February 03, 2017

Crux Lands in the Crossroads

A sofa just rolled past our office door. To the left, an electrician is wiring a globe chandelier, and outside our glass wall, they’re taking measurements for our new logo decal. Feels like home!

I’m proud to announce we’re officially in our new digs. Now six months in with Crux KC, it feels fantastic to be a part of the resurgence of this little corner of the Crossroads. You can now find us on the newly renovated lower level of the old Creamery Building, surrounded by other creative professionals and small businesses who, like me, are proud to be part of the Kansas City entrepreneurial drive.

Built in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was the original home of the Meriden Creamery Co., the only successful manufacturer of creamed butter in Kansas City. The old exposed concrete and brick is now blended with modern, high-end furnishings with plenty of glass walls and steel, capped off by a scenic view of downtown from the fourth-floor terrace.

As the workers put on the final touches in the common areas outside our office, we’ve been diligently hanging our white boards, setting up the new desks and adding some vintage art to spruce up our space. The analogy is definitely not lost on me: As we watch this building transform before our eyes, Crux is also growing and expanding as we add new clients and new members to the team. It’s an exciting time!

The power of entrepreneurs

I feel lucky to be starting a company at this particular time, in this particular city. I was on my second day on the job at the K.C. Chamber when we announced the Big 5 initiatives for a Greater Kansas City, and I’ve been watching #3 – Making Kansas City America’s Most Entrepreneurial City – play out ever since.

The improvement since then has been dramatic. Last August, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation released its “Startup Activity Index” that ranks cities and states across the country, and Kansas City jumped 11 places—from 29 to 18. Nathan Kurtz, Kauffman’s entrepreneur program officer, discussed the impact with Startland News:

“What we’re seeing on this report is that Kansas City is punching above its weight compared to other peer cities. I think that’s really the best story out of this. We’ll be keeping track for future years, but for at least 2016, it’s a fantastic year for entrepreneurship in Kansas City.”

A couple of the stats from the report are really telling—and exciting for me as a business owner:

  • 320 out of every 100,000 adults in the metro area became entrepreneurs, a 39-percent jump from the prior year.
  • 78 percent of the new entrepreneurs started a business to seize an opportunity (not because they had to).

To me, it’s just further evidence of the power of the community as a whole, working together to achieve a larger goal. And building that entrepreneurial environment helps us all—the perfect example of a rising tide raising all ships.

Building a better business

While our new home isn’t quite finished, the crew is working hard (and evenings) to finalize all of those little details—touching up some paint, cleaning up the leftover dust, adding a few plants. Crux still has plenty of work to do ourselves, of course, but we’ll get there. And like the neighborhood around us, we’re just hoping to constantly improve, to increase the value of what we deliver to our clients, and to add a little more energy to that Kansas City entrepreneurial spirit.

Oh, and if you find yourself in the neighborhood, stop in and say hi. Coffee’s always on.

As founder and CEO of Crux, Melea McRae is proud to be building Kansas City’s “un-agency.” And she loves the short walk across the street to The Jacobson from Crux’s new office home. Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or on Twitter @findyourcrux.

About the author: Melea McRae is a marketing strategist with 25+ years of B2B and B2C experience leading client-facing marketing departments, where she earned the reputation as an insightful brand strategist. As SVP and CMO at the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce, she led the organization’s marketing and business development efforts. In July 2016, Melea launched Crux KC, providing an in-house marketing team, outsourced – the “un-agency” – for her small-to-mid-sized clients. As founder and CEO, she builds marketing, communication and business development strategies for her clients, while positioning them for sustainable growth.

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