When a business, organization, group, or individual joins their local chamber, they are investing in YOUR community. We appreciate our members and want to highlight them.
Throughout this year, we will feature Holton/Jackson County Chamber members. Here you will be able to find out more about their services, the history of the business, and the faces behind the business.
Red Rock Guest Ranch
When Bill and Debra Brown moved to rural Soldier in 1998, they realized that there was no place for people to stay when they came home for weddings, reunions, birthdays, funerals, etc. The Red Rock Guest Ranch was the solution to that problem by providing lodging, and meeting/reception space. It officially opened its doors on January 1st, 2000, and celebrated its 21st anniversary at the beginning of 2021.
The Red Rock Guest Ranch is owned by Bill Brown (a 28-year career in the Army) and Debra Brown (a 33-year career in financial services). It is managed with the help of Luke Schreiber who has been with them for 20 years.
"We love country living and would never move back to town. We love the community and the people in the community and our church which is only 1.5 miles down the road. We have the best neighbors."
In the beginning, they only had three bedrooms, each with a private bathroom.
They added on to the original farm home, which was built in 1898, and included 3 bedrooms that could be used for B&B business. Currently, The Red Rock Guest Ranch provides lodging with the options for meals or self-catering, meeting/reception space, and has over 3 miles of hiking trails, including trails in a 14 acre re-established tallgrass prairie. They have also added a guest house, hunting lodge, and a cabin. Interesting fact: The Kansas Central Railway, later known as the LK&W Railroad, which was a narrow-gauge railroad, ran across their property and you can still see where the tracks were. The train ran from 1872 to 1935.
"We are proud of the fact that we have remained open continuously for over 20 years. We were featured in Kansas Magazine in 2004, won the Huck Boyd award in 2004, and received an ArrivaLIST "Most Visited Places" award in 2018. Our biggest challenge is our location. We are located on 270th Road, 1.5 miles from HWY 62 on a not very well maintained rock road. There are times that guests without 4 wheel drive can not make that 1.5-mile drive. Our goal is to continue to provide lodging and meeting space for this part of Jackson County. The chamber has helped us have a "presence" in the wider Jackson County community beyond just the local Soldier area".
Steam Power Carpet Cleaning
For the Basel family, cleaning services just runs in the family. "You might say we inherited this type of work. My grandfather and father both worked in this field". WhileTony Basel, the owner of Steam Power Carpet Cleaning, was raised around the cleaning business he also spent some years in the construction field, dabbled in landscaping, and even spent some time in update New York. But cleaning and farming are what Tony has grown up to know and love. Since Tony and his wife settled back in the area in 1998, they followed in the footsteps of previous generations and started Steam Power Carpet Cleaning. This year, they will be celebrating 22 years of business.
"My wife and I both have parents and grandparents from this area. We also wanted to live closer to our grandparents Bill and Mary Coverdale who lived on a farm south of Soldier KS”. Tony wanted to farm with his grandpa and he has enjoyed that privilege over the last 20 years. One thing that Steam Power Carpet Cleaning is most proud of is building great, long-term relationships with our staff and people in our community. Having lived in a bigger city, the friendships we have in this community are never lost upon us". Steam Power offers carpet, air duct, and tile cleaning, pet odor removal, minor water damage restoration, commercial dehumidifier and air mover rentals, commercial night office cleaning services, consulting on mold prevention, and life cycle principles of building and building materials. They are also a Tornado Vacuum dealer. Over the years, they have found it to be beneficial to stay diversified and up-to-date with their line of work. They are always learning and implementing new technology, chemicals, and adding new cleaning equipment. Steam Power serves the Jackson County area, but they have recently expanded to Shawnee County, Topeka. In 2019 and 2020, they were voted "Top Three Carpet Cleaning Companies" in Best of Topeka.
Owning and operating a business has its own set of challenges. "There’s always a challenge mechanically just to keep the trucks and equipment running. We get calls that really test the pit in your stomach. It has been difficult for everyone to overcome the fear of Covid and continue to provide this type of service. It has been a challenge sometimes to take the calls of someone who has lost control of their bodily fluids, someone who has bled out on their carpet or has passed away in the home. Our biggest challenge is to protect our own health whether it’s air duct cleaning, dangerous cleaning chemicals, hepatitis, or Covid. Yes, and keeping the trucks clean with all the muddy country roads in Jackson County".
