Judy Laflin of Quilters Boutique accepts the Economic Development Award, presented by Monica Bailey, Executive Director of ACDC.

President WC Farmer welcomed approximately 90 guests to the Fairfax School and recognized elected officials in attendance. Board Member Roger Martin led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and offered the invocation. Guests enjoyed a great meal catered by Dairy Diner.
Lori Seymour, Secretary, mentioned ACDC’s tradition of recognizing the “Good” in Atchison County, including the recognition of new businesses. Most of these are new to our county, started by people who had an idea or saw a need and made it happen. A few of these represent new owners of previously existing businesses, which are equally important to our economy – without their willingness to take over, we might have lost that business altogether. The following new businesses were thanked for choosing to have a business in the county and were presented 2016 New Business Awards:
• Al’s Lock & Key, owned by Al Etzholtz, is a locksmith located in Rock Port.
• Big T Amusement, owned by Sam & Sarah Shubkagel in Tarkio, rents inflatable bounce houses.
• Double M Towing, owned by Jody & Breanna Vansickle in Rock Port, offers towing, jump starts and tire changes.
• H.R. Service, owned by Herman & Kat Ritchie, is an auto repair shop and safety inspection station in Tarkio.
• K-9 Inn, LLC, owned by Gary & Terri McGuire in Rock Port, loves the dogs that board there like their own.
• Katia’s Pottery Creations, owned by Katia Hawkins and opened in 2015, makes beautiful pottery items in Fairfax.
• Little Red’s Keeper of the Bees, owned by Max Hopkins, opened in 2015, sells honey and related products out of Fairfax.
• Midwest Trophies, owned by Brad Mathers, relocated from Burlington Junction to Main St in Tarkio this year.
• Quilted Farm, owned by Annabeth Wennihan, is a quilting shop located east of Tarkio.
• River Rock Lanes, owned by Kaven & Jennifer Wood, offers bowling 6 days a week and lunch on weekdays.
• Sew It Seams, owned by Kathy Athen and located inside the Flower Mill building in Tarkio, can address all your sewing needs.
• Studio T, a quilting company owned by Theresa Lee and located in Rock Port, offers long arm quilting services.
• The Room Hair Salon, owned by stylist Haley Wright, offers all hair services, pedicures, facials and facial waxing at the 3-way stop in Tarkio.
• Tons of Fun Inflatables, owned by Chris Shimmel in Rock Port, opened in 2015 and rents bounce houses and other inflatable items.
• Two Sisters, owned by Anita Robertson, is a food truck that can be found from 11-1 a couple of days a week in the parking lot near Hippo’s Happy Car Auto Wash in Rock Port.
• US Farm & Land, owned by Realtor Roger Parshall in Tarkio, opened in 2015 and sells property throughout Atchison County and beyond.
Lydia Hurst discussed our county’s heritage of creation and growth and recognized Rock Port Oil, a critical business on Main Street in Rock Port since 1929. It has long serviced cars, provided tire service and sales, and offered a full-service gas island. In recent years, the fuel tanker side of the business has grown to 6 trucks that haul gas and diesel fuel. They have two tank wagons that service local customers, as well as semis with 9,500 gallon tankers that service regional customers within a 300 mile radius of Rock Port. In the past year, Rock Port Oil has added light mechanical work and brake work to the service menu, in conjunction with adding an employee in the shop and a new over the road truck driver.
W. C. Farmer presented this year’s economic development award, and mentioned tourism as a viable economic development practice. Quilters Boutique opened in 2014, quickly expanded enough to need a bigger location, and now hosts close to 1,000 customers each year from multiple states. In addition to holding quilting classes that bring participants from Nebraska and Iowa and hosting an annual quilt show in November, Quilters Boutique receives visits from quilting clubs most every month through the nationwide traveling quilters program called Row By Row Experience. Judy and Tami understand the importance of tourism on the local economy and are purposeful in their conversations with customers, encouraging them to eat or shop at other businesses in the area. Furthermore, the presence of Quilters Boutique in Atchison County has already created a spinoff business in Studio T, the longarm quilting service recognized earlier this evening. We are honored to recognize Quilters Boutique as this year’s Economic Development Award recipient, for their successful efforts to draw people to our wonderful county.
Treasurer Bob Alldredge presented financials and reminded attendees that information about these public funds are available at the ACDC office anytime.
Executive Director Monica Bailey thanked board members and Administrative Assistant Carol Clark for their support of the organization. Bailey highlighted several ACDC projects and initiatives from the past year.
• Youth Professionalism Workshop was held last November and included interview skills, workplace ethics, social media and testimonials from leaders and employers in Atchison County.
• Job Shadowing Day was held in April, with 41 Seniors experiencing careers at 24 different businesses.
• Business Improvement Grant program is wrapping up year 4, with many industry specific projects that are enabling businesses to expand their services. When this year’s projects are complete, a total of $99,349 in county tax dollars will have been invested in 109 different business improvement projects, resulting in nearly $179,000 in purchases from Atchison County vendors, since the beginning of the program.
• ACDC supports local nonprofit efforts via the Community Enrichment Fund and recognized ACME robotics as a group that they will assist this year.
• ACDC promotes major projects in our county by sharing job openings (such as with Rock Creek Wind Project, impacting Atchison County soon!) and opportunities to help (work days at Tarkio College as they work on certification!) via their Facebook page and asked that people follow the page.
• New ACDC website (www.atchisoncounty.org) is a tremendous resource. Guests were encouraged to utilize it and let ACDC know about inaccuracies or other things that need to be added.
Bailey asked guests to do their part to “Change The Conversation” to one that focuses on the GOOD in our county. Bailey then introduced Becky Cleveland, Executive Director of the Brookfield Area Growth Partnership. Becky has been an active member of the Missouri Economic Development Council (MEDC) since 2001 and served as President in 2014. In 2008 she had the distinction of being named the organization’s Professional Economic Developer of the Year for her work promoting rural entrepreneurship. Becky is currently the president of Northwest Missouri Roundtable of Economic Developers, and serves on the board of directors of the Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri and the MO Highway 36 Heritage Alliance. Becky spoke about what works (building on what you have) and what doesn’t (trying to get back to what you were 25 or 50 years ago). She spoke of three major elements toward this end: 1) Connect the dots. Bring together all the players including businesses, health care, schools, local government, economic development around the table. 2) Change the message we give our young people to one that lets them know they are welcome here and they can make a life right here in Atchison County. 3) Embrace the new awesome!
Bailey dismissed the group, encouraging them to focus on the good and use #ACisAwesome whenever possible.