9 KC Companies Shaking Up Their Industries (and winning)

We're used to seeing major cities like San Francisco, New York and Seattle host the world's most progressive companies, but some businesses in Kansas City are leading the world in their own industries. What's common across all of them? A culture of innovation and thinking big. We teamed up with Red Nova Labs, one of KC's industry leaders and top places to work, to highlight some of these companies and what makes their talent and culture so special. If you're looking for a new place to work, we've got some ideas for you.



 Industry: Self-storage

Industry: Self-storage

What they do
Self storage technology. You know, those places you store your stuff? Well, they need technology infrastructure, too. They need websites. Good websites, that work seamlessly on mobile devices and rank highly in search results. They also need cloud-based software to manage their tenants, units, and rent collection processes. Red Nova Labs does all of that with their industry-leading technology platform, storEDGE, powering over 3,000 clients around the country, including some of the industry’s largest brands.

Why it rocks
While self storage isn’t the sexiest industry, it sure is a profitable one. The $33 billion industry is still growing rapidly, and Red Nova Labs is always hiring for software engineers and programmers that are looking to build the best software, websites, and innovative tech tools. Plus, they were recently named one of KC’s best places to work. It’s easy to see why - the company offers some pretty sweet startup-style perks, like an in-house barista, paid parental leave, 401k matching, all-you-can-eat catered lunches, and afternoon ping pong matches.


 Industry: Logistics

Industry: Logistics

What they do
If you’ve ever had a package get lost in transit, you know how frustrating it can be. Now imagine that on a 10x larger scale. That’s where VeriShip comes in. They create parcel audit technology - aka, cloud-based software that hooks up with your FedEx, USPS, or UPS account and identifies ways you can save money on shipping costs. With 3,300+ clients, some right here in KC (like Joe’s Bar-B-Que), this Overland Park-based startup is holding parcel carriers accountable to their promises and helping small businesses optimize their shipping processes. They’re like the Justice League of parcel accountability.


Why it rocks
They’re disrupting the industry, putting money back into the pockets of small businesses and creating never-before-seen technology for the logistics industry. They also have a stellar reputation for being a fantastic place to work, with food truck celebrations, relay races for charity, ice cream socials, and plenty of pranking. And it helps that they’ve recently been included in the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S., meaning they’re always looking for tech-minded people to join their growing team.


 Industry: Coffee

Industry: Coffee

What they do
Alright, they’re technically not in KC. But they’re not far. PT’s is a micro-roastery, supplying the Midwest with phenomenal Direct Trade espresso and drip coffee out of their homebase in Topeka. If you need a hint of inspiration with your morning cup of joe, check out Jeff Taylor’s story, the co-founder of PT’s Coffee. (It’s quite a tale, one of those feel-good, American dream types.) PT’s has three cafes, one in KC, MO at The Crossroads, and they pride themselves on being some of the best coffeehouses in America.

Why it rocks
This small team is chock-full of creative, innovative people from far-reaching backgrounds. You’ll feel good about what you’re doing if you’re a detail-oriented person. They work with coffee farmers who are true artisans, offering sustainable solutions and providing the highest possible return to co-ops. Their spaces are incredible, and they’re frequently hiring baristas to work at their various café locations.


 Industry: Pet Health & Fitness

Industry: Pet Health & Fitness

What they do
Three words: canine fitness trackers. Hello, is that not the coolest thing ever? Maybe it’s a bit of a first-world problem to need to track your pooch’s couch to 5K. Either way, pet activity trackers are growing in popularity, and whether you’re a dog lover or a stats nerd, Rover’s health offers tail-wagging possibilities for tech.

Why it rocks
Working out of the cool Sprint Accelerator space in the Crossroads district, Fitbark has some cool work perks, like hanging out with cute dogs every day and developing the market’s highest-rated dog health monitor. From marketing gurus to veterinary researchers to programmers, this small team is leading the industry when it comes to pet health, from right here in KC.


 Industry: Sports Entertainment Technology

Industry: Sports Entertainment Technology

What they do
Fan data. Sports fans, that is. FanThreeSixty brings big data to major sports organizations like Oklahoma State University, Sporting Kansas City, Speedway Motorsports, and the US Open. Their tech solutions help major sports teams, organizations, and venues sell more tickets, engage fans, and grow revenue.

Why it rocks
It’s a judgement-free zone for checking your fantasy league, watching the game, and geeking out over your favorite team. FanThreeSixty is a company built around the love of sports, and like true sports fans, they’re passionate about competing and living the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle. If you’re a big-time sports fan and a tech nerd, FanThreeSixty is always looking for talented software and support engineers.


