Becky started Chenault Vineyards as a place for family and friends to gather, with a home-like feel. With reception spaces, and barn, welcome center and cottage that sleeps eight, the 500-acre property provides a warm Southern hospitality feel that invites guests to sit and visit a while. They have plans on adding stages for live entertainment.
As a mother, grandmother, wife and co-owner of Hangers Steakhouse, Becky is a busy lady. “One employee nicknamed me Bam-Bam because I come in with a bang and bam, I am done!” For other potential entrepreneurs, she advises, “Pray, listen and follow your heart.” Photo by Keni Parks
Simply Beautiful Boutique
Michele originally lived in the San Francisco Bay area, where she owned a body wrap salon. When she moved to Lexington to be closer to family, she says she felt the pull to help women look great and feel empowered. “I found that if a woman feels beautiful, then she can bless others and give so much more of herself,” she explained. “That is most satisfying feeling and what gives meaning to everything I do,” she said.
Michele admits that starting a new business in a new state was daunting task. However, her business grew quickly. “keep your dreams in constant vision and love what you do and especially love who you serve,” she advises other entrepreneurs.
Seth Boyd and Billy Oakley
Locals Craft Food & Drink
701 National Ave. | Lexington
859.523.3249 | LocalsLex.com
Seth and Billy had been discussed opening a restaurant for years. “We both felt like we had the knowledge and drive to go out on our own and succeed in the business,” Billy explained.
The friends looked for a unique space to rent and customize. The Walkers offered them the opportunity to be a focal point of the new Warehouse Block district, and they jumped at the chance. A year later, Locals is a staple of the local food scene, offering a fully stocked bar and original recipes using many locally sourced products.
“In five years, we hope to be not only one of the top spots in the city and state, but hopefully also have a few more locations,” Seth said.
Angie and Jay Ballard
Hair Nation Salon and Spa
52 W. Tiverton Way Ste. 130 | Lexington
859.252.HAIR | HairNationSalonandSpa.com
Angie and Jay both moved to Lexington after high school to further their educations. When they met six years ago, they discovered a shared dream. “We wanted to open a business where we could work each day together and build careers for a team of people in an industry that I love,” Angie explained. She is deeply motivated to wow her customers. “We want everyone to have an Ultimate Experience when they walk through our doors,” she said.
The Ballards have dreams of eventually opening additional locations. For now, the two are just proud to say that they work together with a great team every day.
Isobel has always had a strong passion for fashion after learning the ropes from her mothers family, who made a career out of the department store business in Chicago. She never dreamed that one day she would run her own store until a co-worker suggested she take a leap of faith and together they became partners in a Tennessee boutique. This boutique then decided to open a store in Lexington, and thus the Cotton Patch was born.
For Isobel, the most important aspect of running a business is the connection with others. “Without the relationships I have established through Cotton Patch, it would only be 4 walls full of pretty clothes,” she said.
Some say that the entrepreneurial spirit is a gift from our parents, and for Martha thats just the case! Taking after her mother, owner of Cotton Patch for over 30 years, and her great grandparents who owned Carson Pirie Scott, a department store in Chicago, Martha is taking her own crack at the boutique business.
For Martha, the motivation is connecting with others. “I love getting to know visitors of our great city, my fellow Lexingtonians or even someone who jus needs a little retail therapy,” she explained. “Lexington has a thriving shop local initiative and I am very excited to contribute to that.” Pirie will be opening in February 2017.
Josh Sherman and Keller Ross
146 S. Forbes Ste. 160 | Lexington
859.268.0903 | PlotLandscaping.com
Like most kids, Josh began mowing lawns for extra spending money. “My love for the outdoors and need for money in high school initially got me started into lawncare,” he explained. “But after seeing my book of business grow and the immediate gratification landscaping/mowing did for me, I soon decided to make this a career.” He and a friend, Will, put together a business plan, which they put in front of their parents as investors. While his friend has since moved on, Plot continues to grow.
Keller is a partner in the business. “The business is a big part of our lives and we want it reflect positively to our community and the families of the men and women who represent Plot on a daily basis,” he explained. Plot offers full lawncare maintenance for commercial, residential and equestrian clients, including mowing, mulching, trimming, leaf removal, landscape enhancements and snow removal.
Josh says that aside from family and friends, the people who have made the biggest impact on his career have been his competition. “It may be surprising that other landscape owners in town have gone out of their way throughout the years to help teach us about their businesses and the landscape industry,” he explained.
