly Memories Inc.

Under the leadership of Tricia A. Derges, Mostly Memories produces bath and body products, candles, cards and sachets for the gift market, including the custom market.

Started in 1993, Mostly Memories is located at 1420 W. Skyline in Ozark and employs a staff of 30, plus sheltered workshop and homebound workers.

In terms of innovative products and services, "The entire concept and growth of Mostly Memories is built around innovative ideas and in fact began that way." Derges observed the success of two products at her retail store a greeting card and a scented packet and had the idea of combining the two, according to the application.

She learned to do her own graphics and design, and began branching out, first with bath and body products. Mostly Memories now offers three full lines of bath and body products, one with an angel theme, one with a Victorian theme and one featuring Precious Moments.

The next line was candles, with Derges creating graphic designs and adding messages to create "greeting candles," the application said.

The company has now expanded into the custom market, allowing customers large or small to have "their own look and line of candles, cards or bath and body products.

"Mostly Memories usually presents 12 new products each year, which allows for continued growth," the application stated.

Ollis & Company.

Ronald A. Ollis holds the reins at this 103-year-old Springfield insurance agency, which offers personal, commercial/industrial, health and life insurance products.

Located at 2274 E. Sunshine, Ollis & Company was founded in 1885. The agency employs a staff of 33 people.

Under innovative products and services, Ollis & Company stated, "In the early '80s, Ollis & Company developed strong relationships with a number of excess and surplus lines brokers who have availability of the Lloyds of London market, as well as some of the finest excess markets in the United States, offering to our atypical customers alternatives within the insurance offerings."

The company sponsors a number of free seminars annually, for example, programs on the 1986 Tax Reform Act, the Workers Compensation Safety Program, an Employee Dishonesty Seminar, COBRA: What You Need To Know, and Employment Practices Liability, according to the application.

The company provides education and information via its web site, and Richard Ollis, representing the family-owned and -operated company's fourth generation, promotes education through the "Insurance Talk" radio talk show, discussing topics ranging from workers' compensation and proposed state legislation to public and home safety issues.

Ozark Mailing Service Inc.

Led by President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas R. Barr, Ozark Mailing Service offers mailing services, including first-class postage savings and bulk-mailing services, to the community.

Located at 1938 E. Phelps St. in Springfield, Ozark Mailing has been serving the Springfield area since 1982. The company currently employs 30 people. Under the category of innovative products or services offered, Ozark Mailing stated, "Our first-class presort service is the only service of its kind that offers organizations an opportunity to save on their postage costs and not incur any additional labor or service fees." Clients can earn a discount of up to 2 1/2 cents on each piece of mail, or about 8 percent of their postage costs.

Also "our address standardization service can provide substantial postage saving for clients who provide us with their mailing lists on diskette. Our computer software not only standardizes the addresses but adds the ZIP+4 to the ZIP code and sorts the mailing list so that it can achieve the greatest postage discounts possible."

Perkin-Watts Advertising & Marketing Inc.

Under the leadership of veteran ad-man William N. "Bill" Perkin, Perkin-Watts offers advertising and marketing services in print and broadcast media.

Located at 1200 E. Woodhurst, Building N, the company was first established in 1988 as Perkin Marketing Services. The company purchased the assets of Watts Advertising in 1996 to become Perkin-Watts. The firm currently employs 11.

Under the category of innovative products and services, Perkin-Watts stated, "As an advertising agency, our product is time and talent." The company provides "a blend of marketing and advertising" to a specific clientele in the food, food additives and banking industries. This makes for "an interesting combination of client base, but with similar needs in reaching their customers."

The firm is able "to provide a high-end design product, as well as the strictly functional product, to see what an end-user wants to see when he looks at a product or service of our client," the application states. "The agency helps a client determine who its client is, what kind of service they want through focus groups and summary of response, then creates marketing plans that reflect those responses in tandem with the services the client is already offering or plans to offer."


Each of companies nominated for Small Business

of the Year has found a unique niche in the

local market.


The companies range in age from 3 years old to 103 years old.[[In-content Ad]]


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