Theresa Williams | Owner, Solaris Art Gallery | 859-536-2385
Theresa Williams founded Solaris Art Gallery 6 years ago. She sells original fine art, including a large collection of equine art. “Art and horses are my biggest passion, but I am also driven by the artists. I am honored to carry their work and want to do whatever it takes to help them share their gift.”
The gallery strives to bring culture, art and music together for an educational experience. Today, you can find a handful of gorgeous pieces by Olaf that were made especially for the Breeders’ Cup, as seen in the photo. Sue Ziegler and Patrick Lynch are also currently being featured in the gallery.
Lynn Wiseman and Jason Otis | Owners, PrintLEX | 859-272-7014 | PrintLEX.com
Jason Otis and Lynn Wiseman, owners of PrintLEX, agree the best part of their job is that they get to work with other business owners every day. “We see our clients as partners in their production needs”, says Jason, “we’re not just providing printed materials for them…we are helping them get the most out of each project.”
PrintLEX provides business cards, brochures, banners and most other printed materials to businesses all over town. They offer high quality materials, extremely fast turn around times, fair pricing and creative design services. The goal is to make their clients’ lives easier. “We like seeing our clients businesses grow, knowing that our services helped them succeed,” says Lynn.
Chris Palutis, RPh & Consuelo Palutis, Pharm. D. | Co-Owners C&C Pharmacy | 859-263-1220 | CandCRX.com
As pharmacists, Chris and Consuelo were hard workers with a dream to own their own pharmacy. “We both advanced very quickly in our careers and wanted to put that blood, sweat and tears into our own thing,” Consuelo explained. The couple put everything on the line to make that dream come true. “With the exception of about 8 friends and our parents, we had no base customers to start with. That, coupled with the fact that we both left our prior jobs, meant that there was no guaranteed income.”
Together, they built a successful business from scratch after Chris’s work brought them to Lexington. “Every prescription, every hello, good-bye and thank you, every smile that comes out of this pharmacy essentially has our name on it. Upholding the standards of great customer care is what motivates us to do our job day in and day out,” Chris explained. After seven years, C&C Pharmacy continues to grow.
For other entrepreneurs, Chris and Consuelo offer this advice: “Don’t demand perfection, demand passion. Have patience for the business and for yourself. It takes time and lots of effort. Hold on to the passion for what you believe in.”
Nicole Pieratt, a Lexington native, has been at the helm of Sallee Horse Vans for almost 10 years. She has over 20 years of experience in the horse industry. All the while, Nicole gained the knowledge to the transport of Kentucky’s most prized possessions with the upmost care.
For over fifty years, Sallee Horse Vans has built a reputation for blue ribbon customer service and satisfaction. They have a fleet of industry leading, up-to-date vans which they build and service themselves. This ensures absolute safety of the horses and peace of mind for customers. “Whether a Triple Crown race winner, or a family steed who taught your children about caring for others, we know that the horses we carry represent hopes and dreams, friendships and fortunes,” Nicole explained.
Sallee’s entire staff is passionate about the equine industry and is well versed in caring for horses throughout transport. “We all understand and care about the industry and, most importantly, the well-being of your horses,” said Nicole.
Sallee Horse Vans is headquartered in Lexington with additional operations in Ocala, Florida and Elmont, New York. This puts them close to the heart of America’s equine industry, in which they have become an important part.
Raleigh “RJ” Bruner | Owner, The Wildcat Group | 859-948-3553 | Wildcat-Group.com
Upon graduating from UK’s MBA program in June of 2010, RJ decided to take the summer off to relax and plan for his future. “About a week after graduation, I helped my sister move,” he said. “That night, I decided that helping people move would be a fantastic summer job.”
RJ started the business with his old Ford Bronco and a motorcycle trailer. Now, Wildcat Moving has sixteen trucks and a moving staff between 40 and 60 employees. Their excellent pay scale ($15-$20 per hour) allows them to recruit and retain clean-cut, respectful and responsible movers that customers can trust. “I love having a great reputation in the community. We have been the top-ranked moving company in KY on Angie’s List for four years running,” he explained. In addition to Wildcat Moving, The Wildcat Group umbrella includes Wildcat Mobile Auto Repair, Wildcat Home Inspection, Wildcat Pressure Washing and Wildcat Furniture Restoration.
