Growing Kansas City through Hospitality-Driven Experiences

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at 1:57 PM

Hospitality [hos-pi-tal-i-tee] – the friendly reception and treatment of guests and strangers; the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

To see the definition of hospitality written out, we can simplify a concept that shapes the decisions we as designers make every day for cities and communities who see the built environment as an opportunity to grow their national or international brand. Hospitality is the treatment and experience your guests have and is the primary driver that helps cities like ours grow. What’s unique about hospitality is that it should influence the visitor experience on a visceral level. It’s something embedded in the core values of the most attractive mid-sized cities. And it includes a wide variety of factors. It’s the experience visitors have purchasing a ticket online; it’s the traffic they do or don’t encounter; it’s the ease with which they navigate our downtown, find a restaurant, or visit our shops; it’s the quality of entertainment options we provide; it’s the ease of transportation; and it’s the interactions they have with Kansas Citians.

As a designer of public assembly buildings, including sports facilities, hospitality is really the core of our business. And, second, because as an avid fan of architecture, I see the direct impact the built environment can have on providing a hospitable experience for visitors. We all know the beauty of visiting a city and feeling welcomed, comfortable, and cared for. And from a customer perspective, we know what we love about certain experiences in our city, and we know the experiences that leave us wanting more. Take stadiums as an example. Because of the broad programmatic considerations and demands, stadiums should serve as a melting pot of the trends shaping dozens of other building types, providing other industries with a model for how they can operate and engage customers, turning them into loyal fans and brand ambassadors. This isn’t unlike how a city caters to visitors and residents by creating an experience that keeps folks coming back through careful planning and organic growth.

As information and experiences are shared faster than ever before, cities must differentiate themselves – and hospitality-driven design is a critical element to that equation. But how do we incorporate key hospitality trends to advance the visitor experience in our city? And how can design facilitate deeper levels of connection between people and a place?

Over the next decade, I predict we’ll see Kansas City responding to these trends in very tangible ways, including:

Moments of Connection – When a visitor arrives to the city, we have a high-profile opportunity to tell our story and reinforce our values. From graphics and interactive wayfinding to public art and murals, graphics can be used to celebrate our city and supplement the warm welcome we provide to visitors. We have to think about our buildings as a physical extension of our city brand, turning visitors into residents or advocates for our city long after they leave.

Innovative Technology – I predict we will use technology to give visitors and residents a greater level of control of their experience – whether at a stadium, in the workplace or at restaurants. Through mobile applications and the appropriate infrastructure, local businesses and architects alike should consider how to give visitors an opportunity provide real-time, relevant feedback to teams to help them refine the experience, making the built environment a living laboratory. We can also use technology to mine data and customize how a visitor experiences the city – from the airport, to the hotel, to restaurants, to retail and entertainment options. In addition, we’ve seen social media facilitate digital connections between visitors and residents in Kansas City, providing a real testament to the

power of design to build meaningful connections.
Health and Wellness – Health and wellness have been widely discussed as a trend in hospitality circles and beyond, and are a critical factor as we think about the growth of Kansas City. Spots like 18Broadway, our own urban garden, connect people to a purpose. We also see buildings being designed to exceed traditional health and wellness parameters with the implementation of WELL, a new standard in sustainable design. Hotels in other cities designed to WELL standards have successfully been marketed at a higher price point, proving people care about healthy buildings. It’s a consideration I see becoming increasingly important locally. In addition, over the last year, new restaurant concepts that cater to healthy living have emerged locally, giving visitors and residents more options.
Looking to the future, we’ll be able to evolve to diverse visitors’ needs by asking “what if” rather than discussing “what is” in Kansas City. These are the questions that advance hospitality-driven design thinking, and they are questions we should challenge one another to answer.in order to continue to innovate and drive a truly friendly, comfortable, and hospitable experience for everyone.

by BILL JOHNSON | photo by MICHAEL ROBINSON

Porsche Cayenne vs Porsche Macan

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 at 7:02 PM

First things first, we know that some purists are upset that Porsche makes anything other than the 911, let alone a pair of crossovers. But those crossovers help finance the development of things like the GT3 RS, and are still 100% Porsches. Go around the first corner in either the Cayenne or the Macan, and you’ll definitely know that you’re in a Porsche. They really do handle like nothing else in the world. But what’s the difference between them? They certainly look similar.

