closerlook-fullride-sportscomplexFull Ride Sports Complex

In an active sports town like Columbia, Chad Martin wanted to provide his community with a place that celebrated the intersection of sports and casual fun while also providing services for young athletes, like his sons. To fill the need, he started Full Ride Sports Complex.

Columbia’s “premier multi-sport experience,” according to Martin, provides a wide range of services and products including full indoor arenas, an archery range, a ProBatter pitching simulator, batting cages, a bar and grill, a barber shop, and more. With many amenities, the complex hosts birthdays, corporate parties, social events, and college outings as well as sports training. 

When starting to plan for the facility, Martin thought about the full-ride football scholarship he received to play at MU. Martin says that being able to connect education and sports provided him with the ability to succeed later in life.

Ultimately, Martin prides himself on being able to provide services and facilities where “there’s a little something for everybody, without having to pay an arm and a leg.” Martin plans to expand the facility’s services over the next year.

Contact: 573-447-7529
Address: 2604 Paris Rd.


closerlook-piebirdbakeshoppePie Bird Bake Shoppe

Julie Brown launched her business out of her home after 13 long years of contemplation; a working mother of two, Brown struggled with making the decision to take a chance on her dream of opening a bakery. It wasn’t until her kids encouraged her that she finally went for it.

Since opening in August 2016, the business has grown mostly by word of mouth. The store’s most popular item is her caramel apple crunch pie — the dish includes hand-chopped nuts, caramel, cinnamon, and streusel. Brown’s menu options also include muffins, cookies, bread, and more holiday favorites.

However, taste isn’t the only priority for Brown — visuals are also an important factor. “You eat with your eyes first,” she says.

The shop’s name comes from a baking term and a remembrance of Brown’s late father. A pie bird is a ceramic bird used to help disperse heat throughout a pie, but it’s also a reference to her father’s love of birds.

Within the next five years, Brown hopes to expand her business by obtaining a retail space, adding new menu options, and giving back to the community. 

Contact: 573-489-5196


closerlook-globalhikerGlobal Hiker

Air BnB has lodging. Uber has transportation. Global Hiker plans to be the disrupting innovation behind travel.

Alex Winkler, founder and CEO of Global Hiker, is a senior at MU studying international management and a devoted traveler, having been to more than 22 countries. Global Hiker helps facilitate tourism and adventure by connecting travelers with local tour guides. According to the Global Hiker website, the team of experienced local guides “can share some of the areas’ best kept secrets, personal experiences, and find what isn’t being shown on Google.”

The application includes a variety of unique features such as “Boots,” which enables users to customize their travel through personalized interests designed to fit user needs and “travel style/personality.” For example, a user could list information with an interest in food, museums, or penny-pinching deals.

The concept behind the app won Global Hiker second place in the Bringing Up Business pitch competition in October. Winkler and the Global Hiker team plan to launch the beta version of the app in December and hope to make the app available for free in early 2017.

Contact: 816-616-4034

Recent News

Eating, Baking, and Cooking on The Loop

Dreaming of and planning for the food production possibilities on The Loop. It was foodie heaven—a large commercial kitchen full of chefs bottling sauces...

A Passion for Family Medicine

Caring for your family is a difficult task. As a family physician, caring for hundreds of families is a big responsibility. One local nonprofit...

A Legacy for Columbia’s Future

Local business owner Thom Baker seeks to leave Columbia a gift when he retires. Tucked away in his equipment-lain home office, Thom Baker of...

Kevin Crane, Circuit Judge, Circuit 13 Division 3

Bio: I was born in 1961 at Boone County Hospital to Laura Pace Crane, a librarian, and Thomas E. Crane, a rural letter carrier....

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, United States Representative District 4

Bio: I represent Missouri’s 4th Congressional District. I currently serve on the House Agriculture and Armed Services Committees, and I am the Chairwoman of...