Brets father, Al Melrose, founded Fayette Heating & Air in 1971 with one truck and $500. “His primary goal was to create a heating and air company that offered each customer peace of mind with trustworthy, professional, courteous service,” Bret explained. When Bret bought the company from his dad in 1985, he committed to growing the business with the same principles. “Growing up and watching my dad build his own company from the ground up was such an inspiration and motivation for my own success,” said Bret. Bret also says that his mothers deep compassion and commitment to community inspired him to give back.
Christina and Kevin Hager
The Great Room
287 Southland Dr. | Lexington
859.373.8004 | greatroom.co
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.
The Great Room features pieces from all over the world, inspired by consignment stores they discovered while traveling. “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. “We also decided to make custom tables out of Kentucky barnwood, which has been a blast!”
Jenna always knew that she wanted to own her own business. “I loved the prospect of being in charge of my day to day and having the freedom to explore my creativity,” she explained. She started right out of college exclusively online and at Market 301.
After a year, the space on Woodland became available, and though she wasnt looking to create a storefront just yet, she couldnt pass up on the opportunity in spite of being just 24 years old. “If there is something you are really passionate about and are willing to work hard for, dont let anyone tell you that you cant!”
218 Walton Ave. | Lexington
859.489.5500 | PureAesLex.com
Kate began her aesthetics career at a local medispa. She soon discovered that her real desire was to create her own unique space where she enjoys lending her hand in making people feel better about themselves, and perhaps helping to “diminish any insecurities that might be weighing them down.”
Pure Aesthetique is nestled in a charming home on Walton Avenue and inside, clients can enjoy Intraceuticals oxygen facials, peels, eyelash extensions and lash lifts, brow and lash tinting, microblading and a long list of other specialties.
Inspired by her mother and father, Kate understands the hard work and dedication required to start a business and values the independence Pure Aesthetique has given her.
Heirloom Restaurant | Midway
Distilled at Gratz Park | Lexington
Mezzo Italian Café and Provisions | Midway
Being a business owner sprung from Marks perfectionist streak. “I like doing things my own way,” he explains. When his father found a building for sale in Midway, Mark jumped in and founded Heirloom.
Since then, Mark was named Executive Chef at Distilled at Gratz Park and opened Mezzo Italian Cafe and Provisions in Midway. Mark is a driven person who is committed to succeed for his family. He credits his wife, Kyla, for holding everything together. Together, they are expecting their fourth child. “If I didnt have such a great team at home and 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.”
Marks proudest moment was when Heirloom was named one of the Top 100 Restaurants in the US by Open Table. In the future, Mark would love to open at least two more restaurants and he would even enjoy creating a franchise. Eventually, hed like to make time for his other passion: European automobiles. Hed 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!”
j. stuart hurt, Jeremy Rice and Dwayne Anderson
250 Walton Ave. | Lexington
859.523.3922 | HouseByJSD.com
“The Boys” worked together for a company in Lexington. When their department was shut down, the three lost their jobs… and got inspired. “We loved working together, and enjoyed doing what we did, so we thought we would give it a run on our own,” they explained. They formed a business that they love, and that serves as what many of their customers call their “happy place”.
Their retail storefront offers home accessories, floral arrangements and design services. They also do flowers for special events and weddings. Their vision for the future? Simple: to build an Empire. “Might as well put that out there in the universe,” they laughed.
Dr. Mark Miller, DC
True Health Solutions
811 Corporate Dr. Ste. 302
Lexington | 859.223.2233
“Helping people and giving them their health back gives me the ultimate satisfaction,” Dr. Mark said. As a doctor for 37 years, he has helped countless patients reverse health conditions and lose weight, giving them back their quality of life and confidence. “Most people do not realize that their health diagnoses are not a permanent condition,” he explained.
As a father, grandfather and businessman, Mark values providing customized one-on-one care and attention based on lab findings to help each patient thrive. He says his goal is to continue changing lives in Lexington for many years to come.
Gratz Park Inn
120 W Second St. | Lexington
859.231.1777 | GratzParkInn.com
“I love what I do. Hospitality is a great job – meeting new people every day and working with a superb community,” said Gratz Park Inn manager Zedtta Wellman. A native of Ashland Kentucky, Zedtta loves showing off our beautiful city and giving guests at The Gratz Park Inn a fantastic experience. “Were truly a hidden jewel in horse country. Were nestled in a historic area and surrounded by wonderful homes and businesses. We have served governors, Supreme Court Judges, authors, comedians, basketball stars, senators, sports broadcasters, actors, and a few HGTV designers. Our doors are always open to all guests.”
