The Kansas Sampler Foundation announced the 8 Wonders of Kansas Commerce finalists on January 5. Finalist representatives gathered at the Kansas Sampler Center near Inman to hear the news.
The 24 finalists were picked from a group of over 100 that the public had nominated. Criteria required that the business be publicly accessible for tours or that their story be on permanent display at a museum. The finalist could be a past or present business.
In alphabetical order the finalists are:
Baxter's Bait & Tackle, Stockton
Big Brutus, West Mineral
Bowersock Mills & Power Co., Lawrence
Brant's Meat Market, Lucas
Brookover Feed Yards, Garden City
Cloud Ceramics, Concordia
Cobalt Boats, Neodesha
Dessin Fournir, Plainville
El Dorado Oil Field
Hemslojd, Inc., Lindsborg
Koerperich Bookbinders, Inc., Selden
MarCon Pies, Washington
Mill Creek Antiques, Paxico
Millers of Claflin, Claflin
Moon Marble Company, Bonner Springs
RANS, Inc., Hays
Ringneck Ranch, Tipton
Stafford County Flour Mills, Hudson
The Grasshopper Company, Moundridge
Vonada Stone Company, Sylvan Grove
Wichita Aviation Industry
Winter Livestock, Inc., Dodge City
Wolf Creek Generating Station, Burlington
Each finalist had to have a characteristic that made it unique in some aspect of its field and possess some "wow" traits.
Public vote will determine the top eight. People are encouraged to vote online at 8wonders.org, call 620.585.2374 for a ballot, or pick up a ballot at a finalist. Voting begins January 5 and will end February 17 at midnight. The top eight will be announced before the end of March.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, "The goal was not to choose the top money-making businesses in Kansas but to select businesses, big or small, that have reached a gold standard in their arena -- and that also allowed group tours or are open for retail business. The contest web site provides a grand snapshot of Kansas businesses."
Educating the public about Kansas and encouraging travel in the state is the purpose of the 8 Wonders series organized by the non-profit Kansas Sampler Foundation. The overall 8 Wonders and contests for Architecture and Art have been completed. The rural culture elements yet to be showcased are Cuisine, Customs, Geography, History, and People.
Penner continued, "Winners do not receive a cash reward or sculpture made in their honor. The only goal is to educate the world about Kansas -- and have fun doing it. These are incredible finalists. Read all about them!"
Paper ballots will likely be available at each business or by calling 620.585.2374.