Local business makeover contest kicks off

By BY CORIANNE EGANcegan@paducahsun.com

One of the small business community's most anticipated contests of the year kicked off Thursday morning as KeeFORCE announced

the start of its Xtreme Business Makeover competition.

The contest, which is in its fourth year, has given full-service prize packages to three local businesses previously. Occasions

Unlimited took home the 2013 prize package, Glisson Vineyards won in 2012, and the inaugural contest winner was Riley Architect

Services in Mayfield.

"I think what it does is that if you own a business you don't have expertise in all of the areas this package provides," said

KeeFORCE president Terry McKee. "You now get all of the information you need to make important decisions. The prizes are definitely

a game-changer."

The prize package this year comes in with a value just under $45,000 from 22 businesses. KeeFORCE is donating one year of

its Xtreme Support Help Desk Plan, which provides network help for up to 10 computers and one server. Capstone HR is lending

a hand with HR consulting and reviews, and EntrePaducah will offer consultations on everything from networking to state incentives,

while 1187 Creative is providing $5,000 worth of branding and marketing services. The Four Rivers Business Journal is giving

away print ads to the winner. WPSD Local 6 and WKMS are both giving away on-air advertising.

FNB Bank is giving $500 to the winner, as well as consumer loan discounts. Frick Investment Group and Money Concepts will

provide financial planning and monitoring for one year, and Glisson Vineyards added an office party for 20 guests with alcohol

discounts. Williams, Williams & Lentz, CPA will provide an overview of the winner's bookkeeping system, and Turner Communications

will review all communications policies with recommendations. Workforce Solutions at West Kentucky Community & Technical College

will add four hours of leadership training to the pot.

The prize package also includes a free ad on iList Paducah's website, business structure reviews by Long & Long, LLC, stationary

materials from Minuteman Press, an advertising package from MyLocalConnect.com, and on-hold messaging services from Omni On

Hold Messaging. The winner will also receive a risk management workshop with Peel & Holland, $500 of products from Petter

Business Systems, $1,000 worth of imprinted merchandise from Rene Advertising Specialties, Inc., and a specially designed

website from Solution Media Group.

"It's a feel good project, not just for us but for all of the people involved," McKee said. "They get to help and we get to

help and at the end of the day somebody is better off for it."

This year, applications from businesses will be taken on KeeFORCE's website only. After filling out the application, the business

owners will have to complete a questionnaire and a KeeFORCE staff member will follow up with an on-site interview. An independent

panel of judges will then review all of the materials, and will make a judgment call based on the business' needs and the

potential lasting impact of the prize package. The deadline for applications is March 9, and the winner will be announced

April 22.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.