Zedtta also enjoys lending a hand in the community. One of her favorite fundraisers is Freedom Fest. “Every year they raise money for Woodford Humane Society. We get to decorate a stall in a barn for businesses to purchase and entertain their clients in. Its a great cause, you meet wonderful people and you build lasting relationships.” When shes not working, Zedtta spends time with her family and attends Southland Christian Church. “Family is the most important part of my life. Its a blessing seeing my children become wonderful adults and to watch my grandchildren grow.”
Tom Dupree, Jr.
Dupree Financial Group
237 E. Main St. | Lexington
859.233.0400 | dupreefinancial.com
Tom has over 38 years of experience in the investment and securities industry, and his entrepreneurial spirit is home-grown. He is the third generation of his family in the financial service industry. “I worked in my fathers firm for several years.” That experience, coupled with many years at a large investment firm, gave him the desire to go out on his own. He saw a need for a business that specialized in individually managed, not mass produced, retirement investment accounts.
Tom founded the Dupree Financial Group 13 years ago. It is a locally owned and operated financial advisor group located on Main Street. The firm builds retirement plans that focus on producing income for its clients. “Whether our clients are preparing for retirement or living in it, were here to make sure their investments produce substantial income for them.”
While Tom has many years of experience, he is still amazed at what he learns every day. “I have had a number of mentors, but our clients are some of my best teachers.”
And when hes not in the office, Tom can be heard on the radio, seen walking his dogs, or enjoying local cuisine (and lots of it).
Gwyn and Ren Everly
J. Renders Southern Table & Bar
3193 Beaumont Centre Cir. | Lexington
859.533.9777 | JRendersBBQ.com
“We were ready for a change in our professional careers, and we werent getting any younger,” Gwyn laughed. “Before we could think about it too much, we started J. Renders BBQ.” Their food truck, Big Red, is known all over town and their catering is a local favorite. But when the demand outgrew their capability, Gwyn and Ren knew the leap to a brick and mortar was necessary.
“We feel very passionately about giving our customers the very best food, service and atmosphere in which to dine,” Gwyn said. “We know they have many choices when dining out. We are always honored when they choose to come to J. Renders.”
Join them for Happy Hour Daily from 3-6 pm and Live Music on the weekend.
Jakes Cigar Bar & Lounge
263 E. Brannon Rd. | Nicholasville
859.273.0351 | JakesCigarBar.com
“My personal passion for bourbon and cigars matched a need that Lexington had to create a perfect environment for both of those to be enjoyed,” Jake explained. Jakes Cigar Bar & Lounge has over three hundred different types of cigars and a fully stocked bar, featuring over 150 bourbons. Jakes allows people to not only drink local, but smoke local. He said, “Theres always room for friends!”
Jake wants to thank everyone for their support. “Between the success of Jakes Cigar Bar & Lounge and the cigar catering offsite at events, 2016 was a record year. Thank you!” He said, “Come Cross The Line With Us! Theres always room for friends.” Photo courtesy of Jakes Cigar Bar & Lounge
Alliance Medical & Home Care
3716 Willow Ridge Rd. | Lexington
859.296.9525 | AllianceLexington.com
When Jackie worked for a similar company, she loved the challenges and the feeling of success that the industry provided. “I saw the opportunity to create my own business and ran with it,” she said. “With determination, hard work and a made-up mind, I pursued my dream.”
Alliance provides nurses and other clinical employees to hospitals, clinics, physicians offices, long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities. Alliance is proud to offer home care for clients who need non-clinical care. She sees herself continuing the work for years to come. “Im fortunate to have a wonderful team to work with,” Jackie said. “Their optimistic attitudes and empathy toward those we serve are evident every day.”
Conrhod and Leslee Zonio
Conrhod Zonio Photography
Light Life Love
859.299.6550 | ConrhodZonio.com
As photographers, Conrhod and Leslee love to connect with people. “We get to be an integral part of stopping time, capturing history and allowing the amazing people we work with to leave a legacy behind,” Conrhod, a graduate of Asbury and UK, explained. The business rose out of Conrhods passion for photography. As demand increased for his work, Leslee took on the role of family/lifestyle portrait photographer with Light Life Love. “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. Together, they are dedicated to serving our local community and region.