As a business goal, Steam Power wants to ensure not to sacrifice the quality of service for volume and growth. They also want to continue to be here for long-time customers in emergencies and flood situations. When asked what advice would he give to new business owners, Tony simply said, "make time for the important things - like your family". They believe that when they take care of other people, they will take care of them. Taking care of their own staff members and developing good routines is important to them. "We are not a franchise - we support local businesses, agriculture, and our community".
"We appreciate the use of the sign on Highway 75, we also appreciated during Covid being able to be connected with KNZA radio to discuss how we are safely helping the community and to get the message out. We also appreciate the networking you provide with other businesses, not to mention the visiting seminars and training that is available to us monthly".
Denison State Bank
Denison State Bank (DSB) was chartered in 1901 with the first office located in the nearby town of Denison. That office stayed there until 1939 and then relocated to the Square in Holton. Operating under the same name since the beginning, this year, Denison State Bank is celebrating 120 years serving our communities and beyond.
“Jackson County and the nearby area is home to DSB, and home is where DSB wants to be”.
DSB offers services expected of a leading community bank. This includes receiving and protecting deposited funds, extending credit to qualified borrowers, processing payments, and money movement around the world.
Customers access DSB services and employees through a network of five offices, ATMs, and digital logins. The faces behind providing and implementing the services include 65 full-time officers and staff, about 12 part-time employees who provide a variety of business skills to the bank and its customers, and a 6-member local board of directors who govern the company. DSB is also one of the few banks in Kansas with a woman serving as company CEO and two-thirds of the bank employees are women.
While they have many things to be proud of, DSB is most proud of the generations of loyal customers and businesses that have helped DSB be successful while also allow DSB to be part of their successes. They have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the local public.
As with any business endeavor, there are challenges to overcome. DSB has weathered many challenges of the 20th and 21st centuries and still came through. This includes overcoming world wars, economic depressions, new trends in buying behavior, changes in market demographics. DSB is well-positioned to respond to today’s challenges.
Some interesting facts about Denison State Bank include:
- DSB is the 35th largest bank in Kansas, out of 226, in asset size.
- The DSB logo is an image of a corn plant, representing fervent growth opportunities.
- Studio 1 Dance Center is located on the top floor of the main bank office in downtown Holton, and in certain parts of the bank, the sound of dancing feet can be heard when lessons are underway.
As a business in Jackson County, the Chamber helps Denison State Bank by having a central resource for business-related information and a network of local business peers.
To keep up to date with what’s happening at Denison State Bank look and listen for frequent advertisements in local media and check out the following social media accounts:
Website: www.dsbks.com | Facebook: Denison State Bank | Instagram: denisonstatebank | Twitter: @dsbks| LinkedIn: Denison State Bank
Jackson County Farm Bureau Association
Founded 104 years ago, in 1917, Jackson County Farm Bureau Association was established as an association of farmers and ranchers pulling together to promote and enhance agriculture and rural life.
County Farm Bureaus were born out of legislation in 1915 called the County Farm Bureau Law. This law authorized county appropriations to help support Extension Services’ work in the counties. The first bylaws of the first County Farm Bureaus identified officers as the President, the Vice President, a Secretary-Treasurer and a County Agent, and an advisory council. In 1919, 38 of the county Farm Bureaus met and formed Kansas Farm Bureau to strengthen and correlate the work of county Farm Bureaus to promote the
development of the most profitable and permanent system of agriculture; the most wholesome and satisfactory living conditions; the highest ideals in-home and community life; and a general interest in farm business and rural life. In 1951, Farm Bureau separated from extension services. Throughout the history of Farm Bureau, the organization has worked through the advocacy of its grassroots members to develop leaders in the ag industry and to affect change in the state capitals, in Washington DC, and globally to advance the interests of farmers and ranchers and rural America.
