Archive for Business

Amazon to hold job fairs next week for new KCK facility

Amazon will hold job fairs next week for its new Kansas City, Kansas, facility.

The new fulfillment facility, more than 850,000 square feet, is located in the Turner Diagonal area near 65th and Riverview. In an announcement at its groundbreaking last fall, Amazon officials said about 1,000 employees may work at the facility, which is on 190 acres.

Eight job fairs will be held throughout Wyandotte County in June.

Amazon warehouse jobs will start at $12 an hour, according to a job fair flier. The job offers benefits from the first day; a 401(k) match, stock award program, tuition assistance program, and employee discount.

The first job fair will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, at Bertram Caruthers Elementary School, 1100 Waverly Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

The next job fair will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at Mark Twain Elementary School, 2300 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

Requirements for the full-time warehouse associate positions include: at least 18 years old, high school diploma or equivalent, able to read and take direction in English, able to lift up to 49 pounds with or without reasonable accommodation, able to stand and walk for up to 10 to 12 hours, and able to frequently push, pull, squat, bend and reach. Also, employees must be willing to work overtime and flexible schedules, according to requirement information.

Other Amazon job fairs are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on these days:
• Wednesday, June 7, at McKinley Elementary School, 1301 Armstrong Ave.;
• Thursday, June 8, at Frank Rushton Elementary School, 2605 W. 43rd Ave.;
• Wednesday, June 14, at Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Center, 6565 State Ave.;
• Thursday, June 15, at Turner Recreation Commission, 831 S. 55th St.;
• Wednesday, June 21, at Edwardsville Community Center, 696 S. 3rd St., Edwardsville;
• Thursday, June 22, at White Church Elementary School, 2226 N. 85th St.

The locations of the job fairs are subject to change.

For more information, visit


Opinion column: RadioShack closing marks end of era

Store closing brings back decades of memories. (Photo from Murrel Bland)


by Murrel Bland

The RadioShack store in the Wyandotte Plaza Shopping Center at 78th and State Avenue closed recently. A note on the door said the store is being remodeled and will reopen soon as just a Sprint store. It is an unfortunate end locally to a retailer that continues to struggle in a changing market.

I recall when RadioShack came to Wyandotte Plaza. It was the summer of 1969 when a young enthusiastic manager, Ken Jones, opened the store. He moved to Kansas City, Kansas, from San Diego where he was also with RadioShack.

A story in the Sept. 18, 1969, issue of The Wyandotte West told of all the items that the store offered—all types of radios—AM, FM, CBs and walkie-talkies—along with tape recorders, microphones and even electronic bug killers. Jones said the response to the store’s grand opening was very good. The store was located at the eastern end of the center in a space formerly occupied by the Woods-Balke appliance store.

RadioShack can trace its roots to 1921 when it owners, Theodore and Milton Deutschmann, founded the company in Boston. The brothers saw the need to provide equipment for the emerging field of amateur radio. The company published its first catalog in 1939 and moved into the direct mail business. RadioShack fell into hard times during the early 1960s. The Tandy Corporation, a leather goods company based in Ft. Worth, was looking for a related business that would complement its hobbyist products. In 1962, RadioShack sold for $14 million and the company became Tandy RadioShack and Leather.

Tandy closed RadioShack’s unprofitable mail-order business, ended its credit purchases, eliminated several top management positions and cut the number of items sold from 40,000 to 2,500. Such things as go-carts and musical instruments were eliminated from the product line. Charles Tandy, who had guided RadioShack through this change, died of a heart attack in 1978.

One of the successful RadioShack promotions was the “Battery of the Month Club” which offered a free battery each month. This, along with free tube-testing, generated considerable in-store foot traffic.

The 1982 breakup of the Bell Telephone system allowed subscribers to buy their own telephones. RadioShack offered some 20 models of home phones. RadioShack attempted to compete in the big-box electronic market with McDuff, Video Concepts and Edge in Electronics in the early and mid-1990s. That was not successful.

RadioShack was successful with its TRS-80 computer. However, it failed to keep up with the personal computer market.

In 1998, RadioShack claimed to be the largest seller of consumer telecommunication products in the world. On May 10, 2017, its stock was trading for 31 cents a share. So what happened?

Maybe the market forces have changed and RadioShack did not keep up. I read a column in the electronic edition of The Lawrence Journal-World that Chad Lawhon wrote about the closing of the last RadioShack in Lawrence. He said the stores were often helpful.

