FUELED BY SMALL BUSINESS

Two days after Thanksgiving — following the bewildering Black Friday “big box” craze — we honor America’s entrepreneurial spirit (with hard earned dollars) during Small Business Saturday.

The tradition of bolstering local brick-and-motor shops started in 2010. Shortly thereafter, the United States Chamber of Commerce began recognizing independent companies across the country with its Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award.

Thomas J. Donohue is the President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He says “small businesses are a critical and vibrant segment of the U.S. economy. Despite the challenges they face, small business owners never stop innovating, taking risks, working hard, and dreaming big”

This year, the award was bestowed upon a company that exemplifies those four critical points. Golden Openings is a small business that is in the business of helping other businesses creatively celebrate their grand openings and ground breakings.

The Iowa-based company taps into the potential of petroleum to produce oversized nylon ribbons, plastic scissors, chrome plated ceremonial shovels and gold-plated keys to the city, as well as custom-branded hard hats, giant light switches and gift bows the size of buildings.

From the moment I learned that big scissors didn’t readily exist, I never looked back.

Like most prosperous business, Golden Openings realized success in fulfilling a need. 

While working for her local Chamber of Commerce in the mid-1990s, founder Kimberly Baeth says she was regularly confronted by proprietors with a recurring set of questions: Where on earth can we find giant scissors that actually cut? And who prints wide custom ribbon?

“From the moment I learned that big scissors didn’t readily exist, I never looked back,” Baeth says. 

Her first vital investment was a gift from her father. Handy in the workshop, she says he constructed the company’s first set of huge wooden scissors for her 26th birthday. “Thanks to ingeniously placed razor blades, they actually could cut ribbon,” Baeth recalls. They were a hit among Urbandale business owners. With larger aspirations, she launched Golden Openings out of her garage in 1997.

Fast forward 20 years, and Golden Openings is on track to post revenue in excess of $1.7 million-dollars in 2017. 

Baeth says her company was the first to patent and specialize in producing giant stainless-steel scissors with different colored handles. “Thousands of chambers of commerce, as well as colleges and universities, hotels, professional sports teams, and businesses all around the country now own a pair of our scissors,” she says.  

“Golden Openings is the first and original grand opening, ground breaking and promotional event super store of its kind.”

The client list of Golden Openings includes thousands of small business, as well as companies with more notable names, such as Disney, Facebook, Google, The White House, and professional sports teams. Baeth says they’ve also produced props for film and television, as well as public figures, such as Oprah and Warren Buffet.

Not only did the U.S. Chamber recognize Golden Openings as the 2017 Small Business of the Year, but they also received the Community Excellence Award. Chamber president Donahue says “Golden Openings is a model of how small businesses strengthen their communities and local economies … helping thousands of businesses decide how to open their very own doors and make a continual impact in their communities.”

Baeth says the awards are humbling and credits her team for much of the success her company has realized. She says “helping others open their doors for the first time, celebrating their growth and achievements, could not any more rewarding. 

Waking up each day knowing so many people in the world need you and your services, is very rewarding and inspiring.” 

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