The Cayenne more or less paved the way for sport SUVs when it was introduced. It was an experiment to package the legendary Porsche performance into a utilitarian body.  Fifteen years later, it is still amazing. Being able to have everything from a V6 to a twin-turbo V8, to a hybrid, all in a full size SUV with all of the bells and whistles that the Porsche brand has to offer is a winning combination.

If the Cayenne is the quintessential sport SUV, the Macan is a tightened up version of that. Take the Cayenne, but make it a little shorter, a little narrower, and a little lighter. That’s the easiest way to make increase performance and responsiveness: cut weight. The smaller and lighter a car is, the better it will go, turn, and stop. Simple physics. Oh, and swap the Cayenne’s Tiptronic transmission for the astounding PDK dual clutch gearbox for good measure.

While the Porsche Cayenne and the Porsche Macan are almost identical, they are their own unique vehicles. The Cayenne is designed to go anywhere, in extreme comfort, all while delivering the Porsche experience you love. The Macan takes that same general idea, but distills it down even farther, cutting some of the luxury and space in exchange for a more direct driving experience. Whichever you choose, they both carry that Porsche pedigree. If you have any questions, please let us know.

 

 

Position Available: Sales Specialist

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 at 1:07 PM

Aristocrat Motors, a leading high-end, luxury dealership in the Kansas City automotive market, is looking to add a qualified SALES SPECIALIST to our team! We have an opening to sell luxury automobiles (mainly new car) and be rewarded for it with one of the best pay plans in the area. You have support from a fully integrated CRM system and leads from a growing internet program.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

Aristocrat Motors offers a unified team environment, great benefits, and ongoing training, and support for its employees. Previous automotive sales experience is preferred but not required. Apply today or refer a qualified friend. You can apply by visiting the following Web site at www.soaveautomotivegroup.com/careers or you can respond directly to this ad with your resume. We look forward to hearing from you!

Job Responsibilities include:

  • Provides excellent customer service by helping customers select a vehicle that fits their needs
  • Explains product performance, application, and benefits to customer by describing all optional equipment available
  • Demonstrates new (and used, when necessary) vehicles
  • Maintains up-to-date knowledge on new products, features, and accessories available a
  • Maintains a prospect development system by following up with active prospects using the Dealership’s Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)
  • Follows up with previous customers for referrals and future sales
  • Works without constant supervision

In addition to competitive pay, we offer our associates the following benefits:

  • Health, Dental, Vision, Life, and Disability insurance
  • 401(k) plan with company match
  • Paid Time-Off
  • Employee Vehicle Purchase Program
  • Professional work environment, with job training and advancement opportunities

Qualifications

  • At least 1 year dealership experience is preferred

Job Type: Full-time

Jaguar XE vs Jaguar XF

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Monday, July 17th, 2017 at 7:56 PM

Jaguar has been stealing the spotlight lately with their new lineup, and their design language is some of the most cohesive out there. With one glance at that front grill, you instantly know it’s a Jaguar. But sometimes it can be confusing to remember which one is which when it comes to the sedans. With the styling and the names being so similar, it’s easy to mix them up. So today, we’re going to look at the difference between the Jaguar XE and the Jaguar XF.

The two cars are extremely similar, both in person and on paper. In fact, seeing them in person doesn’t always help to tell them apart either. You really need to see them side by side, or to drive them back to back. While they look nearly identical, the XE is actually quite a bit smaller than the XF. The easiest way to remember that is just to remember your alphabet. E comes before F, and the XE is smaller than the XF.

The XE weighs in at over 300 pounds lighter than it’s big brother. As any gearhead will tell you, weight is the enemy of speed. So dropping that weight means that the XE will accelerate, brake, and turn faster than the XF. Jaguar’s own specifications say that the XE is a full half a second faster to 60mph than the XF when both are equipped with the 2.0L turbocharged engine. A half a second is a lifetime once you’re at this level of performance.

That is not to say the XF is a slouch though. It still carries that Jaguar DNA, just applied in a different way. That extra weight is a trade-off of the added comfort. The XF is about a foot longer than it’s baby brother, and most of that is for the rear passengers and the trunk. As exciting as Jaguars are to drive, sometimes you just want to kick back, and let someone else do the work for you. In that instance, the XF is clearly the place to be. That extra space gives you plenty of room to stretch out and relax.