“I would get 10 minutes of advice, a $2 part, and with such knowledge and supplies, I could fix any audio/video device—as long as either of my children were around to help me operate the remote control,” Lawhon said.

I could identify with Lawhon’s comments. I recall shopping at the Wyandotte Plaza store. The advice was good—I learned how to hook up supplemental speakers to my TV. And a helpful clerk programmed the radios that my wife and I took to Kansas Speedway.

But the last time I was in the Wyandotte Plaza store, it did not have the cable I needed. (I was able to get it online, however.) The clerk was polite, but not nearly as knowledgeable as those who had waited on me in past years. I did buy some batteries however.

As part of the bankruptcy agreement, Sprint is taking over 1,750 RadioShack stores. Apparently that is what is happening in Wyandotte Plaza. Of course Sprint faces an uncertain future in the highly competitive telecommunications market.

A major influence in the retail market today is the impact of the internet. It is quite easy to order just about any product online and have it delivered within a couple of days—or sooner, if you are willing to pay for it. The giant 40-acre Amazon warehouse being built off the Turner Diagonal is a sign of the changing retail market.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.


Tourism awards presented

Receiving tourism awards today from the Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors Bureau were, left to right, Eric Pew and Emily Park, American Royal Barbecue; Jeff Hays, Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas; Michael Downs, Original Juan Specialty Foods; and George Brajkovic, former Kansas City, Kansas, economic development director. (Photo from Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors Bureau)

The Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors Bureau Inc. gave out several awards today its annual Tourism Celebration.

The luncheon was held at the Reardon Convention Center, 520 Minnesota Ave., in Kansas City, Kansas. Approximately 150 people were in attendance, including elected officials and tourism industry professionals.

Commissioner Melissa Bynum presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Mark Holland and the Unified Government Commissioners proclaiming Tuesday, May 9, as National Tourism Day.

Four awards were presented to tourism advocates and organizations:

The Excellence in Hospitality Award was awarded to Jeff Hays, director of sales and marketing for Schlitterbahn Waterpark Kansas City. The award, chosen by the KCK CVB staff, recognizes Hays for his support and partnership with the CVB, as well as his professionalism, hospitality and exceptional customer service to all visitors.

Hays grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and is a graduate of the University of Kansas. Maila Yang, marketing and communications manager and Kerry Green, group sales and partnership manager of the KCK CVB, presented the award to Jeff Hays.

The Tourism Event of the Year Award was presented to the American Royal Barbecue Contest that was held on Oct. 26 – 30 at Kansas Speedway. The “World’s Largest Barbecue Competition” began in Kansas City in 1980.

Moving to Kansas Speedway in 2016 allowed for additional space for contestants and spectators as well as other activities. The event drew almost 50,000 people including team members, volunteers and the public, resulting in record setting attendance. Kurt Mayo, executive director of the Kansas City Hotel and Lodging Association and a current KCK CVB board member presented the award. The award was accepted by Lynn Parman, president and CEO of the American Royal Association.

The Tourism Organization of the Year Award was presented to Original Juan Specialty Foods. Original Juan produces 160 different products, under 13 brands in their 60,000 square foot BRC Certified facility in Kansas City, Kansas. They celebrated their 20th year in March 2017 and recently won a Gold sofi Award in the category of Barbecue Sauce in the Specialty Foods Association’s 2017 sofi awards competition.

Original Juan products are sold throughout the U.S. and more than 20 countries around the globe. Using a Micro-Batch process, 500-gallon maximum batch size, they are committed to producing “small batches, with big flavor.” The award was presented by Unified Government Commissioner Brian McKiernan. The award was accepted by Michael Downs, sales manager of Original Juan Specialty Foods.

The Tourism Advocate of the Year Award was presented to George Brajkovic for his leadership and contributions to Kansas City, Kansas, tourism. Brajkovic is the city manager of Tonganoxie, Kansas, and a lifelong Wyandotte County resident.

Brajkovic recently left his position of 18 years with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, serving as the economic development director. He also served as the county administrator’s appointee on the Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors from 2015 to 2017. Brajkovic was known for his consistent hard work and commitment to each development project while at the Unified Government. The Tourism Advocate award was presented to George Brajkovic by Unified Government Commissioner Angela Markley.

– Story and photo from Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors’ Bureau