business

National startup activity has been dragging the last few years, but that is starting to change. We’ll learn how the country may finally be breaking free of the effects of the Great Recession. 

Guest:

Augie Grasis
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Augie Grasis doesn’t shy away from the label “serial entrepreneur.”

“I guess it’s true from the standpoint that I’ve had a number of startups,” says Grasis, the founder of multiple technology companies in Kansas City. “It’s really what interests me the most and what turns me on the most about life and about commerce. It’s innovating and improving the way things are done.”

Grasis is best known for starting up Handmark, which made content apps for the Palm operating system before expanding to other platforms and being acquired by Sprint in 2013.

At one point, the Lawrence Journal-World was known for its innovative cable and web ventures, long before other newspapers. But after 125 years, the Simons family is selling the paper to a company that's based in West Virginia.

We explore the impact that this particular family business has had in Lawrence ... as well as what it means for coverage of local and state issues.

Guest:

Most of us get that the U.S. government failed to fix the banking system after the Great Recession. The irony is that the world of high finance and wealth creation is still ruling the country, while the financial system is as vulnerable as ever.

Guest:

  • Rana Foroohar is an assistant managing editor at TIME and the magazine's economics columnist. She is the author of Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business.

In this encore presentation of Central Standard: We look at Kansas City's buzzwords with the people who best understand the true meaning of our favorite catch-phrases. 

In this installment, we ask what it really means to be an entrepreneur, how you pronounce the word, and how to correctly use it in a sentence. It's an important step for us to take, as a city, if we want to be known for our entr... entrep... entrepreneurial spirit.

Guest:

The majority of Kansas City area companies aren't marketing to other countries.  On this edition of Up to Date, we learn how a new strategy is attempting to aid local enterprises in becoming global ones.

Guests:

Coy Dugger / KCUR 89.3

Stepping through the doors of the Harry J. Epstein Co. hardware and surplus shop in downtown Kansas City, Missouri is like stepping through time.

At first glance, Epstein’s looks like an old-fashioned, everyday hardware store. The shelves are lined with packages of bolts, and bins are stocked with piles of steel hand tools. 

But not all of the items are what you would find in an everyday tool shed. Some of Epstein’s more unusual products would make even the most proficient garage guru green with envy.

Coy Dugger / KCUR

Hardware store memories are about more than that tell-tale hardware store smell. How the story of industry in Kansas City mirrors the story of hardware stores, and what communities lose as those mom n' pop neighborhood shops fall away. Plus, how one of the oldest hardware stores in town has reinvented itself to survive. Hint: it involves a flying dolphin.

Guests:

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri legislators are considering a bill that would allow organizations and individuals to deny service to same-sex couples based on  religious beliefs, and that has left some commerce groups in Kansas City worried about the possible economic impact.

Centers For Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) moves high school juniors and seniors from the classroom to professional environments to learn. Hear how the program works and what it offers students.

Dan Hesse on Up To Date
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Dan Hesse retired after seven years as CEO of Sprint in August 2014, he vowed to take at least a year "completely off."

The year has come and gone — and Hesse is busy again ... but it's a different kind of busy.

"I'd been accused by many people of being a serial workaholic," Hesse says. "I tried to have a balanced life, but I really focused on being the best leader and mentor I could be. I wanted to take some time to be the best father, husband, son and friend that I could be."

New business creation in the United States is half of what it was in the 80s. There is reason for optimism, though, as a wave of millennials enters the peak age for business creation. The question is: Will public policy support or interfere with this new wave of entrepreneurship?

Guest:

  • Dane Stangler is the vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation.

In sports, everyone is equal: Train hard and the strongest will win. But are sports really played on an equal playing field? A local thinker says they aren't — and you can see it from Pop Warner to the Super Bowl.

We explore the intersection of race, sports and business.

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As the time comes for old suburban developments to reinvent themselves, one community after another has questioned the conventional wisdom that big box stores are desirable anchors for retail. Is Kansas City part of a trend?

Guests:

courtesy: Burns & McDonnell

Greg Graves announced plans last week to retire at the end of 2016 as president and CEO of Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City-based engineering firm. It was a role he'd served for 12 years.

And, on Monday, Graves had a follow-up announcement for the employee-owners: Ray Kowalik will succeed him as CEO. 

Danny O'Neill
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Danny O’Neill has come a long way from his basement—where he first began filling orders for freshly roasted coffee in the early 1990s.

