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April: A Closer Look

Big Tree Beard Co.

A proper gentleman must maintain a well-kept beard. This is the concept behind Columbia online startup Big Tree Beard Co., a “maker of fine beard oils” promising “handcrafted radness for your beard.” Customers can choose sweet mint, citrus-lavender or backwoods scented oils for $18 a bottle or all three for $45. All it takes is six to eight drops of oil vigorously rubbed into your face for a soft, healthy beard. The company is named after Boone County’s “Big Tree,” the 350-year-old, 90-foot-tall bur oak south of Columbia, near McBaine, Missouri. Columbia residents with big beards can now look to Big Tree for their facial hair maintenance needs.

Contact: Big Tree Beard Co., 573-424-7226


Smoothie King

The international health-food franchise opened a new location at 805 E. Nifong Blvd., the space formerly occupied by Taqueria El Rodeo. First-time franchisee Jackie Floyd opened the location in January, with plans to open four more stores in the next five years: three in Columbia, one in Jefferson City. The opening of Smoothie King comes just two months after the closure of Blenders smoothie shop and five months after the opening of Jamba Juice, both located downtown. Smoothie King has more than 700 units worldwide, according to the company’s website. In 2011, the business was purchased by SK USA Inc., a South Korean company led by successful Smoothie King franchisee Wan Kim. In February 2014, Smoothie King bought the naming rights to the arena of the New Orleans Pelicans NBA team, dubbing it Smoothie King Center.

Contact: Smoothie King, 573-228-6333


Corrections Auditing Group

CAG carries out audits of prisons and jails to curb the disturbing prevalence of sexual assault in the prison system. The company’s offices are located at 1100 Kennesaw Ridge Road in north Columbia. Owner Ed Robinson spent 21 years working in the Missouri Department of Corrections before retiring in 2012 as deputy inspector general. A CAG inspection ensures facilities comply with standards outlined in the 2012 Prison Rape Elimination Act and create a safe rehabilitation environment for inmates and staff.

Contact: Ed Robinson, 636-290-2201


Jack in the Box

Fast-food junkies have another new Columbia location to hit with Jack in the Box, which opened in January at 1401 Grindstone Parkway. The burger chain announced plans for the location back in October, which included a small addition to the existing building Taco Bueno occupied until 2011. Jack in the Box was the first drive-thru-focused restaurant chain, debuting in San Diego in 1951. The chain is also credited with creating Drive-Thru Day, which is celebrated on July 24. Jack in the Box has restaurants open in 21 states and Guam, but before the opening of the Columbia location, the nearest Jack in the Box was in Warrenton, Missouri. Jack in the Box Inc. also owns the popular Mexican food franchise Qdoba Mexican Grill.

Contact: Missouri Jack LLC, 636-697-7315


Wehoit LLC

The business-consulting firm operated by Ella and Jerry Wehoit aims to help develop minority business initiatives. The company’s website says it assists businesses with “grand strategies that increase minority participation, generate revenue and overall enhance community development.” Wehoit begins with an analysis of existing organizational problems for businesses and then develops plans for improvement. The Wehoits utilize the REDI Downtown Incubator at 500 E. Walnut St., which provides a workplace and entrepreneurial support for startup businesses. The company is a state-certified woman- and minority-owned business.

Contact: Wehoit LLC, 573-442-5890


HighPointe Financial Group

The financial planning group, a member of MassMutual Financial Group, opened an office at 110 N. 10th St. and offers a number of business strategies designed to provide long-term financial security and planning for businesses and individuals. HighPointe has offices in Overland Park, Kansas, and the Kansas City area, but the Columbia office is the first site in mid-Missouri. The company’s website emphasizes HighPointe’s commitment to clients and flexibility over time as financial needs evolve.

Contact: HighPointe Financial Group, 573-449-8188



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