“It validated our vision,” Don said inside the Riley Architect Services office in Mayfield.
Elizabeth said the project helped their small business where it matters most by providing networking chances, required planning and free services.
“When you’re a small business, you read things and think, ‘Oh, we should be doing that,’ but the financial constraints don’t allow you to,” Elizabeth said. “The makeover helped with that.”
Much more difficult than effusive praise is putting your money where your mouth is, especially for a growing small business.
But the Rileys wouldn’t have it any other way.
Advertisements for the second KeeFORCE makeover announced in January include Riley Architects and its $3,500 donation. The deserving business in 2012 will receive Riley Architects’ master plan service that provides a professional master plan for a business’ present and future facilities.
“We decided very soon into the makeover to do that,” Don said. “It was kind of like, how are we ever going to express gratitude to so many sponsors?”
That was the feeling KeeFORCE management had in mind when it devised the project last year.
KeeFORCE President Terry McKee and Joni Goodman, business development manager, encouraged businesses in the region to apply for the makeover that would provide them free services and products from 20 other local companies all aimed at improving a small business. Goodman helped secure services worth a total of $50,000 ranging from marketing materials to business plan development and consulting. Five finalists were chosen by an independent panel from 20 applicants, and Riley Architects was announced the winner April 21.
Goodman said from the beginning it was a project to help an established, promising local business and to display the good in the business community.
“One of my favorite things about Paducah, and the region, is the collaborative energy that is here,” Goodman said. “I feel like (the makeover) is one more example of how this community pulls together to help people.”
McKee said he was pleasantly surprised with the Rileys’ donation to this year’s contest.
“It keeps a company busy for an entire year trying to implement all this stuff,” McKee said. “For them to take a step back and decide they want to be a part of this, it’s a great thing.”
McKee said the key component to making the project successful was choosing to help a business on the rise but needing a push over the hump.
The minimum requirements for the makeover were that a business be in operation for at least two years, employ three or more workers and it couldn’t be home-based.
The Rileys launched Riley Architect Services at 105 W. Broadway in 2005. Don, a Mayfield native, had served as a campus architect at Murray State University from 1998 to 2005. Clients and their projects led the business’s focus for years, Don said, with little time for him or Elizabeth to plan or develop marketing materials, office layouts and website designs.
The company offers architectural designs and planning for commercial and residential buildings.
The makeover’s strongest effects have been in plain sight, and in planning sessions, over the past seven months, Don said.
A new logo announces the company’s name on windows and doors at Seventh Street and W. Broadway on the courthouse square in Mayfield. Coffee mugs, pens and pads of paper carry the new logo as well, all coming from the makeover.
Planning and analyzing sessions with Workforce Solutions and EntrePaducah helped define the company’s direction, something Elizabeth said the two couldn’t commit to in years past.
After calling on and securing commitments from another 20 or so local businesses, KeeFORCE is poised for another makeover this year.
McKee and Goodman announced the call for applications just after the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting Jan. 5.
The requirements are the same, and the prize package with services from 21 local businesses totals almost $39,500.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with last year’s winner,” McKee said.
Contact Adam Shull, journal editor, at 270-575-8653.
What’s new at Riley Architect Services
Highlights of the past seven months for Riley Architect after being named the first winner of the KeeFORCE Xtreme Business Makeover.
• Hired three new employees: Josh Vernon, registered architect; Mandy Hale, office manager; Erin Lewis, interior designer.
• Put up new signs and window treatments with a new company logo at its office at 105 W. Broadway in downtown Mayfield.
• Expanded into a new market, medical facilities. In January, the company landed a contract for design work of a psychiatric wing at a hospital in Columbia, Kentucky.
• Created a long-term business plan and upgraded the company website.
Applications due for 2012 KeeFORCE Xtreme Business Makeover
Almost $39,500 worth of free products and services are available to a qualifying small business.
How to apply: Online at keeforce.com/makeover. For more information call 270-366-0646.
Criteria: The business must be in operation for at least two years, employ three or more workers and it can’t be home-based.
Application deadline: March 8
Announcement of winner: April 24 at the Emerging Technology Center at West Kentucky Community & Technical College.