The Kilted Buffalo, LLC, with locations in Birkdale Village and Langtree at the Lake, was recognized by the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Friday, May 6th as the 2016 Small Business of the Year. In a first time move by the chamber of commerce, it recognized dual recipients of the award as both The Kilted Buffalo and Savory Moments, made extremely compelling cases for the annual business recognition.
Bill Russell, president of the chamber, said the judges felt Savory Moments, a local family operatied catering company, had grown their very successful business in a conventional manner – growth in revenues, market share, employees, and location. It was The Kilted Buffalo’s entrepreneurial approach to their business and operations, however, that intrigued the judges and led to their co-selection as The Best of the Best at Lake Norman.
Shawn Shrader, the Proprietor of the Kilted Buffalo opened his unique men’s hair salon in Birkdale Village five years ago. The business combined the concepts of “contemporary barbershop” with “neighborhood pub” creating a highly successful venture that has seen a second location opening at Langtree at the Lake.
Andrew Warfield, Editor of the Lake Norman Citizen Newspaper shared with chamber of commerce leaders why he felt The Kilted Buffalo was the right selection as the 2016 Small Business of the Year, “Shawn Shrader took a gamble when he opened the Kilted Buffalo. The concept was new to the area - a neighborhood pub that sells only beer and wine, does not prepare food but allows carry-out and delivery to customers inside, and cuts men’s hair. It was an instant hit with continuous growth over the past five to six years. Plus opening his second Lake Norman location within the last two years makes The Kilted Buffalo highly deserving of the honor of Small Business of the Year, particularly when considering its charitable efforts.”
The award was presented by 2017 Incoming Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Jay Lesemann, Jr. and Chamber President Bill Russell. Assisting the chamber was Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla who cited the regional approach Shrader has taken opening locations in both Huntersville and Moorevelle. The mayor said businesses like The Kilted Buffalo do not recognize town city limits and are not constrained by municipal boundaries. Instead, their market is the larger Lake Norman community. Shrader was joined by Jenny Monnin, the chief stylist and manager of The Kilted Buffalo Men's Salon along with Ken Easter, Director of Operations.
Shrader answered questions posed to him about the business. Below are his responses:
How has the business grown over the last year(s): you can speak to revenues, number of employees, locations.
We have grown by leaps and bounds in the 5 plus years we have been open here in Huntersville, Birkdale Village. From the day before we opened our doors to the public hosting the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce AfterHours & ribbon cutting ceremony to today we have continued to grow significantly showing year over year sales growth for 5 straight years and by more than tripling the number of local people we employ. We are proud to be part of the Lake Norman community and have been fortunate enough to open a second location around LKN at LangTree at the Lake in Mooresville.
What innovative or successful business practice; marketing, events have ensured your success? What community activities are you involved in?
Our unique business of “contemporary barbershop” and neighborhood pub was created to bring back the days of old notion of bringing the community together and allowing them a place to gather like the old time barbershops or public house. We have strived from the beginning to become a positive member of the LKN community with grass roots marketing and involvement by partnering with all different kinds of local charities, groups, events and businesses. We believe that marketing and community involvement go hand in hand for example, sponsoring a LKN Little league team, and a local adult co-ed softball team.
We are tying local and national charities into a lot of our unique marketing events. We feel by creating fresh and exciting events to grow our business and bring our community together while raising money for great causes has been a big part of our ongoing successes. We are proud to say we help create events and host charity guest bartender events almost weekly and have helped raise over $20,000 a year for the past four years running and are on track to exceed that amount in 2016.
Some unique event examples are our recent “Zero k” race for The Hope House of Huntersville, our annual Kentucky Derby party and horse auction benefiting Kids Rein of Huntersville, to the numerous guest bartender events we host for all different types of causes for example: the annual Great Dane Rescue event hosted by Huntersville town commissioner Rob Kidwell to breast cancer awareness events, raising money for locals citizens in need and many other great causes.
Thank you for the honor of being selected Small Business of the Year. We look forward to continuing to grow our businesses and help the community for years to come.
The below President's Message, while addressed to and intended for Chamber Members whose businesses are located in Cornelius, it is being distributed to all Lake Norman Chamber members as a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) is being considered for the Towns of Huntersville and Mooresville. The message speaks to the efforts of the Chamber on behalf of the struggling businesses at exit 28 and also how the Chamber of Commerce is working to promote all of the member businesses throughout the Lake region.
Lake Norman Chamber Members in Cornelius:
Last Wednesday, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, working with the Town of Cornelius, hosted a merchants meeting at Prosciutto's Pizzeria (Shops on the Green). The Chamber is indebted to Joel Phyffer of Prosciutto's for allowing us to gather there and to Susan Medlin, President of Vintage Marketing who facilitated the meeting.
The merchants discussed ways they could market and promote their businesses particularly during the holiday season. I have posted many of those suggestions on the Chamber's Member Blog. We encourage you to visit the Blog and review the ideas. Many of the suggestions, we have already acted on. The Chamber has asked the Town of Cornelius to request NC DOT and Blythe Construction to delay any further constructions until after the holidays.
Cynthia Team, president of Team CSI, has developed a positive Face Book page called Exit 28 is Great for merchants and other small businesses to positively promote events and businesses at Exit 28. We contacted several Charlotte television stations including WCNC and WSOC which both ran stories on air. Cornelius Town Mayor Chuck Travis, Manager Anthony Roberts, and myself met with The Charlotte Observer yesterday and we anticipate a very positive article interviewing several of our local business owners soon.
The meeting itself was reported by both CorneliusNews.net and CorneliusToday. Just today, the Lake Norman Citizen weighed in on a column entitled: Countering 'ridiculousness' with a positive message and the Herald Weekly published my editorial "Consider Shopping Local for the Holiday." The tide is certainly starting to turn in favor of local business!
Acting on a request by the Chamber, the Town of Cornelius has relaxed the Sign Ordinance regarding banners during the holiday shopping season from Black Friday to New Years. Over the next few weeks, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will continue to promote the theme: Shop Lake Norman. Support your local businesses. From NorthLake Mall to Troutman – we've got it all!
Let's all work together and make this year an outstanding holiday shopping season for both the consumer and store owner. Thank each of you for your support of the chamber and for all you do to make the Lake Norman region a great place to live, work, and visit!
W.E. "Bill" Russell, CCE, IOM
President & CEO
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce