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While working in St. Louis for a company that dabbled in game room and arcade items, Nic Parks quickly recognized there was an increasing demand for these products. Soon after, in 2006, he launched The Pinball Company, and the business has been growing ever since. Brooke Parks joined her husband in the company the following year, and the team has since increased to six employees. They’ve also added a 3,000-square-foot retail store in Columbia to their strong web presence.
The Parks believe their success is due in part to how personally attentive they are. “We strive to provide the highest quality game room products and the best service you’re going to find in the industry,” Brooke says. “It’s what really makes us stand apart from some of our competitors.”
The Pinball Company values being able to provide personal attention to each customer. “My favorite part is when someone calls and they don’t know where to start. I like to be able to educate them,” Brooke says. “It’s fun to help people choose the best machine to fit their family.”
Address: 6000 S. Sinclair Rd.
Bloom Bookkeeping provides bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses in Columbia. Lara Pieper, the owner, focuses on the day-to-day activities of these businesses. “I’m more interested in providing numbers that help the business owners run their business,” she says. “I do the paperwork part that business owners normally hate.”
Pieper graduated from MU in 2003 and earned her MBA from Columbia College last May. Her three sons are elementary-aged, and Pieper wanted to a job with more flexibility — so she created her own business, opening Bloom in October.
Currently, Bloom has about 10 clients. “I really enjoy working for a variety of different businesses, instead of my previous work history, which had been working for one company all the time,” Pieper says. “Now I get a little taste of everything. It keeps it interesting.”
Pieper says Bloom’s sole mission is to help small businesses run better. “I’m not a typical CPA or accountant,” she says. “I have a creative background, so I feel like I can speak their language as well as the accounting language and combine the two worlds.”
The Hatchery, located on Corporate Lake Drive, will be a co-working space featuring on-site child care. Owner Amanda Quick plans on unveiling The Hatchery this summer, providing women the ability to be both a professional and a parent.
The membership-based facility will feature an open seating area, a conference room, reservable private offices, a nursing room, and two child care rooms. Quick envisions The Hatchery being an alternative meeting space, a place for a work meeting other than a coffee shop.
Quick conducted primary research before opening, including interviews with 15 local women. She found that new working moms needed a place to connect without distractions.
Once a full-time realtor, Quick craved one-on-one time with her child when she became a mom, but she also wanted to continue her professional career. “The struggles of working at home with a child can be rather distracting,” she says. “And there’s the constant mom-guilt of putting your child in front of the TV so you can send an email. If we could have three hours of completely focused time, we could get so much more done.”
Address: 206 Corporate Lake Dr.