Vote for the Most Influential Entrepreneurs in Kansas City History

All Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24 and remain closed on Thursday, December 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday.

For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2009
Contact: Henry Fortunato
816.701.3514
Vote for the Most Influential Entrepreneurs in Kansas City History

Their names are synonymous with parks and parkways, stadiums and storefronts—the businessmen and women who shaped Kansas City from the ground up. These entrepreneurs left their mark by creating robust businesses, building infrastructure, and supporting philanthropic causes. Help them to leave their stamp on the city one more time by voting for your favorite local entrepreneurs.

In June, 2009, the Kansas City Public Library will open the new H&R Block Business and Career Center at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th Street. The names of eight entrepreneurs—the ones with the most votes—will be engraved on the center’s steps.

The twenty candidates are:

o Arthur Bryant: owner of the famous Arthur Bryant's Barbecue, a favorite spot of Harry Truman's
o François Chouteau: fur trader and central figure in the early history of Kansas City and Jackson County
o Kersey Coates: anti-slavery advocate and developer of Quality Hill and Coates House Hotel
o Chester Arthur Franklin: founder of The Call newspaper and community activist
o Joyce C. Hall: Philanthropist and founder of Hallmark Cards, the world's largest greeting card company
o Barnett Helzberg Sr.: founder of Helzberg Diamond Shops, later to become the third largest U.S. jewelry chain
o Ewing Kauffman: founder of Marion Laboratories, first Royals owner, and philanthropist
o William T. Kemper: philanthropist and leader of the Commerce Trust Company
o R. A. Long: Founder of the Long-Bell Lumber Co. and philanthropist for the Liberty Memorial
o Jacob Loose: board chairman of Loose-Wiles Biscuit Co., namesake of Loose Park
o August Meyer: civil engineer and "father" of the park and boulevard system
o William Rockhill Nelson: founder and editor of The Kansas City Star and Times; co-contributor to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
o J.C. Nichols: developer of the Country Club Plaza and influential urban planner
o Nell Donnelly Reed: founder of Donnelly Garment Co. and first local employer to offer extensive benefits
o Arthur Stilwell: railroad magnate and real estate developer
o Clara and Russell Stover: founders of Russell Stover Candies
o Thomas Swope: land developer and founder of Swope Park
o William Volker: founder of Volker & Co., philanthropist, and advocate for public health
o John Barber White: lumber magnate, conservationist, and donor of rare books to the Kansas City Public Library
o Willard Winner: interurban railroad, bridge, and real estate developer
o Or write in your own entrepreneur.

“Business and career centers are a new direction for public libraries,” said Crosby Kemper III, director of the Kansas City Public Library. “We are one of the few libraries to have a physical space with dedicated collections and one-on-one consultations. This center will serve as the ‘first step’ on the path to starting a business or finding a job. We are grateful for the generous support of H&R Block, another notable Kansas City business, for helping us to make this resource available to Library customers.”

To vote for your favorite local entrepreneurs, visit the home page of www.kclibrary.org. The link to this survey is in the Library Announcements section on the left hand side of the page. The survey will close on March 13, 2009.