While the Jaguar XE and Jaguar XF share styling cues, they are definitely separate cars. Even though both are British sport sedans, they apply that idea in unique ways. The XE gives up a bit of utility for the sake of increased performance, whereas the XF gives up a bit of performance for the sake of additional comfort. Instead of trying to figure out which one is “better”, the better question is to ask which one fits your desires better. So come drive both of them, and see which one matches you the best.

Lap the Loop

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 3:45 PM

The start will be iconic, from the Kauffman Center.  Two 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250’s, a driver and two passengers in each, heading out on a social media scavenger hunt.  They want you to follow them, on line, on a Friday afternoon, August 25th.  You know when you have already started the weekend, but just haven’t left your desk, FROM 1 P.M. TO 3 P.M. at #laptheloop.  These two social media mobiles will be lapping the 435 loop on their way to fame and followers.  Along the way they will be faced with the challenge of stopping for stuff, taking photos, and communicating their hearts out!  All this while getting the best gas mileage possible.  

PICK YOUR TEAM, FOLLOW THEM, AS THEY #LAPTHELOOP.

Position Available: Part Time Customer Service Specialist

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, May 26th, 2017 at 1:38 PM

Are you someone who posesses Buddy The Elf levels of enthusiasm and positivity? Perhaps someone with an upbeat phone-voice and the ability to react quickly?

Aristocrat Motors is looking for such a person as a part-time Customer Service Specialist. This incredibly important role helps schedule service appointments, follow-up on customer issues, and help create the greatest ownership experience on earth!

Applicants should have a flexible schedule and the ability to work Saturdays is preferred.

Click here to apply online.

Hang with Me

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Monday, May 8th, 2017 at 3:39 PM

by LANIE DRAPER

It’s fair to say that Joanna Gaines, of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” fame, has kindled the curiosity of many wanting to plant and observe their own seeds transforming into colorful and fragrant plants. But what about those who don’t have the space, time, or, dare I say, green thumb to take on such a project? Well, not only are hanging planters your answer, but they are on trend.

Whether you prefer your planters be suspended from the ceiling or staggered on a wall, it is undeniable that you will be adding a major touch of organic elegance to your home. From sweet and calming lavender-filled nurseries to your favorite herbs planted in boxes near the kitchen sink, this trend will literally be sprouting up in every room of the house.

Design styles are limitless; meaning this is definitely an

easy and inexpensive trend that you should try. If your style swings bohemian, consider suspending a macramé plant holder filled with English ivy. This plant is not only pretty, but it’s air purifying. If modern is more your style, use slate or geometric pottery and fill with colorful succulents.

Don’t have a green thumb? Splurge on pretty faux plants that match your style. Because these plants will be hung higher than eye level, no one will ever know.

Want to give this a shot? Take this list to your local nursery to get started. Happy planting!

-English ivy (Hedera helix) 

-String of hearts (Ceropegia linearis woodii)

-String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

Fit for a King

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Monday, May 8th, 2017 at 3:34 PM

by LANIE DRAPER

If the old saying is “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” then this year, the new saying is “jewel tones are your home’s best friend!” Fiery rubies, Mediterranean blue sapphires, and emeralds as green as the majestic mountains of Ireland are finding their way into homes everywhere.

Designers are having fun getting creative with this royal palette in virtually all living spaces. With jewel tones, the possibilities are endless, and, like that of a diamond, no two are the same. Cue the cheers from trendsetters everywhere — this is your time to shine!

HOW TO USE JEWEL TONES

Go all out: If you’ve been waiting for vibrant colors to make their comeback, then now’s your chance to dive right in. Whether your walls are light or dark in color, jewel- toned furniture will have you living like royalty in no time. Major retailers are ready for this trend and have several couches, ottomans, headboards, and rugs ready for you to choose from. These pieces are perfect for sparking conversation and show you are confident of your style!