 Industry: Professional Sports Organizations

Industry: Professional Sports Organizations

What they do
Homegrown, family-friendly professional wrestling promotion and entertainment, like WWE in the 80s. Their goal is to re-create the wrestling entertainment styles they loved growing up, to promote indie wrestling organizations throughout the country, and to move professional wrestling forward in a positive way.

Why it rocks
It’s a brand-new sports organization, meaning team members have the chance to be a part of a groundbreaking, innovative league. Plus, if you like old WWE-style entertainment, this is definitely the place for you to shamelessly indulge in wrestling fandom. Founded in 2016, this growing team is perfect for entrepreneurial-minded marketers, tech gurus, wrasslin’ enthusiasts, and more.

 


 Industry: GPS Navigation & Wearable Technology

Industry: GPS Navigation & Wearable Technology

What they do
Almost everything engineering and technology related to aviation, sports and outdoor recreation, automotive, marine, fitness, and wearable technology. More specifically, GPS devices. But really, they make an abundance of technology products for a variety of industries. They’re a team of inventors who push the boundaries of “everyday epic” using technology to improve lives.

Why it rocks
Their state-of-the-art campus in Olathe offers tons of perks for employees, including tuition reimbursement for advanced education, best-in-class health and wellness programs (like a bike to work initiative!), free entry to sponsored events, financial assistance for pilot certification and ground school, and adoption assistance for new parents. Garmin is constantly advancing technology, and they’re always hiring engineers, aviation specialists, and more to join their worldwide team.


 Industry: Live Events & Large Scale Architecture

Industry: Live Events & Large Scale Architecture

What they do
They’re a global architecture firm specializing in large events, like the London Olympics and the Super Bowl. With regional headquarters in KC, London, and Brisbane, Populous offers services in architecture, interior design, event planning, branded environments, planning and urban design, landscape architecture, aviation and transport design, hotels and hospitality, and sustainable design. They’ve designed mega-stadiums, convention centers, airports, arenas, and more.

Why it rocks
If you dig live events and checking out sports stadiums, Populous is the perfect place for you. You’ll get an insider pass to tour major event centers around the world, and work on innovative teams designing large scale events and planning for a sustainable future. Their cool office near the Plaza offers dozens of career opps in architecture, design, writing, and more.


 Industry: Live Events & Large Scale Architecture

Industry: Live Events & Large Scale Architecture

What they do
HOK's Sports + Recreation + Entertainment group designs world-class sports and entertainment venues, including spaces for top programs in the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, European Soccer leagues and major world events. You can see their work nearby as well; they designed the Power & Light District, Sprint Center and Mizzou's new press box. Formerly 360 Architecture, this talented group was acquired by HOK in 2015, which is a compliment in and of itself - HOK is consistently ranked one of the world's best Architecture and Engineering design firms.

Why it rocks
Like Populous, HOK defies the idea that elite design only happens in the world's biggest cities. Between the two firms, headquartered in KC and STL, respectively, there's no sports, recreation or entertainment venue too big or high-profile to tackle. In the industry of sports architecture and engineering, the world's eyes are on Kansas City. Employees in HOK's Crossroads office get to be a part this incredible work, which often includes downtown KC projects that revitalize our city.


Kansas City Home Decor Ideas, By Neighborhood

We partnered with the local furniture artists and craftsmen at Walter Carmichael & Co. to spark some creative home ideas this fall. Since each Kansas City neighborhood has its own unique style and personality, we spent a little time in each area to find inspiration, just like Walter Carmichael has done with its own furniture collections.


CROSSROADS

The Crossroads Arts District has helped give Kansas City street/country cred as a major point of culture in the Midwest. These home accents are a nod to the creative craftsmanship in the area.


The Crossroads Coffee Table

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This modern-but-also-Craftsman style table is a nice nod to the industrial past of Crossroads. Exposed steel complements the custom-finished oak to bring a striking centerpiece that will still hold your coffee table book about coffee tables.
Shop WalterCarmichael.com


Hammerpress PRINT

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The distinct Hammerpress relief print technique is a Crossroads decor staple and will make a stylish impression in any KC neighborhood, from prints to patches.
Shop Hammerpress.com


Element x MLB Kansas City Deck

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Escapist has put the Kansas City skateboarding scene on the map. Represent the home team with this Royals-themed deck.
Shop EscapistSkateboarding.com


Kansas City Bird's Eye Map from 1869

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Kansas City has been cool for hundreds of years, and this map proves it. And you can get it printed in any size you want, courtesy of Crossroads staple Gallup Map & Art Company.
Shop GallupMap.com


WESTPORT

Kansas City's oldest neighborhood has been around longer than Kansas City itself. The frontier waystation has transformed into a trendy spot for young professionals, families, eating, drinking, and truly unique KC points of pride.


