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Business Briefs

Local company building broadband network

Bluebird Media LLC announced plans to roll out a high-speed broadband network, servicing both rural and urban areas throughout most of Missouri. The company hopes to have the system fully operational within the next 18 to 24 months.

“Our vision is to enable even the most rural areas of our state to join the broadband digital revolution,” said Otto Maly, Bluebird managing partner. “Bluebird will provide the residents of Missouri with an affordable broadband high-speed Internet service designed to make their lives more enjoyable and more productive.”

Bluebird plans to deliver broadband Internet to homes and businesses at eight megabytes per second or higher, a rate faster than most phone or cable Internet services, the company said in a news release.

The company also plans to release a variety of video entertainment and voice services and plans to release details about pricing and availability in the coming months.

Bluebird Media is based in Columbia and operates as a subsidiary of Cygnus Towers LLC.

Bumgartners sell Image Technologies

Steve and Lynda Baumgartner have sold Image Technologies of Missouri to an office equipment dealership based in St. Louis.

Image Technologies, a company that was founded in 1995 and won the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year in 2007, will become a division of Copying Concepts, a Sumner Group company with operations in Arkansas and Texas as well as Missouri. The change was effective Aug. 1.

Image Technologies will continue to be the name of the company, all 18 employees will be staying with the company and it will continue to sell the same lines of equipment, including Minolta and Kyocera copiers, Lynda Baumgartner said.

“It’s an easy transition; everything they (Copying Concepts) sell, we sell,” she said. “There will be no hiccups in service, and the staff will actually get better benefits.”

Lynda Baumgarter said she will be leaving the company at the end of October and will be attending Stephens College to get a master’s degree in strategic leadership, but Steve will continue to run the operation. The corporate office will take over most of her duties, such as human resource management and marketing.

“I cried last week about giving ‘the baby’ away,” she said. “But I got over that. It’s the best for everybody.”

Their three children have no interest in taking over the business, she said, and they were unsuccessful in finding a suitable business partner.

True Media acquires search engine marketing firm

True Media, a media strategy and communications company based in Columbia, is acquiring Search Driven Technologies, a search engine marketing firm based in St. Louis.

True Media President Jack Miller said Thursday that the acquisition is effective Saturday. Search Driven Technologies will function under the True Media name and will remain at its St. Louis offices.

Miller said adding the Search Driven Technologies team will help True Media meet the market demand for expanded digital and interactive services.

Tommi Davis, who created Search Driven Technologies in 2005, will lead True Media’s efforts in St. Louis as the vice president of client development and search engine optimization.

VA Mortgage Center moving

VA Mortgage Center.com plans to move into the vacant building on Grindstone Parkway that formerly housed the Ice Chalet and the Ice Chalet Antique Mall.

The Bukoswki brothers, Brock and Brant, have always tried to make their company a fun place to work – every day is casual Friday and employees play games during breaks, such as washers tournaments in the parking lot.

But Bukowski said they have no plans to bring back ice skating as a unique perk. Renovating the space into offices will be a big job, he added. The 43,000-square-foot building is on a 6.3-acre site near U.S. Highway 63.

Bukowski said they were unsuccessful in finding a suitable new building with 30,000 square feet or more of office space.

“We didn’t want to do a remodel,” he said.

The company has simply outgrown its offices near the Forum Boulevard-Chapel Hill Road intersection. There are now 250 employees working in the main office on Chapel Plaza Court and in two satellite offices in the Peachtree Plaza area.

The closing is scheduled to take place in two months, and it will take another nine to 12 months to renovate the building.

Census Bureau moving back to Parkade

Like a migrating bird, the U.S. Census Bureau is coming back to roost at Parkade Plaza.

The agency has leased a customized 6,000-square-foot space in the center on Business Loop 70 West. The Parkade Center also housed the Census Bureau in 1999.

Parkade manager Ben Gakinya said construction is scheduled to be finished Aug. 5, and the government agency plans to move into the space in mid-August.

The Census Bureau will have 52 employees in Columbia working to gather data for the census, which the federal government does every 10 years.

Health care center opens in south

Providence Urgent Care has opened a health center at 202 East Nifong Blvd. that is owned and staffed by two physicians who have been practicing medicine in Columbia for almost 10 years combined.

The health center has x-ray and laboratory services and will provide walk-in services to patients with non-emergency medical needs such as sprains, common flu, abrasions, drug screenings and physical exams. The staff members have all worked in hospital emergency rooms.

“We believe it is time for convenient care centers to have the same level of board-certified physicians as those staffing hospital emergency rooms,” said Dr. Scott Schultz, co-owner of Providence Urgent Care. “The emergency room is the place to go if you have a life-threatening illness or injury. Most medical problems, however, don’t require an ER visit or its associated costs.”

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