Longwood Antique Woods
330 Midland Place | Lexington
859.233.2268 | LongwoodAntiqueWoods.com
For George, it was deeply important to be self-employed, forging a career in something he was passionate about. His love of reclaimed material called to him. He began wholesaling milled barn wood to companies from the Northeast for flooring. From there, his business grew. “We offer commitment to customer service foremost, and the manufacturing of repurposed wood, furniture, flooring, wallboard and beams. We work with numerous local design and architecture firms in the repurposing of our antique materials,” George explained. Longwood Antique Woods saves, restores and reuses reclaimed materials from all over Kentucky. These green products add historic value, beauty and interest to homes, barns and businesses across the nation.
As a passionate person who is proud to run a Kentucky-based business, George says he is inspired by John Carloftis and his love of the Bluegrass state. George also credits the impact John Peterman has had on his career as a mentor and confidant.
For others looking to become entrepreneurs, George says making a name for yourself is essential. “Opening a small business in todays world is difficult when competing against the interwebs and larger big box stores,” George said. “You have to find a niche or creative product, and never forget… service, service, service. Huckleberry Beyoump America.”
Ralph Stokley of Stokleys Marine is passionate about customer service. He has spent over 35 years focusing on creating the best customer experience possible for every customer at his dealership. Ralph feels blessed to have a great staff who understands his mission to be the best they can be each and every day. With 2017 as Stokleys 45th year as Central Kentucky oldest boat dealership, they must be doing something right. For the 5th time in 10 years, Stokleys has received Tracker Marines award for the highest customer satisfaction in the nation. This is a tremendous achievement considering 200 other Tracker dealers are striving for that same distinction. Ralph is often asked by other dealers, “Whats your secret?” He says that its not a secret, but rather an everyday determination to pay attention to details and treat customers the way he would want to be treated.
In addition to the prestigious Tracker Marine award, Stokleys has also received the 100% Customer Satisfaction Award in 2016 from Cobalt Boats, and the Yamaha Jetboat High Output CSI award. For 2017, Ralph and his staff have set a new goal: to be the best boat dealership in the country. Its a lofty goal, but that is how a dynasty is made!
Arthur Murray Dance Studio
1801 Alexandria Dr. Ste. 132 | Lexington
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 Kentucky and give back to the community where it all began. When Hunter opened the studio 15 years ago, his mission of “changing lives, one step at a time” became a reality. He and his staff now run one of the most successful and largest teaching organizations for Arthur Murray in the nation. “Anyone can learn to dance,” Hunter said.
867 E. High St. Ste. 250 | Lexington
859.368.7922 | SweatLex.com
Having worked in fitness for 19 years, Allison wanted to create a boutique fitness facility with a comfortable feel, specializing in Barre, Yoga and Cycle classes–with an edge. “As a new business owner, I would like to give the best service I can to the Lexington fitness community,” she said. “My expectations are high and constantly evolving.” While she would eventually like to see Sweat open in other areas, for now, Allisons focus is on creating an incredible overall experience for her guests to the studio.
Allison strives to lead her team to reach their highest potential as trainers and help guide each client to become the best version of their self. Photo by Greer Portrait Studio
Mike and Denisa Cooper
Oak Factory Furniture & Mattress Gallery
859.272.8323 | OakFactoryLexington.com
When the Coopers moved to Lexington, they came with a goal to open an oak furniture store in a “cherry town”. Denisas father and brothers owned furniture stores and loved it. Mike and Denisa knew that Lexington and the furniture business were both the right fit! “Our blood runs blue,” Denisa said. “Thats a biggie after growing up in Knoxville!”
Over their 26 years in business, Oak Factory Outlet has become a staple of the Central Kentucky community. The Coopers believe in doing what you love, as well as staying connected to their staff. “We love our work and we love our employees,” Mike said. “Its like family!”
Their full line furniture store is known for Oak, but they also carry Cherry, Mahogany,Pine, Alder and Painted finishes as well. They recently opened an Amish Gallery within the store, featuring 8 solid wood choices and 27 stain choices, greatly expanding the great products that Oak Factory offers.
