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Sparkling Success: Betz Jewelers is Columbia’s No. 1 Small Business

Betz Jewelers

Five local gems were recognized as 2024 SBOTY finalists.

And the winner is …

Betz Jewelers.

The longtime Columbia jewelry store and a downtown staple since 1983 is the 2024 Columbia Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year. The Chamber made the announcement May 9 at Cooper’s Ridge in Boonville during an awards celebration that hailed all five Small Business of the Year finalists. 

The event culminated Small Business Week 2024, which ran May 6-9. Each year, the Chamber honors the small business community by recognizing five exceptional small businesses for their attention to innovation, community involvement, and financial success. Finalists for Small Business of the Year are nominated by Chamber members and selected by a panel of expert judges. 

To be considered for Small Business of the Year, a business must be a for-profit business, a Chamber member in good standing, and have fewer than twenty-five full-time employees. The 2024 finalists were announced at the February 2024 Quarterly Membership Breakfast. 

In addition to Small Business of the Year winner Betz Jewelers, the other finalists for the award were The Cleanest LLC, Ai Painting Plus, Lumia Medical Spa, and The COMO 411. During Small Business Week, each finalist was honored with a Chamber Ambassadors ribbon-cutting and open houses to show off the best their businesses have to offer during.  

Another Small Business of the Year finalist bonus was getting time to present their businesses — noting successes, challenges, and future plans — at the weekly 1 Million Cups gathering at the REDI Hub in downtown Columbia. 

Betz Jewelers

Owners: Rachel and Robert Flynn 

Betz Jewelers has one of the most recognizable tag lines among all Columbia businesses: “Beautiful moments begin at Betz.” And those moments have been happening over a span of five decades now. Family-owned Betz Jewelers recently celebrated forty years in business with a store remodel in its tucked-away space on the third floor of the Executive Building at the corner of Sixth Street and Broadway. 

Owners Rachel and Robert Flynn — fourth-generation owners — tout the location as ideal for providing “an exclusive experience for in-store shoppers.” (Betz also has a customer-friendly and fully shoppable e-commerce website at betzjewelers.com.) 

Betz Jewelers specializes in bridal, colored gemstones, custom jewelry manufacturing, and jewelry repair. 

After years of experience at Betz Jewelers, Rachel and Robert Flynn bought the business in January 2024 from L.C. Betz, Rachel’s father, continuing the family legacy. Rachel’s background is in public relations and marketing, and she uses those skills to manage the Betz social media accounts. Robert is a certified graduate gemologist, and he puts those skills to use designing and appraising jewelry. Their two children — Rainey, age 9, and Lealand, age 8 — are the voices behind Betz’s radio ads. 

The Betz Jewelers story and history traces its roots to Glenn Betz beginning his apprenticeship as a jewelry craftsman in 1941.  

The Betz website promises customer satisfaction. 

“Whether you’re looking for a 3-carat diamond engagement ring or a watch battery, we can help,” the website explains. “Know that you’ll be welcomed into our store, no matter how large or how small the job. We’re proud to say that our success is measured in satisfied customers.”

The COMO 411

Owner: Adonica Coleman 

The COMO 411 story started in 2022, “in the overactive mind of a local business owner.” That’s how Adonica Coleman describes herself and her business’s beginnings. Adonica spent the last fifteen years involved in community life in Columbia: as a citizen, wife, mom, small business owner, volunteer, board member, and business coach.  

Adonica is the owner of A2D Events, established in Columbia in 2011. The company specializes in corporate, fundraising, virtual, and community events. She is also the creator of The COMO 411, a digital media company focused on Columbia and surrounding communities. Adonica hosts the weekly talk show, The Daily Blend w/AC, airing on KBIA and all social media platforms and Community Connections airing on KRCG 13. 

Her community work includes serving as a board member at Granny’s House, the BOLD Academy, the Chamber of Commerce, and Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI). She was a part-time business coach with the Missouri Women’s Business Center from 2020-2022.  

Adonica’s Chamber connections are strong: She is the chair-elect for the Chamber of Commerce for the upcoming 2024-2025 year. 

She explains on her website that the experiences and relationships she had and saw in Columbia led to the idea “that many of the happenings in Columbia sometimes feel siloed.” 

“There needed to be some mechanism to connect all the dots,” she said. “As the idea of a local talk show began to take shape, so did the carefully curated team necessary to turn that dream into a reality.” She describes COMO 411’s belief that “storytelling creates connections, which leads to deeper relationships and an engaged, supportive community where we can thrive together.”