Ease into it: If you’re more of a neutral person but are still intrigued by this trend, start slowly with throw pillows or dramatic curtains that pop next to your not-so-loud sofa. Imagine this look — a perfectly aged leathered sofa is draped with your favorite throw. And at arm’s length, your rustic coffee table made from what’s left of a nearby barn is layered with old books a.nd modern succulents. Just behind it, you are hugged by the warmth and drama of velvet royal blue curtains. Yes!

Kansas City’s Focus on Helping Others

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Monday, May 8th, 2017 at 3:21 PM

by ROBERT HELLWEG | photo by ANDREW FAILS

When the Board of Directors of the Rose Brooks Center assembled a committee to help care for its aging facility, little did it know that it had created a committee that would not only take on the cleaning, painting, redecorating, and repairing of the facility but one that would spearhead the successful effort to construct a new facility. When that new facility opened in 2001, this group of dedicated and very closely knit women just kept on giving — time, resources, and energy — to charitable endeavors with the formation of the State Line Service League.

The State Line Service League, or SL squared (SL²), is made up of women professionals from around the city: bankers, lawyers, doctors, CEOs, teachers, and artists. It became incorporated in 2005 as a 501(c)(3) organization with the original purpose of “doing short-term community service projects, with the goal to give back to the community and have fun doing it.”

SL² members have few requirements placed on them, which helps make this a fun and free-spirited group, and this attitude carries over to its fundraising and the way it selects new and ongoing community service projects. There is no financial commitment to membership, and fundraising is by donations and from a biannual art auction that has taken place at the Belger Crane Yard, the Blue Bird Bistro, and the Red Star Gallery.

Offering both“pre-owned”art from SL² members and friends, plus a featured local artist, SL² is able to raise most of its yearly financial requirements from this art auction.

The work selected is done by a vote of the membership, and the selection process itself generates enthusiasm for the projects selected. Favorite themes are food, creativity, education, and investing time to help other organizations.

SL² cooks and shares the culinary results with those in need. You can ask the eager group of diners hosted by Cherith Brook, a homeless outreach facility in the East 12th Street corridor. Rose Brooks remains a special place for SL²’s cooking, where members have prepared and served dinner for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other special events for the families of the center. Journey to New Life, a local parolee-outreach female-resident facility, has been the recipient of dessert and game nights. At-risk youth at Ozanam are treated to an annual Beach Towels, Barbecue, and Bingo Night. Meals are prepared and shared with Associated Youth Services’ Home Ties teenage boys in residence. SL²ers gather to prepare and share hearty sack lunches for Kansas City’s Urban Rangers, birthday cakes for AYS children in foster care, welcome meals for new residents at Hillcrest Transitional Housing, and snack bags for the children who attend Harmony Project KC, an outreach music education program founded by Laura Shultz, an original SL² member.

SL² members also jump at the chance to be creative. Some of their favorite projects have included painting and redecorating Cherith Brook’s community guest rooms, Samuel U. Rodgers Free Health Clinic’s pediatric waiting room, reStart’s family suites, an apartment at Hillcrest Transitional Housing, and the Victims Waiting Room at KCMO Municipal Court. The group helped to create the mosaic outside the Ronald McDonald House and with landscaping gardening and cleaning Sheffield Place, Swope Park Duchesne Clinic, the Whatsoever Community Center, and the Main Street Mile downtown.

Education is a major focus, and SL² believes that education is the key to a better life. In that effort, it has provided dictionaries to third-graders in local schools through the Dictionary Project, stocked a Little Free Library at Faxon Elementary School, and donated books to Scuola Vita Nuova’s library. The group has also reached out to international causes, such as providing support to a school in Kenya with supplies, soccer balls, and a clean water source, as well as packed care bags for Heart to Heart International’s Haitian tsunami relief project.

Since leading a healthy lifestyle is part of a rounded education, one of the “long-running” projects is sponsoring and helping coach a “Girls on the Run” team at Faxon Elementary School in KCMO. This program involves a curriculum of life lessons, self-esteem, and healthy living, which culminates in a 5K event celebrating the accomplishments of several thousand enthusiastic girls in KC each semester. SL² believes that Faxon girls have learned valuable lessons of self-worth and perseverance through Girls on the Run, and those lessons have also been provided to participating members of SL²!

