Ashley Raetz with her daughters, Riley and Oaklee, and her husband

‘Well, S***’ Sign-Maker Revitalizes Cole Camp’s Small Business Scene

What started as a side hustle to pay for daycare has turned into a profitable sign-making, home decor and apparel business for Ashley Raetz. The central Missouri entrepreneur started RiOak Design – named after her two daughters, Riley and Oaklee – 12 years ago at her kitchen table and has...

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Shirley Washington's Sway-Oh product

SCORE Turns Entrepreneur’s Late-Night Eureka Moment into Thriving Skewer Business

Shirley Washington’s middle-of-the-night inspiration – mixed with a splash of assistance from SCORE St. Louis – has led to a recipe for success for her skewer-serving business. Shirley Washington of Sway-Oh The St. Louis-based entrepreneur launched Sway-Oh and its debut product line – Skewer Food Server – in 2019 after...

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onya McCrea of East Hills Cleaners

St. Joseph Entrepreneur Innovates to Grow Her Dry-Cleaning Business in a Struggling Industry

There are nearly half as many dry cleaning locations now than there were at the turn of the century, but Tonya McCrea found a way to reach new heights with her business East Hills Cleaners, which offers dry cleaning and laundry; she’s even expanded to two locations. “I have a...

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Susan and Brittni Blaser, founders of Casa Di Vite in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.

Vacant Old Building Inspires New Entrepreneurs’ 3 Dream Businesses

When Susan Blaser, 61, noticed a 4,800-square-foot historic stone building for sale in downtown Excelsior Springs, Missouri, she immediately saw potential for a business … well to be accurate, three businesses. Although the space had been vacant for over 30 years, Susan thought the former funeral home would be perfect...

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Rebecca Brown of Assist America Home Care Services

Frustration with the Status Quo Sparks MO Entrepreneur’s Health Care Business

Disillusionment can be a great fertilizer, helping new ideas grow. Just ask Rebecca Brown. Her West Plains, Missouri, small business, Assist America Home Care Services, grew out of frustration and a desire to do the right thing — and to do it better. Learn how this entrepreneur used industry knowledge...

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Dr. Natalie King, founder of Florae Beauty

Born in a Kitchen, St. Louis’ Florae Goes Beyond Textured Hair Products

One of the first things you notice about Dr. Natalie King is her long, voluminous, curly brown hair. “It’s something that’s always been at the background of everything that I do,” Natalie says. “Coming into the corporate world – into spaces where you have to lead with a ‘good’ image –...

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Chrystal L. Graves of Liquid Hair Institute

How a Missouri Hair Stylist Went from Salon Owner to Tech Founder

Successfully starting, growing and transforming a business is a journey filled with hurdles, triumphs and lessons learned—especially when it comes to leveraging your brick-and-mortar experience to create a tech startup. Chrystal L. Graves has plenty of experience chasing and achieving her entrepreneurial dreams, from building a roster of clients as an...

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DeYonna Reed of Revive Janitorial

Being Laid off Fuels Entrepreneurial Success for Missouri Couple’s Young Commercial Cleaning Business

After being laid off from their jobs in 2017, DaYonne and Jamaal Reed decided to go all in on entrepreneurship. The married couple are the founders of Revive Janitorial in St Louis, a commercial cleaning company with 40 employees and 16 clients. DaYonne, who previously worked as a...

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Melodi Wisswell of Platinum Paws in Columbia, Missouri

How A Resource You Should Use Turned an Entrepreneur’s Love for Animals into a Dog-Grooming Salon

Melodi Wisswell’s career path seems obvious in retrospect. She’s always loved animals. She has a business degree. And she wanted to live near her family. Now, she’s opened Platinum Paws, a high-end dog-grooming spa in Columbia, Missouri. Here’s how all the pieces came together with the help of the...

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A chicken at a farm

What Is Value-Added Agriculture, and How Can It Make a Huge Difference in Your Business?

What if there were a way for farmers and agriculture producers to enhance their profitability and diversify their product offerings. You’re in luck … there is! In recent years, value-added agriculture, as it’s called, allows those tied to ag to add value to their agricultural products, tap into new markets,...

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