Lumia Med Spa

Owner: Austyn Belle Isle 

Lumia Med Spa was founded on the core belief that true beauty lies within, says owner Austyn Belle Isle, and the spa’s treatments are focused on letting your inner beauty shine outward through education, empowerment, and a fresh, energized outward appearance. 

Austyn founded Lumia in 2020 as the result of her desire to provide “affirming, customized, empowered care for those seeking to look and feel their best.” She says clients value being an active partner in their aesthetic and wellness journey as they make educated, empowered decisions to meet their goals.  

Austyn started the business based on those goals and the skills she built in a career in critical care and anesthesia. She adds, “I’ve learned to apply my clinical skill and knowledge to help others shine.” 

Columbia has been her adopted home since 2003. Austyn is a graduate of Mizzou’s Sinclair School of Nursing (summa cum laude), and built a critical care background caring for trauma, surgical, and burn patients. Following advanced practice training to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, she returned to Columbia in 2012 to deliver anesthesia to mid-Missouri as a doctor of nurse anesthesia practice. She later received her Aesthetics Injector Certification via Aura Aesthetics Academy. 

Aesthetics allows Austyn to blend “art and science, care and precision, needlework and heartwork” into education and information so that clients can make decisions that will serve them best. She says Lumia offers a holistic approach to aesthetic care and wellness in a manner free from judgment and shame. 

“Our doors are open to all,” Austyn explains. “Our treatments are designed to provide you with renewed feelings of self-confidence and a quiet and relaxing break from our busy lifestyles.”

Ai Painting Plus

Owners: Austin and Lacie Ilsley 

The Ilsley’s present their business as “more than just a painting company. They insist, “We’re Columbia, Missouri’s premier customer service and people development company that just so happens to be really good at painting houses.” The team’s mission is to “paint joy into people’s homes and spaces while elevating the trade.” 

Austin adds, “Our team of skilled painters is dedicated to not only delivering high-quality painting services but also providing unparalleled customer service. We believe in the power of people and are committed to developing our team members to ensure they embody our values of professionalism, integrity, and passion for their craft.” 

Ai Painting Plus has more than twenty years of experience in the painting industry. 

 Austin Ilsley started Ai Painting Plus in 2013 after developing the skills and expertise needed while working in the trade since he was 16. In 2021, his wife, Lacie, became a co-owner, bringing a successful career of growing businesses, developing teams, and building culture. 

Austin, a lifelong Columbia resident and a 2007 graduate of Hickman High School, doesn’t flinch at the suggestion that his leadership development program might produce future business leaders or entrepreneurs who could become competitors. He welcomes that possibility, saying that would be good for the industry — and his team members. 

“The most satisfying part of my job is the leadership and people development,” he explains. “It’s the ‘why’ behind what I do. There is no better feeling I get than from providing our team members with the coaching and support they need to grow as individuals and professionals.” 

The Cleanest LLC

Owner: Emily Haynes 

The Cleanest LLC is a prime example of how the community views the significance of being a Small Business of the Year finalist. In her presentation at Columbia’s 1 Million Cups, owner Emily Haynes described a major uptick in business and referrals as a result of being one of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s five finalists for the honor. 

The Cleanest, LLC began operation in June 2018 with Emily as the sole employee, and with just one commercial property client. Since then, Emily has grown her team, and her business portfolio now has numerous local businesses and homes. 

“We provide consistently thorough and detail-oriented cleaning to clients throughout Columbia, Missouri, and surrounding areas,” Emily said in a Chamber email.  

In just six years, the team has developed a focus on providing “great service [that] begins and ends with experienced and friendly professionals.” As a Columbia native and a 2012 graduate of Hickman High School, Emily exemplifies the outcome and ongoing success of the community’s investment in its young people. She secured her first job at the age of 14 through the city’s CARE program, and she began her professional and managerial career at a local law firm in 2015. 

In May 2018, she made a pitch to the owner of the law firm about maintaining the cleanliness of the facility in the evenings and she was granted the position — on the condition that she start an LLC. Her company began the following month, and Emily remained a manager at the law firm until August 2022 before beginning the full-time journey of being her own boss. 

“I absolutely love what I do,” she said. The ability to provide individuals, families, and businesses with cleanliness, peace of mind, and contentment is so fulfilling for me.”

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