RJ says his wife has had a huge impact on his career. “My wife Sylvie has been my best friend and biggest cheerleader for over a decade. We do everything together with our two kids, Juliette and Roman,” he explained. “I am very proud that my children are going to grow up knowing that I honestly run several successful local businesses.”
For Clay, the biggest fear he faced while starting his own company was his age. Just out of college with work experience in the construction industry, Clay realized his passion was kitchen and bathroom design. “At 25 years old, I was a little intimidated, but I was more worried about clients and builders taking me seriously,” he explained. Fortunately, that fear was unfounded. Twelve years later, Kitchen Concepts is a successful design company that aids customers not only with design concepts but also with delivery and installation.
“I enjoy working with homeowners and builders. I love taking a blank space or a house plan and listening to a customer’s needs and wants, making their kitchen and bathrooms work in their given space,” Clay said. “I design every home as a different space which requires a different style and function to meet each customer’s needs.”
To other entrepreneurs, Clay’s advice is to stay committed while building relationships. “Hard work always pays off. Always treat people fairly and do what’s right,” Clay advised. “As my parents always said to me while growing up, ‘always remember where you come from’!”
Dr. Laura Justice | Owner, Justice Dental | 859-303-9539 DoYourSmileJustice.com
Mother Teresa once said that “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” These words resonate deeply with cofounder and president of Justice Dental, Dr. Laura. “The best part of my job is giving someone a smile that they have always wanted.”
Nestled just off Richmond Road, Justice Dental feels more like a spa than a dentist. But beyond the extravagant amenities like plush furniture, modern art canvases and fresh baked cookies, lies cutting-edge dental equipment at the hands of a handpicked dental team. Dr. Justice believes that “You can’t shortcut the shortcut. You ultimately have to master the skills.” As one of the top 25 Cosmetic Dentists in the nation and an Accredited Fellow with the AACD, Dr. Justice has certainly proved her skills time and time again. From routine cleanings to anti-aging face lift dentistry, the doctors and the team at Justice Dental provides a total health approach to every patient in a beautiful, comforting atmosphere.
“The reaction I get from the patient when they see their new smile is priceless! It is literally life-changing for many people.”
Joe Kawaja | Owner, Kentucky Branded | 859-273-0122 |KentuckyBranded.com
Joe loves the state of Kentucky and all the unique things that it has to offer: “How can you not love bourbon, horses and sports? I grew up in the retail industry of our family business, Dawahares, which was started by my great grandfather in Eastern Kentucky over 100 years ago,” he said. Owning a business that celebrated his loves only made sense. Upon his acquisition of Fan Outfitters, of which he was also a partner, Joe decided to take a risk and expand beyond the collegiate aspect of Kentucky, offering products that celebrate Kentucky’s state pride, including home décor, gifts and accessories.
Ralph Stokley is well into his third decade at Stokleys Marine, and has been at the helm for the last twenty years. He is an avid boater and fisherman and takes great pride and enjoyment in helping others discover their own boating passions. For forty-four years Stokleys Marine has provided quality boats and award~winning service for boaters of Central Kentucky and beyond. It is not unusual to see three generations of families purchasing their dream boat from Stokleys. Ralph also takes extreme pride in his staff and their numerous customer service awards over the years.
April & Paul Dutille | Owners, Clothes Mentor | 859-260-1112 | ClothesMentor.com
“I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I ran a babysitting service in grade school and supported myself through college with a fashion auction business,” April said. “I’ve always known self-employment was my passion!”
Once her husband left his military career, April started the local franchise of Plato’s Closet. Over time, she started Lexington’s Clothes Mentor and Once Upon a Child. Her advice to anyone starting a business, partner with the right people. One of April’s best business partnerships is with First State Financial. “The growth of the businesses has been due to the continued financial backing by First State Financial. The national banks don’t look at the individual sitting in front of them,” April explained. “There is no personal banking experience with huge banking institutions. If you desire to start a business, visit your local bank first!”
April is driven to serve her local community. Her businesses raise money for survivors of female cancers and donate clothing to local charities. She also believes in helping women to feel healthy, strong and beautiful. Clothes Mentor offers health and wellness classes on Sunday evenings and personal styling services for customers. April says, “Strong, empowered women make strong, empowered communities!”
Kasi & Josh Sato | Co-Owners, Strong Shop Fitness | 859-219-9473 | StrongShopFitness.com Growing up as athletes, fitness was always a big part of Josh and Kasi Sato’s lives. Opening a gym seemed liked an obvious choice. “As I got older, I turned my passion for fitness into a career” Josh says. The day Strong Shop opened its doors was Josh’s biggest accomplishment. He has not stopped grinding since that day!