The Jackson County Farm Bureau Association, like all county Farm Bureau associations, is supported by the dues paid by its members. Members of the organization realize the benefit of the strength of the advocacy efforts and members band together to build relationships with legislators, locally and nationally, to drive some of the most comprehensive legislation in favor of farming, such as the Freedom to Farm Act in 1996. In 1992, Farm Bureau engaged its members and worked diligently to pass a constitutional amendment that adjusted the classification rates on commercial properties. These efforts helped stop constitutional attempts that would have broadened the tax base with livestock and farm machinery. More recently, here in Kansas, members of this grassroots organization influenced lawmakers in Topeka to authorize Kansas Farm Bureau Health Plans, an alternative to the marketplace health insurance. These health care plans help farmers and ranchers obtain health care coverage that is affordable, allowing them to farm and ranch, rather than seek employment off the farm to pay for health insurance. This health care benefit is not limited, however, to farmers and ranchers. Anyone can explore this health care plan, which demonstrates how Farm Bureau works for rural Kansas communities. Currently, more than 400 Kansas Farm Bureau volunteers engaged and effectively crowdsourced wireless broadband shortcomings in more than 2,000 Kansas locations, benefiting all rural Kansas communities with the aim of driving a change in broadband coverage for all of Kansas.
Most folks are familiar with the insurance coverages available to Farm Bureau members. The opportunity to shop homeowner or property insurance, automobile insurance, farm and ranch coverage, or even commercial insurance is just another benefit of being a Farm Bureau member. Other benefits include the member benefits discounts offered by more than 30 local businesses. To see a complete listing of the benefit providers, visit the website https://www.jacksoncountyfb.org/membership-and-benefits. Many of the benefit providers listed there are also members of the Chamber of Commerce. These benefit providers work with Jackson County Farm Bureau Association to provide discounts or even free goods to Farm Bureau members. A number of benefits are also available through Kansas Farm Bureau, such as John Deere discounts and discounts and rebates available at Ford dealerships, or Grasshopper Mower dealers, Grainger, Silver Dollar City, and the list goes on and on.
The current Board of Directors for the Jackson County Farm Bureau Association are Garrett Holaday, President; Dyann Parks, Vice President; Samantha Mellies, Secretary-Treasurer; Mandy Hug, Jarrod Schreyer, Keith Colter, Bryce Barnett, Christa Hill, and Jacob Yingst.
In short, the Voice of Agriculture®, Jackson County Farm Bureau Association, working in unison with Kansas Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation, is a non-profit association advocating for and promoting a better life for all Jackson County.
Fun Fact: Did you know if you have a Johnsonville breakfast patty it was made locally? That’s right, Johnsonville breakfast patties are only made right here in Holton, Kansas!
Members/Careers: Companywide, Johnsonville has over 2,000 members in various careers across the country and working internationally to promote delicious Johnsonville products and business. Here in Holton, there are approximately 225 members. Many members graduated from local schools, still live in the area, and have built long-lasting careers here at Johnsonville. Johnsonville Holton is one of the largest employers in Jackson County and provides a wide variety of careers including skilled production members, food safety and quality technicians, maintenance technicians, engineers, and administrators. To check out career opportunities, visit Jobs.Johnsonville.com or call Johnsonville Holton directly at (785) 305-2069. We would love to talk to you about Johnsonville’s above-average wages, great benefits, tuition reimbursement, and career opportunities.
Let’s spotlight a few of our own Jackson County Members:
Dave Stallbaumer graduated in 1978 from Wetmore High School. Dave says he was working construction and learned that wasn’t the work for him so he came to Oldham’s (now Johnsonville Holton). “I like the work I do and that’s why I continue to choose Johnsonville.”
Manuel Alvarez graduated in 2015 from Holton High School and has been with Johnsonville Holton for six years. Manuel decided after high school to pick a career (utility technician) and stick with it. He continues to choose Johnsonville Holton for the development of new roles.
Mike Robinson graduated from Holton High School in 1991. After retiring from the Air Force, Mike joined Johnsonville Holton as Operations Coordinator. Mike says he chose Johnsonville because of the culture, products, and location.
Johnsonville Holton is regularly involved in community events across the county.
Johnsonville Breakfast patties, breakfast links, brats, and smoke-cooked sausage can be found in your local grocery stores… give them a try if you aren’t already enjoying them!