Westport Lounge Chair

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Westport is home to a thriving "porch culture," thanks to the prominent porches featured on the houses built around the turn of the 20th Century. Class up your porch hang night with Walter Carmichael's Westport Lounge Chair. Just make sure you don't get pipe ash on it!
Shop WalterCarmichael.com


Vinyl Records

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Westport might have a "hipster" label slapped on it, but hey, if the shoe fits. Embrace the label and pick up some new or used vinyl at neighborhood staple Mills Record Company. A veritable warehouse of music, turntables, shirts, beer glasses, and more, Mills will probably have what you're looking for.
Visit MillsRecordCompany.com


Coffee

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Kansas City's coffee scene is exploding. Oddly Correct is on the forefront of that scene, so bring some coffee home. Bonus: each bag of beans features hand-letterpressed art that you might not want to get rid of, so pick up a laser-cut bag frame in store only.
Shop OddlyCorrect.com


PLAZA

The nation's first "outdoor mall" opened in 1923 and has been home to one of Kansas City's best shopping experiences since. The neighborhood now encompasses a much larger area, but the Plaza's old-fashioned class still remains.


Kansas City Clock

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Niall is one of Kansas City's premiere brands. They make truly first-rate watches. But you might not want to carry a piece of art around on your wrist all the time. So why not get a clock that mimics their distinctive style?
Shop NiallLuxury.com


The KC Hat

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Okay, this is apparel and not home goods, but this Kansas City classic looks as good on a shelf as it does on your head. The comfy hat with felt letters is reaching iconic status here in KC, so display it proudly.
Shop Baldwin.co


I (Shuttlecock) KC NIGHTLIGHT

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Lights are synonymous with the night scene on the Plaza. Bring a little of that home with a night light of your own.
Shop RaygunSite.com


Chiefs Banner

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Rally House has tons of felt banners to suit any team-themed room. From KU to the Royals, from Mizzou to the Chiefs, give a little class to your sports-themed decorating. 
Shop RallyHouse.com


J.C. Nichols Fountain Pillow

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It's Kansas City's most recognizable fountain, and we have a TON of fountains. Snuggle up with this printed pillow and embrace the iconic status we have as the City of Fountains.
Shop HeidiHerrman.com


PRAIRIE VILLAGE & BROOKSIDE

This trendy State Line-straddling neighborhood is close to a hundred years old and one of the first "trolley" suburbs. Despite the age, the charm attracts both the young and less-young adults and families.


Flower Arrangement

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The Fiddly Fig is a world-class florist right here in Brookside. Spruce up your home with some outstanding prebuilt arrangements or go full custom.
Shop FiddlyFig.com


Brookside Coffee Table

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Brookside homes are gorgeous and full of history. This hundred-year old neighborhood deserves a classy and modern heirloom to star in the living room.
Shop WalterCarmichael.com


Hand-Made Trivets

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Spice up your dining room with these made-in-KC trivets and serving plates. They're even pretty enough to hang on your wall when you're not using them.
Shop CovetedHome.coom


Some Good Stuff

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You've seen the stickers. You've seen the buttons. Head to this variety store to get some art from local artists and see the landmark that is A Store Named Stuff.
Visit PursueGoodStuff.com


WESTWOOD & JOHNSON COUNTY

Some of America's first suburbs are in Johnson County, and the homes look and feel like the true hallmarks of suburban life: tree-lined roads, the lovely lawns and quality, classic decor.


Westwood Nesting Tables

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These oak nesting tables really complete a room with simple, modern styling and solid durability. They're sold individually but look fantastic as a group.
Shop WalterCarmichael.com


Subway-Style Sign

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A 12x30 sign with Westwood's streets listed on a hand-painted wooden sign? Sign me up. You can customize colors, substitute a street, and even get a full custom list of locations or streets or whatever else you choose.
Shop FarmDogStudios.com


KC Pennant

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Stop by Made in KC's Prairiefire shop and pick up this adorably tiny KC pennant to match your college and Royals ones.
Shop MadeInKC.co


Books

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Some people read them. Some people decorate with them and pretend they read them. Either way, books make home accents easy and sophisticated. We recommend Rainy Day Books in Fairway - a cornerstone of KC book lovers since 1975.
Visit RainyDayBooks.com


Thank you to Walter Carmichael & Co. for sharing its expertise, and sponsorship support, in bringing great local design to our living spaces in Kansas City. If you're furnishing a new home, or bringing fresh perspective to an old one, we recommend taking a look at their beautiful furniture, which is exclusively available at Stonebridge Collective's new store in Grandview.