Mike and Denisa, who have two children, put their faith at the center of their business. “Jesus Christ gets all the glory for our lives and our career,” Denisa said. “Always be honest and do the right thing, even when its easier not to!”
203 W. Second St. | Lexington
859.230.5365 | LexEffectKY.com
Kaelyn started her event management business in high school, but she never thought it would be much more than a hobby. “Boy was I wrong,” she laughed. “The hobby grew to the point where it had to be my full-time job. It is something I am so passionate about, and it never feels like work.”
As someone who always thinks two or three steps ahead, jumping into small business ownership was worrisome, but rewarding. “I look at all weve accomplished over the last 3-4 years and it blows me away,” she said. “It makes me want to work that much harder.”
Photo Location: Hilary J. Boone Center
Alena Grivetti Watts
Bluegrass Dance Training Center
2187 Lexington Rd. | Richmond
859.625.9393 | BluegrassDanceTrainingCenter.com
As a mother of 3 young girls who were involved in both competitive dance and gymnastics, Alena noticed there was a growing trend in dance to include high level acrobatic skills in choreography. “I couldnt find studios with a successful multi-level acro program with certified instructors.” She welcomed the challenge to rebrand an existing dance studio to fit her vision.
Alena advises aspiring business owners to do extensive research in your field and take an honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. She plans to continue partnering with area schools and community organizations to provide free dance instruction to students who wouldnt normally be exposed to arts education. “I am proud to give a positive experience to everyone who walks through our doors.”
Raleigh “RJ” Bruner
The Wildcat Group
859.948.3553 | Wildcat-Group.com
Upon graduating from UKs MBA program in 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 moving would be a fantastic summer job.”
RJ started Wildcat Moving with his old Ford Bronco and a motorcycle trailer. Now, he has 17 trucks and a staff of over 80 during busy season. Their excellent pay scale ($15-$25 per hour) allows them to recruit and retain respectful, responsible and athletic movers that customers can trust. “We pay our movers better than any other moving company because we know that happy movers make happy customers. As a result weve been the top-ranked Moving company in Kentucky on Angies List for 5 years running. I love being the best at what we do,” he explained. In addition to Wildcat Moving, The Wildcat Group includes Wildcat Auto Repair and Wildcat Home Inspection.
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 run several successful local businesses honestly.”
Gotta Dance Studio, Inc.
3347 Tates Creek Rd. Ste. 201 | Lexington
859.268.3382 | GottaDanceLex.org
Celebrating their 25th year in business, Gotta Dance is the culmination of Dawns lifelong dream.
“I have always known I wanted to teach dance and own a studio,” she said. “My passion and love for dance and my students are the forces that make me get up and meet the day with a smile.”
Still in its original home in the Lansdowne Shoppes, Gotta Dance has evolved with changing dance trends and the growth of its classes. They teach students from age 2 to adult. “I am honored to be a part of bringing the joy of dance to many over the years,” Dawn said.
As a wife, mother of three and photographer, Kristin loves capturing special family moments. Kristin, who has been a professional photographer for eight years, is now also offering classes in photography. “Today, my passion is not only capturing beautiful memories for families in my area, but it is for teaching others how to use their fancy cameras to take their own amazing photos,” she explained.
Her expertise isnt limited to just family portraits and celebrations, however. “I love working with creative entrepreneurs who want to take their visual brand to the next level and attract more customers with custom professional photography,” she said. Photo courtesy of Kristin Tatem
Market on National
730 National Ave. | Lexington
859.327.3876 | MarketonNational.com
Clare moved to Lexington to finish her Interior Design degree at the University of Kentucky. She worked with Hugh James at Lexington Furniture while in college and ended up falling in love with Lexington and the idea of starting a new business in line with her passion for furniture and design. “Hugh and I both had a desire to create a brand that would fulfill Lexingtons need for a modern, well-curated home décor and accessories brand,” she explained. “Having entrepreneur parents growing up definitely sparked my dream of owning and running my own business one day. Lucky for me, Hugh has trusted in my abilities and really gave me free rein to create the Market on National brand.”
Clare, who has Type 1 Diabetes, was just 23 when Market on National opened. As a co-owner, she found it intimidating to work with people who have been in the industry for decades, but found them a great learning resource and an inspiration to stay well-informed to offer her customers a high level of expertise so they can each make informed decisions. “I believe in educating myself continuously in both business and design.” To other entrepreneurs, she advises, “Look towards those you admire in your field.”