“My family, clients and trainers drive me to be successful. I want to set a good example for my kids and employees and make them proud” says Josh. Kasi adds “Josh is very good at what he does. He works hard to cater to each individual and he has a connection with everyone he works with. Some clients have been with him for almost 7 years and I think that says a lot.”
Kasi and Josh know that fitness provides so much more than physical health benefits. Josh explains, “Like life, fitness is all about balance, and we want to help people find that balance. We have a family, a business and a social life. We eat out, go to parties, and work hard in the gym. We’re not here to judge clients for not being perfect because we’re not!”
Photo by Keni Parks
Whit Bussey and Brock Smith | Co-Owners, Oculus Studios | 859-955-0622 | OculusStudios.com
As an advertising firm deeply rooted in the heart of downtown Lexington, Oculus Studios was conceived and built by childhood friends and business partners Whit Bussey and Brock Smith. Both were born and raised right here in the Bluegrass, and that Kentucky pride runs through and through. Every day, they work with companies from all over the country on a variety of different needs and messages they want to promote. Whether it is broadcast TV commercials, graphic design, branding, or digital marketing, Oculus strives to meet the needs of any and all businesses. “We focus on creating work that will reflect your unique values, goals, and commitment to your audience. To us, advertising is more than just pixels or ink, it is an extension of your business,” Smith said.
Their specialties in brand identity, commercials, radio, print, website design, and animation haven’t gone unnoticed. In the past few years the Studio has won 18 Emmys, 43 Tellys and more than 130 Addy awards.
When asked how they keep coming up with award-winning ads, Bussey said it comes naturally, “We simply figure out what you are, who you are and then shout it from the rooftops.”
Karen Santos, OD | Owner, Hamburg Vision Center | 859.327.3701 | HamburgVisionCenter.com
Karen started her own practice in 2011 and says that many people don’t realize that optometry is about so much more than glasses and contacts. Optometrists detect eye diseases and systemic conditions through routine eye exams. Many people who think their vision is fine learn that their eyes may not be healthy.
“I practice optometry on whole family comprehensive eye care in a relaxing and personal environment. I want every patient to feel like I have addressed their concerns and that they received a thorough examination,” Karen says. Hamburg Vision Center is constantly evolving to keep up with trends and technology to better serve their patients.
Photo by Shaun Ring
Ed Botkin | 859-221-4148
Will Muetterties | 859-221-6382
Co-Owners, Petra Designs | PetraDesignsKy.com
“Petra Designs started two years ago because there’s a need for full service remodeling and design under one umbrella,” Ed explained. He and Will have over 40 years combined experience in the industry and they worked together for years before joining forces. “Together, we offer a unique, intuitive approach to your redecorating and/or remodeling project,” Will said. “I discovered remodeling jobs were lacking artistic completion, and Ed found his design work needed structural support.” Petra Designs offers home design, remodeling and repair, as well as furnishings and window treatments, all to suit a variety of styles and spaces.
Coming from a family that owned their own business, Crinda believes entrepreneurship must run in her blood. “On some days, you scratch your head and say ‘What was I thinking?’ But more often, it’s a rewarding adventure. I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she said. Crinda credits her mother has a big influence on her career path. “She instilled a confidence in me that I could do anything and be anything if I was willing to do the work.”
Crinda and her husband worked together to form ExecuTrain, which offers training and development for business owners and their employees. ExecuTrain helps other entrepreneurs to increase the skill level and productivity of their employees. Crinda and her team believe in a customized learning model. “We work with companies to find the most effective way to provide the training they need,” she explained. “One size does not fit all.”
The ExecuTrain team approaches every opportunity as a long-term relationship, which results in trust-based partnerships. “The entire company has a ‘can-do’ attitude. You won’t hear anyone say ‘We can’t do that’ but rather, ‘How can we make this work for them?’” Crinda explained, “In our 22 years of business, we have rarely said no to an opportunity.”
Ilias grew up in Lamia, a beautiful city in Central Greece. He came to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky. “My passion for cooking and entrepreneurship made it clear that sooner than later, I would open my own restaurant,” he said. He credits his aunt and uncle with inspiring him to venture into the culinary world. “After a decade in established kitchens in Miami, I got the experience and confidence to take the next step.”
