Business Services 2021 Winners

July 2021



BEST Accounting /Consulting Firm

This year’s Gold goes to CBIZ MHM, a long standing staple in KC’s accounting profession. KPMG is the second largest in terms of licensed CPAs in the KC region and claims a proud Silver in this category. Two other very reputable firms BKD and DELOITTE earn the Bronze. KC is blessed with brilliant accountants and here are the business community’s Fave Four.

 

BEST ADVERTISING AGENCY

Some people think of BARKLEY as an ad agency. Correct, but t’s a brand-builder, and advertising is just one plank in a huge deck needed to help client messaging in the digital age. From design and content to placement and analytics, this Gold-winning Crossroads firm brings it all. VMLY&R the global brand builder, earns the Silver, while TROZZOLO COMMUNICATIONS GROUP just keeps getting bigger and more influential with readers who give it the Bronze.

BEST ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN FIRM

For more than a century, HNTB has been building the infrastructure that makes the world modern—airports, tunnels, bridges, rail, roads and more. That’s good for Gold. Moving from the traveled space to the lived space, HELIX ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN  garners the Silver for its work in integrated architecture and interior design at the institutional level—universities, workplaces, multifamily residential, hotels, churches and more. Bronze is a tie between beloved BURNS & MCDONNELL and HOLLIS + MILLER ARCHITECTS, the specialists in educational and community facilities.

 

BEST BANK

The granddaddy of regional banks, COMMERCE BANK, racks up its 10th Gold in this category, riding a 33 percent growth in assets over just the past five years, now surpassing $33 billion, with nearly 170 locations in seven states stretching from Colorado to Illinois. Silver goes to a different breed: COMMUNITYAMERICA CREDIT UNION, the region’s largest, with nearly $4 billion in assets. A tie for Bronze goes to UMB, the KC market leader in deposits ($17 billion of a total $24.6 billion are in the metro); and CENTRAL BANK OF THE MIDWEST, the largest of the 13 regional divisions of Jefferson City-based Central Bancompany.

 

BEST Engineering FIRM

Rapid growth. Record revenues. Global recognition. Employee ownership. All cylinders indeed firing at BURNS & MCDONNELL the region’s largest engineering firm, but one with construction, design and expertise in cybersecurity infrastructure claims the Gold. Our Silver winner also into its second century; Overland Park-based BLACK & VEATCH is a global leader in water, power and telecom infrastructure, as well as government services. Lenexa’s HENDERSON ENGINEERS powers up to secure the Bronze.

 

GENERAL CONTRACTOR (Large)

Three powerhouses in their sector; three civic gems in KC. A common denominator: All embrace employee ownership. Gold winner JE DUNN CONSTRUCTION CO. has more local work on its books than any other contractor, and a record of philanthropy and civic engagement that sets the bar high for all. BURNS & McDONNELL, with Silver honors, consistently clears that bar, as does Bronze winner McCOWNGORDON CONSTRUCTION.

 

GENERAL CONTRACTOR (SMALL)

CENTRIC grew to $165 million in billings in barely a decade. How? By developing expertise that serves diverse clients in office, health care, residential/multifamily, hospitality, industrial, institutional and retail. Silver goes to NEIGHBORS CONSTRUCTION, which has made the most of the past decade’s multifamily building frenzy. Our Bronze winner is STRAUB CONSTRUCTION, specialists in “buildings that serve others,” including banks, schools, apartments, churches and senior-living centers. 

 

BEST COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE FIRM

Since becoming a stand-alone entity in commercial realty in 2009, BLOCK REAL ESTATE SERVICES has consolidated its grip on the metrics that determine the region’s biggest firm in that space, and readers offer their Gold-plated endorsement. The full-service CRE firm manages more than 43 million feet of retail, office, and industrial properties; its multifamily group manages 7,350 units. Silver goes to AREA REAL ESTATE ADVISORS, which took shape in 2016 out of the former RED Brokerage. Bronze goes to REECE COMMERCIAL, whose agents have combined for $1.5 billion in sales and lease transactions for many of the biggest names in business.

 

BEST DRY CLEANER

When you need your business attire cleaned—fast and affordable—these three dry cleaners deliver on all counts. Start with PRIDE CLEANERS as our Gold winner and accessibility champ, with 40 metro-area locations. HANGERS CLEANERS, the Silver winner, offers services on everything from delicates to bed comforters to oxygen-free wedding dress preservation. And TIDE CLEANERS polishes up the Bronze with its “Anytime, Anywhere” declaration.

 

BEST HEALTH ClUB

With a score of operating centers from Topeka to Sedalia, anyone looking to get the blood pumping before work or burn off a business lunch afterward should have no trouble finding a PLANET FITNESS center. On the road? Members can access any of more than 2,000 centers nationwide, and readers respond with Gold. ORANGETHEORY, the oxygen-burning fitness regimen that
has caught fire nationwide, picks up the Silver. Bronze honors are split between LIFE TIME FITNESS (Overland Park, Lenexa) and GENESIS  HEALTH CLUBS, with 14 Kansas City area locations.

GROUND TRANSPORTATION

Diane Forgy isn’t one to boast, but the company she inspired her parents to start as a teen is now on a 13-year run as Gold winner in this category. OVERLAND CHAUFFEURED SERVICES became hers long ago, and she set about making it the go-to service for distinguished transportation options in this region and beyond. Silver rides with AGENDA: USA, where transit is just part of the event-planning skill set. And it seems a goodly number of readers don’t have a big travel radius: The 2.2-mile line of the KC STREETCAR earns Bronze.

