Monthly Archives: January 2018

Business News, The Kansas City Star, international business news.#International #business #news


Business News | The Kansas City Star

Business

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Kansas City s Harley-Davidson plant makes newest model to hit the market

Assembly of the Harley-Davidson Sport Glide motorcycle began this summer at the company’s assembly plant east of Kansas City International Airport.

International business news

Kale smoothies, avocado toast among the offerings at this new Troost restaurant

New Overland Park restaurant serves Indian barbecue kebabs (and sides)

Updates: Veterans Day free meals, deals discounts in the Kansas City area

It s like darts, but with axes: Ax throwing club hits West Bottoms

Thrillist picks Plaza area steakhouse as one of the 31 best in the nation

International business news

TV News & Reviews

KCTV and KSMO replace general manager with former business manager

Meredith Corp., which owns the two stations, did not say why its own vice president of finance has succeeded Kansas City general manager Mike Cukyne.

International business news

Health Care

Kansas City area medical practice falls into bankruptcy

Kansas City Internal Medicine filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday. Some of its doctors are joining the HCA Midwest Physicians network.

International business news

Government & Politics

How about another election? KC council plans to ask for key vote in April

The City Council set in motion plans for an April election to extend the one-cent sales tax for capital improvements. The city collects about $70 million a year from the tax, first approved by voters in 2007 and which is up for renewal next year.

International business news

Cityscape

Updates: Veterans Day free meals, deals discounts in the Kansas City area

Discounts for veterans and active duty military run through Nov. 13. They include free or discounted meals, free haircuts and discounts on merchandise.

International business news

Government & Politics

Poll showed new KCI had big lead but supporters kept it under wraps

As Election Day loomed, “cautiously optimistic” was the mantra chanted by advocates for a transformed Kansas City International Airport. They expected a win, but said it would be close.

International business news

Government & Politics

With KCI votes counted, when will we see the wrecking ball?

Kansas City voters strongly approved a new terminal at KCI, but don’t expect to see construction at the airport just yet.

International business news

Cityscape

It s like darts, but with axes: Ax throwing club hits West Bottoms

Blade & Timber is now open at 1101 Mulberry St. in the West Bottoms. Players enter a lane to throw an ax at a target, much like in darts.

International business news

Government & Politics

KC voters give overwhelming approval to KCI single terminal

Everywhere in the Kansas City, voters handed City Hall huge support for a new terminal at KCI. It had been a difficult climb from a period of opposition and distrust to the idea, but in the end, Kansas Citians wanted to see the three-terminal design replaced with a modern structure.

National & International

Baltimore losing thousands in parking fines

Baltimore is losing out on collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in parking fines because city officials have not implemented a new law for more than two months.

International business news

Cityscape

Kale smoothies, avocado toast among the offerings at this new Troost restaurant

Ruby Jean’s Juicery plans a Nov. 11 opening at 3000 Troost. A new convenience store gas station plans to open later this year at 5901 Troost.

International business news

Entertainment

George Takei, Richard Dreyfuss respond in harassment scandal

George Takei, Richard Dreyfuss latest celebrities swept up in Hollywood sexual harassment, assault scandal.

International business news

Entertainment

The Latest: Warner Bros. suspends Supergirl showrunner

“Supergrirl’ and “Arrow” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg has been suspended amid sexual harassment, misconduct accusations by 19 former and current employees.

International business news

National & International

Trump calls Putin sincere, ex-US intelligence heads ‘hacks’

President Donald Trump is back on the defensive over Russian election meddling, saying he considers President Vladimir Putin’s denials sincere, dismissing former U.S. intelligence officials as “hacks” and accusing Democrats of trying to sabotage relations.

National & International

Hawaii judge dismisses lawsuit against seed company, board

A judge in Hawaii dismissed a lawsuit that sought an environmental review of the actions by a seed company operating on the island of Kauai.

International business news

National & International

The Latest: Trump back on defensive over Russia meddling

President Donald Trump is back on the defensive over Russian election meddling and accusing Democrats of trying to sabotage U.S.-Russia relations.