“Every new venture has its challenges: mine was the financial burden of getting a brick and mortar location up and running,” Ilias explained. “It takes a lot of effort by a lot of people to have a successful business. My team has being amazing and my commitment to provide for them and their families gives me the motivation on a daily basis to go out there and make it happen.”
The future is looking bright for Ilias and Athenian Grill. They will be a part of the new Summit development, which will mark the eatery’s third Lexington location. “As for the years to come, our relationship with Kroger Corp. looks like its bringing exciting ventures and projects our way and it will spearhead the company’s growth beyond Lexington!”
Dwayne Anderson, j. stuart hurt and Jeremy Rice | Owners, house | 859-523-3933 | HouseByJSD.com
For “The Boys”, a successful business is constantly evolving and changing. “We are always listening to customers and paying attention to trends,” stuart said. They started working together at a company years ago before taking a step of faith and opening house, a small home store on Delaware. Fast forward six years, house now resides on Walton Ave and includes home décor, interior design, wedding florals and Christmas design and décor.
Dwayne shared, “In the opening phase of House, many decisions had to be made quickly. We came up with a simple ‘majority-rules’ policy. If two want to do something, it’s a yes. If two don’t, it’s a no!”
Upon graduating from college, Dwayne moved to Lexington and opened a successful home accessory store. Many of his clients followed him from that moment. His customers appreciate his eye for detail and on-the-spot design concepts.
stuart started his career by watching his father build and remodel their family homes. He paid attention to the detail and careful steps his father took. His mother gave him carte blanche with his childhood rooms, which fueled his creativity.
From a young age, Jeremy was interested in interior design, furniture, flowers and Christmas décor. He loves creating over-the-top floral arrangements and holiday designs that wow his customers.
The Boys said the most rewarding thing about being in business for themselves is the customer base. Stuart explained, “The community, clients and friends are what help sustain our business.” Dwayne added, “We truly like coming to work. Customers have become our friends-work has become play.” A recent great accomplishment was having their work showcased on HGTV’s House Hunters: Tiny Houses.
“While I attended UK and lived on campus, I noticed the lack of affordable shopping for ladies that offered quality brands in a variety of styles and sizes, all in walking distance to the university,” Kathryn explained. Upon graduation, Kathryn decided to try to fill that niche in the Lexington community. At just 22, she launched roseandlime.com as a test run for an affordable Southern boutique. One year after that launch, she opened a brick and mortar location. This spring they will offer customers designer brands such as Lilly Pulitzer, Trina Turk, MacBeth Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, and more at 30-50% below manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing. “Advice I received from successful small business owners I talked to when starting out reassures me that I’m on the right track on the hard days,” she explained.
Donna Potter | Owner, Catering by Donna | 859-269-0978 | DonnaPotterCatering.com
Donna moved to Lexington to study Early Childhood Education at the University of Kentucky. While teaching in the Head Start program, she spent her summers working at The Upstart Crow. She helped the owner with side catering jobs and quickly discovered she loved the work. She founded her business 36 years ago, and is proud to say that several employees have been with her for decades. Having come up through the ranks herself, Donna recognizes the importance of loyalty: “If you don’t take care of your employees, you don’t have anything. In this business, turnover is high, but I have people who have been with me for 25-30 years.”
Mary Anne Simmons | Owner, Principal Broker | The LUXE for the Home | 859-983-4663
Mary Anne came to Lexington in 1968 to attend the University of Kentucky. A pre-pharmacy student, she played basketball and tennis for the LadyKats. She attended pharmacy school, married, worked in a pharmacy and started a family. When her daughter started school, a friend suggested Mary Anne become a realtor®. Today, she is the principal broker for the state of Kentucky with Exp Realty, LLC.
To make her real estate listings more appealing, Mary Anne began staging the homes she was representing. “It is a tremendous marketing tool for my real estate team,” she explained. She opened a boutique with a design center to showcase her staging company while offering beautiful home décor items for sale. The LUXE for the Home offers design services, custom framing, antiques and vintage goods, including consignment pieces.
“My advice for readers or aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs is to first make sure that you have a passion for what you do and what you want to do,” Mary Anne suggested. She follows her mother’s example of working while maintaining a close connection to her faith, family and the people she works with every day. “Loving people and a great desire to serve others is my passion. Col 3:23.”
