Prairiebrooke Arts Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park, Kansas
“Our use of the Internet has undoubtedly helped us to adapt and evolve.”Brooke Morehead, OwnerPrairiebrooke Arts has been in business for 26 years.link www.pbarts.comIn 1990, when the art sales company where she worked went out of business, Brooke Morehead seized the chance to create her own operation. For the first nine months, she ran the business from her basement with help from her husband, Mike, and a part-time framer. After working from a rented office space for seven years, Brooke wanted a retail presence, and moved the company into a 6,000-square-foot auto dealership that dates back to 1928 in historic downtown Overland Park, outside Kansas City. For the last ten years, their daughter Megan Hoban has also been working for Prairiebrooke Arts to help them grow the business. Today they are a regional leader in original art and conservation-framing services for both residential and corporate clients.
Although framing is a very traditional industry, Prairiebrooke Arts has embraced the web and Google products. They now distribute email marketing campaigns and newsletters, and rely on social media to communicate with current and prospective customers. The business has a strong, new website that they developed in-house, which includes a blog they use to educate and showcase their expertise. Google Analytics helps them keep the site’s content fresh and relevant. YouTube videos introduce visitors to the business as well as to featured artists. Gmail and Google Calendar help the staff to collaborate and keep in touch. Google Maps gives customers a 360-degree panoramic display of the gallery, “from the opening of the front door to the back of the frame shop,” Brooke says.
Brooke’s approach is working. In 2005 the company was awarded the 25 Under 25® Award by Kansas City publication Thinking Bigger Business and in 2014 was named the Kansas Woman-Owned Business of the Year in Retail. They now have eight employees with plans to add others, and in 2010 they launched an e-commerce sister company, Artsy (artsyarts.com), to scale the business, because, “there’s only so far you can go with brick-and-mortar,” says Brooke. With sales up by 20% in 2015 and the future looking bright, she plans to keep learning and using digital solutions. “With the Internet, you can be bigger than you are.”Prairiebrooke Arts has been in business for 26 years.link www.pbarts.com
The Kansas City Steak Company Kansas City, Kansas
The Kansas City Steak Company
Kansas City, Kansas
“The Internet is a go-to place to find anything.”John McKinven, President, Direct to Consumer83 years in businesslink www.kansascitysteaks.comThe Kansas City Steak Company began as a family-owned butcher business in 1932, supplying meat to area restaurants. Now a part of National Beef, a much larger company, they still retain a small-company atmosphere with just 20 employees. They’ve always kept up with the times, however, and today sell not only to fine restaurants, QVC and professional sports teams, but also directly to consumers around America. “We are a purveyor of high-quality, high-end, custom meats that are shipped flash-frozen at the peak of their aging and taste,” says John McKinven, President, Direct to Consumer. “Once the 1990s rolled around and the Internet came into being, we got online.”
The company is a long-time user of AdWords, Google's advertising program. “We've ramped up the use of AdWords progressively over time,” John says. “AdWords is really critical for driving website traffic and creating customers. We’re working very hard to show up at the right place, at the right time, with the right message.” The company uses Google Analytics “day in and day out,” he adds, to track the effectiveness of their digital advertising. “A lot of cherished notions get dashed along the way,” he says. “But if you hold to a standard, and continuously test and challenge, your business will benefit.” The company also created a YouTube channel to strengthen their ties to customers beyond the website and catalog. “People want to know how to cook the perfect steak and YouTube is the perfect medium to distribute our expertise as the steak authority.”
The Kansas City Steak Company today has ambitions stretching far beyond Kansas. “We have plans to go overseas to Europe and elsewhere,” John says. “And we’re probably heading into different channels that complement what we're doing right now—perhaps into the retail world. We'll become a true multi-channel marketer as time goes on.” They already spend about one-third of their advertising budget online. “The linkage between traditional direct marketing and online marketing,” John says, “is so profound that it's a natural marriage.”83 years in businesslink www.kansascitysteaks.com