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Lawmakers seek review of Eversource’s response to wind storm

Two Connecticut senators want General Assembly to hold public forum on Eversource Energy’s response to October wind storm.

National & International

Report: Inspection found 13 defects on CSX track last year

A federal inspection in June of last year reportedly found 13 defects on CSX track in Bergen County, a route that has become a corridor for shipping crude oil and ethanol to refineries.

National & International

US Senate passes Veteran’s Administration bill by Oklahomans

A bill by Republican Sens. James Lankford and Jim Inhofe intended to address the care of military veterans in Veteran’s Administration hospitals has passed the U.S. Senate.

Technology

The Latest: Outside firm to look into harassment allegations

Minnesota’s House speaker says an outside firm will investigate allegations of sexual harassment by a lawmaker.



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Ding Yuan, vice president of China Europe International Business School, said that as the Davos Forum was held amid a rising tide of de-globalization and trade protectionism, China’s attitude toward globalization and free trade issues has attracte

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Canada’s Richest People 2018: The Top 25 Richest Canadians

Our 19th annual guide to the richest people in Canada—how much they’re worth, how they made their fortunes, and the companies that got them there

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10 huge Canadian fortunes that started with one small business

Every billionaire started somewhere. Here are some of the most inspiring stories of Rich 100–ranked entrepreneurs who started at the bottom

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How Equitable Bank reshaped its culture for a future of mobile-first finance

This traditional trust company had to rethink its processes—and its culture—in order to rethink its business for a younger, all-digital clientele

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10 ways to actually bring fair tax relief to Canada’s middle class

The Trudeau government’s unpopular reforms for small business won t level the playing field in Canada. But these ones will

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For the Running Room, the shift to digital retail is a marathon, not a sprint

John Stanton wanted to make exercise less intimidating. Now, customer-friendly stores are the Running Room’s biggest advantage in a digital world

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Can Chasing Small Customers Lead to Big Profits? The New York Times,

Can Chasing Small Customers Lead to Larger Profits?

By ADRIANA GARDELLA APRIL 27, 2011

Best small business

Darren Robbins and a partner founded Big D Custom Screen Printing in 2007. In its first year, the company, which is based in Austin, Tex., and specializes in printing T-shirts, recorded sales of $325,000 and a small loss.

THE CHALLENGE To become profitable, Big D must determine whether to cater to customers with large printing orders or small.

THE BACKGROUND Mr. Robbins, a former full-time musician who still plays in a band, was nostalgic for the multicolor tour shirts of his youth, which he described as “works of art.” He said he was appalled by the one-color shirts sold at today’s shows. He was also disappointed by the quality of shirts created by some of Austin’s many screen printers and said he could do better.

With that goal, Mr. Robbins and his partner, who worked for Capitol Records, invested a total of $225,000 to open Big D. The division of labor was clear. “I was a natural-born customer-service geek, and he was a natural-born salesman,” said Mr. Robbins, who resolved to take care of the customers his partner brought in. “We wanted to be one of the big boys.”

As his partner traveled the country trying to win accounts, Mr. Robbins ran the shop, frequently declining business from potential customers who requested small orders. Mr. Robbins, 44, who has a background in ad agency account management, said that turning away business kept him up nights. He wanted every call to end with a sale.

By the end of its first year, Big D had grabbed a few big accounts — local video game and record companies that placed orders for 5,000 to 15,000 shirts. But when the shop was not cranking out large orders, it sat idle. Mr. Robbins said his partner feared that small orders would prevent Big D from handling bigger jobs should they come in. But given his ad agency experience, Mr. Robbins said he was used to demanding clients and short deadlines. “With effective scheduling, you can pretty much accommodate any customer,” he said. Following the lead of his competitors, he charged more per shirt for the smaller orders he did take.