Allison Brooks | Owner, Design by Brooks | 859-537-8022
“Most people would be surprised to know that I am a high school senior, running my own business,” Allison said. The business-savvy, creative teen spotted a need for monogramming personalized tumblers, ornaments, bags, shirts and hats, as well as custom vinyl stickers and car appliques. “Monograms are the majority of what I do, because it’s very popular at the moment. But I can create just about anything!”
Partnering with local sports teams and clubs, including Scott Count’s volleyball team, has helped boost Design by Brooks. “I have a fundraiser planned in February for Bryan Station’s baseball team, and another in March for Model’s baseball team,” she said. “I love to help out school sports teams in any way possible!” She makes custom vinyl items and monogrammed goods to represent teams. She is happy to discuss booking for fundraisers or tournaments.
“Don’t doubt yourself or your business,” Allison advises others with dreams of entrepreneurship. She is proud to have gone out on a limb to build a business that satisfies her creative talents while helping out local sports teams. Allison thinks everyone should push through for their dreams. “Anything is possible if you try hard enough!”
Astarre Gudino and Andrea Perry | Co-Owners, Icona Magazine | IconaMagazine.com
Icona Magazine was started when Andrea Perry’s vision, Astarre Gudino’s business background and David Laurenvil’s passion merged into one amazing partnership. They are lifelong friends who relocated to Lexington at separate times over six years ago. As outsiders, they discovered something special about this city and they wanted to find a way to expose all of Lexington’s hidden treasures; its people.
Andrea Perry, Astarre Gudino, and David Laurenvil all have full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities that they balance daily. It is never easy, but Gudino says “when you reach your goals, the reward is worth the sacrifice.” When asked what the best part of owning her own business is, Gudino says she enjoys the “freedom to make my work fit my life schedule. I am a mother, law student, employee, and small business owner.”
Laurenvil and Perry both agree having an outlet for their creative expression is their favorite part of owning a business. Perry adds “The freedom to grow as an artist on a daily basis is why I love owning my own business.”
Christina & Kevin Hager | Co-Owners, The Great Room | 859-373-8004 | GreatRoom.com
Christina has been a Realtor in the Lexington area for over 25 years. She and her husband, Kevin, were always buying homes, doing remodels and then selling them within a few years. They were continually on the hunt for good quality furnishings at affordable prices to complete the homes. They found themselves drawn to consignment stores. “To us it made perfect sense to either bring life back to a piece of furniture or find that diamond in the rough,” she explained. She was inspired by her father’s business sense and advice and says, “We decided to turn our hobby into our business!”
Nick Pfister | President, Promotional Assets | 859-303-4544 | promoassets.com
“Growing up in an entrepreneurial family has had my vision in one direction for 27 years,” Nick explained. He began his business with a small loan in an empty garage space. After four years in business, Promotional Assets has grown to offer creative branding products and apparel, including embroidery and screen-printing, for many Central Kentucky businesses and events. As a passionate business owner, Nick has kept his eyes on the future. “There are always going to be hard times running a business. Don’t let them get you down,” Nick advises. “Learn from the mistakes and continue on your road to greatness.”
Chris Benezet | Owner, Benezet and Associates | 859-219-0295 | BenezetAndAssociates.com
When Chris was just 7, he would find lawn care jobs and subcontract them out to older kids in the neighborhood. He sold the business at the age of 15 for $10,000. He started a pressure washing business in high school, and then added painting services while attending UK. “While running Precision Painting and Pressure Washing, we noticed a need in the residential and commercial remodeling and renovation sector,” he explained. “That was when Benezet and Associates went into business.”
Benezet and Associates offers general contracting, project management, construction management, procurement and design, engineering and build services for residential, commercial and industrial construction. For Chris, it’s all about staying ahead of the curve. “I am constantly driven to learn about new and innovative products and ways to do our job,” Chris said. “We love pleasing our customers and making an impact in Lexington!”
Chris, who considers himself independent and self-sufficient, won Entrepreneur of the Year from Commerce Lexington in 2011. For other entrepreneurs, Chris suggests taking things one step at a time: “Always remember in both life and business; it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Set a comfortable pace and goals that you might not feel are achievable. Then achieve them!”
“I grew up working in and around construction and have always loved homes. After I started my career as a Realtor, a greater involvement in the building process just became a natural progression,” Rusty explained of his career path. “I have loved getting to know the character that exists in Lexington homes in different areas. I love our city and the changes I have seen in my lifetime are what inspire me now!”