Although SL² does not donate funds to other organizations, you can see that working with and providing service to other organizations are part of SL²’s “infrastructure.” This is also true in helping other organizations with their fundraisers. Examples of this support are the Metropolitan Lutheran Ministry’s Christmas Store and Spring Fling, Johnson County Christmas Bureau’s store, Harvesters’ Empty Bowls, Southwest Boulevard Family Health Clinic’s Tacos and Beer on the Boulevard, Bridging the Gap’s Earth Walk, and Rose Brooks Center’s Cabaret. SL² was also there with a team for the American Cancer Society’s all night RelayForLife.

The holiday season always includes SL²’s longest-running project to benefit Rose Brooks Center. Members gather at a member’s home for fun and camaraderie as they assemble gift bags for each resident. The evening concludes with a potluck supper and raucous carols around the piano.

Kansas City’s Italian Traditions

By Editor | Posted in Uncategorized on Monday, May 8th, 2017 at 3:01 PM

by JESSE LITTLE

It’s white tablecloth, classic Italian; and it’s an Italian grocery, delicatessen, and pizzeria, but most of all, it’s a part of the Kansas City restaurant culture, Jasper’s. Jasper’s restaurant has been a mainstay in the food community for over 63 years, through three generations of Mirabiles, and who knows how many pans of lasagna.

Now located at 103rd and State Line, Jasper Mirabile Jr. is now keeping the tradition of fine dining at Jasper’s. His experience and his training are cornerstones of the restaurant’s continued success. From studying at the University of Nevada’s Hotel and Restaurant

School and Kansas State University, he traveled to Europe to hone his skills in the cooking schools of France and Italy. At that point, he was ready to join the “family business.”

Joining his father in the namesake restaurant that had built a reputation recognized with the coveted Mobil Four Stars and the AAA Four Diamond awards for fine dining, Jasper continued to gain recognition and acclaim.

The Mirabiles’ Sicilian heritage has been combined with Jasper Jr.’s travels to the Tuscany and Piedmont regions of Italy to provide today’s menu. That said, many of the original menu’s dishes are still best sellers, from the Shrimp Livornese appetizer to the Strawberry Borghese cake.

Jasper Jr. was the first Kansas City chef to appear at the James Beard House in New York three times. The James Beard House, the home of the legendary American Master Chef, serves as the performance space for the James Beard Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to “celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.” It is one of the pinnacles of achievement in America’s culinary culture.

Following along the path of James Beard, Jasper Jr. has also authored two cookbooks: The Jasper’s Cookbook and Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook. The titles represent the simple goodness of the recipes found inside. A third cookbook is in the works, and it, obviously, will again center on classic Italian cuisine, On the Cannoli Trail. Many of these recipes are also offered on his weekly radio show, “LIVE! From Jasper’s Kitchen” (KCMO 103.7 FM and 710 AM).

Jasper’s has always seemed to be a step ahead of the changing dining preferences, as his brother showed when he opened Marco Polo’s Groceria in 1984. The public was looking for more casual and faster-paced dining, and the delicatessen and pizzeria offered just that, but with the signature quality of Jasper’s. Later in the ’90s, the move was made to the Watts Mill Shopping Center, their current home, from the original location in Waldo. This was, again, a realization of a more casual, suburban culture that still demanded great Italian cuisine.

Jasper Jr.’s knowledge of food and of the marketplace are once again being demonstrated with his new monthly “1954 Supper Club KC,” where he shares authentic recipes and cooking demonstrations that feature farm-to-table fresh produce. He sees these local food artisans as a return to a time before modern transportation delivered food to a chef’s kitchen. It only takes a short demonstration course in the Mozzarella Theater 2.0 or a 1954 Supper Club cooking lesson to understand the chef’s passion and desire to share what he has learned.

Awards have continued to come to Jasper Jr. as Jasper’s has been named one of America’s Top 25 Italian Restaurants and one of the Top 10 Italian Restaurants by USA Today; one of Travel and Leisure’s Top Italian Restaurants; and, for 27 consecutive years, a winner of the North American Achievement of Dining Distinction by DiRoNA, Distinguished Restaurants of North America.

Jasper’s remains one of Kansas City’s most popular dining attractions, and Jasper Jr. honors his father’s counsel, “Travel often and come back inspired and influenced by what you see — but more, by what you eat.”