“The walls were covered with corrugated tin, because I have this old house—built in 1920 or ’22, limestone foundation—so to pass agricultural regulations, everything had to be cleanable, washable,” O’Neill says.

The day after Thanksgiving remains the biggest shopping day of the year, but some researchers say that Black Friday is losing steam, as online shopping becomes the norm.

Guests:

  • Jessica Lee and Noelle Nelson are professors in Marketing and Consumer Mentality at the University of Kansas School of Business.

Co-working is a new and growing trend nationwide, and Kansas City is home to eleven co-work studios. Does this model reflect the future of work?

Guest:

  • Gerald Smith, founder and CEO, Plexpod
Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Few will argue against the notion that the Royals' recent run to a World Series title has been a good thing for Kansas City. The New York Times is lauding the metro's "resurgence" and newfound "swagger." Deadspin is fawning over the record-breaking turnout at Tuesday's victory parade. 

'Cattle, Cowboys & Culture: Kansas City To Amarillo'

Oct 23, 2015

The bond between Kansas City and Amarillo, Texas may be stronger than you think.  A train that ran between the two cities led to the shaping of cultures, and a lasting connection.  

Guest:

Michael Grauer is a Kansas City native and Curator of Art and Western heritage at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

The word "failure" generally has negative connotations but in the startup world, failure is considered a good thing. We talk about how it got its positive spin and how Kansas City could do a better job embracing it. 

Guests:

The national death industry has seen a shift toward green options when it comes to laying a loved one to rest. And this is the first year that the number of cremations has surpassed the number of burials nationwide. Is Kansas City adopting new trends? And if not, why not?

Guests:

Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

The notion of handguns and hookers so often linked to Independence Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. is fading. Replacing it is a lively, friendly neighborhood where a diverse population of residents and business owners are changing things altogether.

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City boasts being one of the best cities to launch a startup. But the city that hopes to be America’s “most entrepreneurial city,” is still missing one key ingredient — seed capital to get young businesses of the ground.

KCSourceLink, which is a network of organizations that support the creation of small businesses, released a study last week detailing the city’s shortcomings when it comes to funds available for entrepreneurs.

Former Dean Of UMKC Bloch School Dies

May 13, 2015

The former dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s business school died Tuesday.

Teng-Kee Tan was named dean of the Bloch School of Management in 2009. Tan, who was in his 60s, died “peacefully,” surrounded by family in Seattle, the Kansas City Star reports, citing an email from the current dean, David Donnelly. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

Richard Eiker, 45, earns $11.05 an hour at McDonald's, a job he's held for 25 years. He has no sick pay, no medical benefits or retirement, and even though he makes more than minimum wage, he struggles to pay his bills and take care of his needs.

He’s part of a movement in Kansas City and nationwide to demand a $15 per hour minimum wage.

He says that after 25 years of working every position at McDonalds, he is afraid to leave in search of better pay.

In a new series called Buzz Kill, Central Standard is looking at Kansas City's buzzwords with the people who best understand the true meaning of our favorite catch-phrases. 

In this installment, we ask what it really means to be an entrepreneur, how you pronounce the word, and how to correctly use it in a sentence. It's an important step for us to take, as a city, if we want to be known for our entr... entrep... entrepreneurial spirit.

Guest:

Paul Andrews

Peregrine Honig and Danielle Meister, the co-owners of Birdie's Panties in Kansas City, Mo., plan to open a second store catering specifically to transgender shoppers in 2015.

The store, to be called All Is Fair, will open in the Bauer Building on West 18th Street in the Crossroads Arts District.

Honig announced the plans on KCUR's Central Standard during a conversation about her work and her art.

If you thought Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the only big holiday shopping events, think again.

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 as a marketing campaign for American Express. Last year, small businesses across the country raked in $5.7 billion in sales on that one day. And that number is expected to grow this year.

Dan Murray is the National Federation of Independent Business’s Kansas branch director. He admits he was skeptical at first, but quickly realized how the dedicated day can help visibility for such businesses.

Technology is all around us, and it's extending into the fabric of our cities as well. Kansas City, Mo., currently has a letter of intent with Cisco to explore the feasibility of implementing a "smart city" framework. Some are calling Kansas City a potential "laboratory" for the smart city concept. What does that mean, and how can we expect it play out in the day-to-day lives of Kansas Citians? 

Guests:

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