To start his own business, Rusty juggled multiple jobs to help get it off the ground. “Thankfully I had a great mentor and support system which helped me to manage my time. The process of building better systems to grow my business and provide better customer service never stops,” he said of his work helping buyers and sellers. Rusty was also the recipient of the LBAR Good Neighbor award for 2015 for his volunteer work in the community.
Rusty believes that the most important aspect of any work is passion. “When you find what you love to do, it won’t just be your profession, but a door that will open up so many other rewarding aspects of your life,” Rusty said. “Keep working every day for that.”
“Like many photographers, my love affair with photography started after the birth of my first child. My husband gifted me a camera for Christmas and the obsession began as I poured countless hours into learning photography,” Kristin explained. “Soon after, friends and family were asking me to take pictures for them and it snowballed from there.”
Before she started her photography business, Kristin’s career seemed as if it would take a very different path. She had a degree in accounting and experience in the corporate world. This, surprisingly, benefitted her creative endeavor greatly: “As much as I love photography, I also thrive on all things business-related, from social media marketing to bookkeeping.”
In addition to doing family portraits and commercial photography, Kristin, who was born and raised in Lexington, teaches beginner photography classes. “I have such a passion for sharing photography with others and now that part of my business has grown significantly,” Kristin, a mother of three, explained. “Utilizing video and live streaming has been an amazing tool that has empowered me to teach globally!”
For other would-be entrepreneurs, Kristin offers these words of encouragement: “Always keep learning and setting goals for yourself. Be persistent in going after your dreams.”
Ashley Griffin | Owner, A New You Day Spa | 859-806-3668 | ANewYouLex.com
“It’s been a dream of mine for many years to own my own day spa,” said Ashley, who has been an esthetician for 11 years. After building up a loyal clientele, Ashley decided to follow her dream.
Ashley loves what she does because she gets to make people feel good about themselves. She and her team offer facials, waxing, lash extensions, massages, manicures and pedicures. They also plan to offer their space for bridal showers and bachelorette parties.
Ashley can’t wait to see her business grow. “You never have to work a day in your life if you love what you do. And I enjoy going to work every day!”
Danny Collins | Co-Owner, Collins Bowling Centers, Inc. | 859-252-3429 | 859- 277-5746 | CollinsBowling.com
Collins Bowling has been a staple in Lexington for 56 years. Danny Collins started working at the bowling alley when he was just 15 years old. After attending UK and Transylvania University, he became a full time manager. “I wanted to continue the family enterprise that my great-grandfather started back in 1959.” he says.
“The biggest challenge was managing my time and energy at work along with the challenges of raising a family,” says Danny. He credits his wife for being his partner in raising their 3 boys, which is now his biggest accomplishment. Danny attributes his success at work to his parents, sister and brother, who are co-owners of the family business.
Todd and Matt Sackett, Billy White | Co-Owners | Uncle Maddios Pizza | 859-309-0896 | UncleMaddios.com
Coming Soon to 630 E Euclid Ave
Family friends for over 40 years, the Sackett brothers and Billy are thrilled to be working for themselves. In 1998, Matt proposed the idea of getting into franchise ownership. They were familiar with the Jimmy John’s brand, so they bought the Limestone location in 1999. They expanded to own 9 stores in Lexington. “We are proud of the fact that we have created a few hundred jobs in the area over the course of our expansion. We look forward to continuing this with Uncle Maddios Pizza.”
“We have decided that this is the right place and right time to expand our restaurant portfolio,” they explained. “Uncle Maddios is the perfect fit for Lexington!” The Uncle Maddios concept is a relaxed, fast casual pizza joint, located in the heart of Chevy Chase. They will offer salads, sandwiches and New York style pizza with a variety of toppings and styles.
Success in business for the Maddios owners comes down to the people involved. They said, “Find team members that share your enthusiasm and commitment. When you do—and we’ve found many—it’s very cool! It’s exciting seeing that our effort, enthusiasm and energy can positively impact our business and the employees around us.”
Dr. John Mullins | Owner, Marshall Lifestyle Medicine | 859-287-2515 | MarshallLifestyleMedicine.com
“I have always had a calling to help others,” said John Mullins. Upon following his passion to become a doctor, John found himself dissatisfied with the manner in which most conventional medical facilities handled helping patients reach sustained wellness. “I was dissatisfied with the inefficiency of healthcare; the wait until you are sick mentality, the pill for every symptom approach. I spent 2 years developing a model to assist patients in becoming the best version of themselves, by design!”