BEST HEALTH INSURER

BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF KANSAS CITY is the biggest health insurer in this market, with a client base of 1 million, and earns Gold—again. HUMANA’S suite of health, vision, dental and Medicare supplemental coverages adds up to Silver honors. UNITEDHEALTHCARE, the largest for-profit insurer, secures the Bronze.

BEST HOSPITAL/MED CENTER

A clean sweep for hospitals near the metro area’s center—and three of the region’s four biggest, by annual admissions—as SAINT LUKE’S HOSPITAL is the choice for Gold this year. The main hospital and campus near the Plaza is home to cancer and cardiovascular institutes, as well as the 607-bed main medical center. ADVENTHEALTH SHAWNEE MISSION, riding a decade of growth and expansion in services, picks up Silver. The Bronze goes to the biggest medical  center in terms of annual admissions, The University of Kansas Hospital.

BEST HOTEL

THE INTERCONTINENTAL ON THE PLAZA has long been a reader favorite, and comes through again with the Gold. The hotel’s amenities, service and nearly unmatched views of the Plaza itself make it a powerful draw. New to the market in 2020, the LOEWS KANSAS CITY HOTEL has changed the Downtown skyline and drawn accolades good for Silver. Across Wornall Road from the Intercontinental, Bronze winner THE RAPHAEL is itself a venerable institution and perennial favorite.

BEST JANITORIAL SERVICE

CITY WIDE FACILITY SOLUTIONS is the new brand for the long-time fast-growth champion of franchised commercial-building services, based in Lenexa. “Janitorial,” in fact, just starts to describe
what this company offers with more than two dozen varied building and grounds maintenance services strikes Gold. Silver goes to WOODLEY BUILDING MAINTENANCE, a family-owned enterprise offering customized custodial services.

BEST LAW FIRM

A true Kansas City legal success story, POSLINELLI PC started as a three-man firm nearly half a century ago and today is an AmLaw 100 firm, among the most highly regarded practices in the nation. It has grown to cast a national footprint with offices in nearly a score of U.S. cities, but retains the allegiance of local business voters, who give it the Gold. SPENCER FANE, which set up shop in the this booming western trailhead back in 1879, picks up the Silver. STINSON LLP, with more than a dozen locations from the American West to New York City, earns the Bronze.

BEST MEETING FACILITY

The OVERLAND PARK CONVENTION CENTER has a powerful grip on business loyalty in this region, and yet again is rewarded with the Gold for its amenities, technology and response to client needs. Silver goes to the new kid on the block—literally, the block from Truman Road to 16th Street, and Wyandotte to Baltimore, is the LOEWS KANSAS CITY, with unmatched access to our Bronze winner, the KANSAS CITY CONVENTION CENTER, offers an abundance of options.

BEST RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE FIRM

In Kansas City, residential real estate has no Gold name bigger than REECENICHOLS. With 2,900 agents and more than $5.5 billion in annual sales volume, this Berkshire Hathaway company has been setting standards for home sales since two prominent agencies merged in 2001, but each traces roots back decades before that. RE/MAX, the flag flown by some of the region’s fastest-growing companies, takes home the Silver. Another national brand throwing off sales success here is KELLER WILLIAMS, our Bronze winner.

BEST RETIREMENT CENTER

Since its inception in 1970, JOHN KNOX VILLAGE has become THE standard for senior living options in the Kansas City market, and a model for that sector nationwide. With the full range of accommodations including independent living, assisted living and nursing-home care, the sprawling complex in Lee’s Summit has something for everyone of retirement age, and garners the Gold. Silver honors fall to BISHOP SPENCER PLACE, sandwiched between The Plaza and Westport, with a more intimate 98-unit capacity.

SMALL BUSINESS LENDER

At $2.2 billion in assets, it goes head-to-head with local institutions 10 times its size—and national ones 100-fold larger—but COUNTRY CLUB BANK emerged with the votes for Gold thanks in large part to the get-it-done attitude it brought to small-business lending with the Paycheck Protection Program during pandemic COMMERCE BANK, the biggest of the Missouri-based regional banks here, locks up the Silver. The KC wing of ARVEST BANK, part of the Arkansas-based bank giant, earns Bronze.

BEST SPA

Picking up its 12th Gold since breaking onto the Best of Business scene in 2000, BIJIN SALON & SPA in Prairie Village continues to impress with its skills and services in hair care and beauty. More than just a great cut, the skin care, hand and foot care and massage therapies make this a full-body restorative. PAR EXSALONCE in Overland Park, an Aveda salon embracing the purity of natural products claims Silver, Bronze goes to THE ELMS HOTEL & SPA, a rejuvenation touchstone in Excelsior Springs.

 

BEST WEALTH MANAGER

People aren’t just voting for CREATIVE PLANNING with Best of Business Kansas City ballots; they’re doing it with their investment dollars. That explains a great deal of how this Overland Park  wealth manager has soared past the $55 billion threshold for assets under management for clients nationwide, earning Gold honors in the process. Leawood’s MARINER WEALTH ADVISORS, another firm climbing the regional chart of firms ranked by their AUM, secures the Silver

 

BEST WIRELESS CARRIER

VERIZON earns the Gold standard of service for wireless service. Kansas City continues to patronize   T-MOBILE after the organization purchased Sprint and earns the Silver honor. The organization maintains some presence in the marketplace. AT&T becomes in Bronze in this   nearly monopolistic category.