THE OPTIONS At first, Mr. Robbins and his partner agreed on strategy. With their industry contacts, they said they believed they could land accounts from major bands. Focusing on high-volume orders made sense to them in part because Big D’s suppliers offered a price break on large quantity T-shirt orders.

But the partners did not realize that most bands were locked in to long-term contracts for their tour shirts. Given that, Mr. Robbins started to wonder about the strategy of chasing down high-volume clients, particularly when he had so many smaller prospects knocking on his door. But, he said, his partner saw no point in accepting orders for one or two shirts. His partner continued to believe big orders were crucial to profitability and that he could best win those accounts by conducting in-office presentations for corporate prospects across the country.

THE DECISION After a year in business, Mr. Robbins threw an anniversary party in April 2008 to thank his employees for their dedication. His partner, however, opposed the modest celebration because its cost meant the difference between breaking even and showing a loss on Big D’s first-year sales. This disagreement highlighted the increasing tension between the partners’ growth philosophies.

Determined to accept smaller orders, Mr. Robbins bought out his partner around the time of the party. The split was amicable, Mr. Robbins said, with his former partner breaking even on the sale and returning to the music business. And then the economy crashed. “Almost overnight, companies tightened their belts,” Mr. Robbins said.

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At that point, he decided that no order was too small. He would find a way to take all business, even an order for a single T-shirt. He knew there would not be a lot of competition from the other local screen printers for the small orders. “I noticed they weren’t in a huge hurry to fit them in,” he said.

Big D began catering to those with small needs, including a Houston comedian who wanted 20 shirts. Once he made a decision to take all orders, Mr. Robbins reassessed his costs and determined that he could make a profit on the smaller orders, even without charging the significant markup that many of his competitors charged — a markup that effectively discouraged customers from placing small orders. Instead, Mr. Robbins lowered prices on smaller orders, bringing them more in line with the per-shirt price for large orders. Big D charges $5 per shirt for 40 to 499 white T-shirts printed with one color, while the charge for an order of 1,000 or more shirts is $3.50 per shirt. He was able to take this step and still make a profit because, regardless of order size, Big D’s costs to print the shirts were not that high. Because of the quantity discount, the company would still make a greater profit on its large orders, but Mr. Robbins said he decided to “be as fair as possible” on the smaller orders. His prices for one shirt, a “micro-run,” begin at $25.

He also eliminated set-up charges, a common fee charged by printers, and put his prices on Big D’s Web site, mostly so he did not have to memorize them. “Many of our competitors make you come to them for a price quote, adding a day to the process,” Mr. Robbins said. He hoped that Big D’s transparent pricing would become another way for the company to differentiate itself.

“The competition — and my partner — thought I was nuts,” he said. But Mr. Robbins said he understood his costs and could become profitable “without gouging people.”

WHAT OTHERS SAY Carol Adams, owner of TorlyKid, (a children’s clothing store: “If a business focuses solely on fewer large accounts, and one of those disappears, the consequences can be devastating. We try to expose as many people as possible to our business, and that exposure can only come by nurturing the smaller clients as well as the large ones.”

John Olson, chief executive, Graystone Industries, a pond and fountain supply business: “The partners should have targeted midsize accounts, handling larger orders when they arose and smaller ones to fill gaps. Mr. Robbins limited himself to a niche within a niche with little upside potential. He can run profitably and perhaps make a nice living, but the company won’t be efficient.”

Michael Araten, president, K’NEX Brands, a toymaker: “Like Mr. Robbins, Wal-Mart, Zappos and Amazon.com focused on small customers and transparent pricing, while making it easy for them to get customized products. Small orders pay for the day-to-day. Large orders are incremental profit that leverage Mr. Robbins’s expertise. I’m certain he can have it all.”

THE RESULTS To offer your thoughts on Mr. Robbins’s decision, go to the You’re the Boss blog at nytimes.com/boss. Next week, on the blog and in this space, we will tell you how things are working out for Big D.

A version of this article appears in print on April 28, 2011, on Page B5 of the New York edition with the headline: Can Chasing Small Customers Lead to Larger Profits?. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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