Marshall Lifestyle Medicine was developed as a platform for new-age healthcare. Utilizing concierge medicine, MLM combines anti-aging and optimal living principles. They also offer advanced aesthetics, facial plastic surgery and skincare. John and his team want the office to be everything a patient might need, all under one roof.
“I believe that success is not an accident, that people do not stumble into greatness or luck into reaching their potential,” John said. “I believe that success comes from seeing past where you are, where you were, and the barriers in your way.” Armed with feisty determination, John aims to open several offices over the next five years. “I have positioned our model for scale and sustainable growth.”
Justin Webb, Emily Handloser, Kevin Wathen | Co-Owners, Big Echo Creative | 859-309-5454 | BigEchoCreative.com
Big Echo Creative is passionate about creating and innovating. “It’s simple: great things happen when people love what they do, and we love what we do. It drives us to do outstanding work for our clients, and help them in any way we can,” Justin said. “As we share our great ideas with our clients, we want to inspire them to keep expanding their creativity and grow their brands with us.”
Big Echo Creative was founded on the principal that clients come first. “Some of these clients, we’ve previously worked with for over 15 years. When they suddenly found themselves needing a new agency, they turned to us, which ultimately led us to take the leap of starting a new business together,” Kevin said.
“Our biggest challenge was that we had to move very quickly to get the business up and running, while simultaneously learning all the bells and whistles that go into the everyday operations of running your own business,” Emily explained of their effort to join their expertise in branding, graphic design, video production, web design, social media, media planning and more.
Hunter Lisle | Owner, Arthur Murray Dance Studio | 859-278-7711 LexingtonArthurMurray.com
Hunter grew up with a love of dancing. “My family has always been supportive of all my creative endeavors, from doing magic at a young age, to dancing, teaching, competing, judging and participating in all aspects of the dance industry,” he explained. Growing up in Lexington – going to Sayre School and then UK – it was always important to come back to KY and give back to the community where it all began. Starting a business was always his dream because he hoped to teach people to enjoy the fun, joy and challenge of dance.
When Hunter opened Arthur Murray Dance Studio 15 years ago, his mission of “changing lives, one step at a time” became a reality. He and his amazing staff now run one of the most successful and largest teaching organizations for Arthur Murray in the nation. The most important thing to Hunter is the fact that anyone can learn to dance.
“We always had the dream of owning a catering business. One day, we just decided that it was now or never,” Ren explained. They started by looking for a commercial kitchen to rent and soon found that purchasing a mobile kitchen was better suited to their business.
J. Render’s BBQ was born! “Once we invested in Big Red, our truck, we haven’t looked back,” Gwyn said. The success of their food truck has led to the creation of their first brick and mortar, J. Render’s Southern Table & Bar, where they will offer a full dining experience this spring at 3191 Beaumont Centre Dr.
While attending UK, Shelia worked for a local fine jeweler. She worked there for ten years, moving from sales into management. When the jewelry store closed, she made the decision to start her own business. She said, “I lived in an apartment and didn’t have any savings. The biggest challenge with most businesses, especially ones owned by a female, is funding. However, with a loan from a client, along with a loan from my brother and sister-in-law, I started the business.” Today, Shelia Bayes Fine Jewelers is the only authorized Rolex dealer in Lexington, as well as several other brands.
Shelia takes her job seriously and she enjoys the trust her clients put in her to help select or create the perfect gift. “I also empower my employees to do the same. My employees treat this business as if it is their own. Without their dedication, none of this would be possible,” Shelia explained. “It takes like minded people that are in the same pursuit of the perfect shopping experience to succeed as long as we have.”
Shelia sees herself growing the exclusive shopping experience, as well as a strong internet business. She wants her clients to have a more enjoyable shopping experience and feel comfortable in her store.
“My work ethic and my love of helping others came from my mother,” she said. Determination best describes Shelia. When asked to give advice for others looking to start a business, she quoted Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right!” She added, “You will face obstacles…will they stop you or make you better? The best is yet to come.”
Conrhod & Leslee Zonio | Owners, Conrhod Zonio Photography | Light Life Love | 859.299.6550 | ConrhodZonio.com | LightLifeLovePhotography.com
“We get to be an integral part of stopping time, capturing history and allowing the amazing people that we work with to leave a legacy behind,” owner Conrhod, a graduate of Asbury and UK, explained. As a photographer, Conrhod loves to connect with people. His biggest fear with getting started was the mindset of nay sayers that photography is a hobby, not a way to make a living. But for Conrhod, the business rose out of his talent and passion for photography, along with encouragement from family and friends. As demand increased for his work, Conrhod and Leslee formed Light Life Love, which is an extension of associate photographers who shoot engagements and weddings, with Leslee as the lead family and lifestyle photographer. “We love it when our clients know how beautiful they are, and they are so comfortable in their own skin around us to let us fully capture who they are,” Leslee said.
While school brought Conrhod to Lexington and marriage brought Leslee, they now love calling Central Kentucky home with their two daughters. They advise other aspiring business owners “Don’t waste your equity on negativity. Tomorrow, you’ll probably be laughing at what you are stressing about today.” Their biggest accomplishment is being a part of something bigger than themselves.
Chef Mark Wombles | Owner of Heirloom Restaurant, Midway, Distilled at Gratz Park, Lexington and Mezzo Italian Café and Provisions, Midway
Being a business owner sprung from Mark’s perfectionist streak. “I like doing things my own way,” he explains. When his father found a building for sale in Midway, he jumped in and founded Heirloom. “At first glance, it didn’t seem large enough to open a restaurant. However, we have made great use of the small space we have.”
Since then, Mark was named Executive Chef at Distilled at Gratz Park and is opening Mezzo Italian Cafe and Provisions in Midway. Mark is a driven person who is committed to succeed for his family. “If I didn’t have such a great team at all three restaurants, this would not be possible,” he admits. “I am not a one-man band! I rely heavily on my great staff, past and present.”
In the future, Mark would love to open at least two more restaurants and he would even enjoy creating a franchise. Eventually, he’d like to make time for his other passion: European automobiles. He’d love to collect and sell rare cars once his children are grown.
For anyone hoping to open their own business, Mark offers encouragement: “Follow things that you are passionate about and never give up!”
Noelle Dick, Dawn Sunley Scott | Noelle Dick, Founder & CEO CycleYOU® Lexington With FIT | 859-455-3384 | CycleYouLexington.com
“We are proudest of being two separate business owners, who put aside ego to embrace what we could do as a team, building an experience that gives our clients the best of both worlds,” Noelle, who left a career in sales and marketing to become an entrepreneur, explained.
“It’s a bonus that we can be role models for a younger generation of women, to show you don’t have to compete with each other for your dream, but rather create the dream you want by helping each other,” Dawn, who has a Master’s in Social Work said. She hoped to start a gym that was comfortable and fun.
Jamey Skaggs and John Powell Owners, Skaggs | Powell, PSC | 859-303-4936 | SkaggsPowell.com
“After ten plus years working for bigger law firms, we decided that we could take what we had learned and put together a law firm on our own terms, where we could help those who need it,” Jamey explained. Together, he and John established a full-service law firm that draws on their small-town Kentucky roots.
“We wanted to help regular people who need help, in much the same way a small-town lawyer helps those in their communities,” John said. To achieve that goal, they offer personalized service, always speaking directly with clients and by maintaining loyal relationships.
Sarah Woodworth | Owner, Monkee’s | 859-253-0427 | MonkeesOfLexington.com
“Owning a clothing boutique is something I’ve dreamt about since high school,” Sarah explained. “As a longtime shopper of other Monkee’s locations, I knew how well respected the name is in the southeast and wanted to be a part of something that has such a deep, successful infrastructure.”
For Sarah, there was a very real fear that Lexington’s market for boutique shopping was over saturated. With the many established shops in the area, Sarah wondered whether anyone would actually shop at her store. “My fears were squelched the day of our grand opening. We had a line waiting to come in,” she said. Now, Sarah appreciates the competition in town. “It forces us all to stay on top of our game and provide the best customer service and products!”
Passion is an essential ingredient in the success Monkee’s has enjoyed. Sarah is passionate about fashion and what she does. “Don’t open a business planning on getting rich,” Sarah cautions. “Open one because you love the products and services you will offer. Monkee’s is unique in that it isn’t just another clothing or shoe store. Our gift and accessory lines set us apart from everyone else!”
Sarah explains that she wouldn’t be where she is today without the love and support from two very important people. “I have a partner in crime—my dear momma, Janet Schwartz Evans, is the one who made my dream a reality! My husband, Michael, has been my biggest cheerleader and counselor throughout this entire journey. He is incredibly business savvy, and also very level headed.”
Photographs by Conrhod Zonio, unless otherwise noted