C(r)amped out

tporter@lsjournal.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Maria Dempsey assumed the meeting was with a representative of a local physical therapy company.

Dempsey reached out to the gentleman to see if the company he represented was interested in Dempsey’s muscle cramp prevention and relief product, CrampX.

Formulated by Dempsey’s physician husband Herbert Dempsey, CrampX is on the shelves of more than 230 HyVee stores around the region as well as other retailers such as McKeever’s Price Chopper stores in the Kansas City metro area.

Still Maria Dempsey, who runs the day-to-day operations of CrampX while her husband tends to his medical practice, wanted to gauge the interest of the local physical therapy office.

In stepped Mark Dickey, vice president of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and point man for the Chamber’s pro-business initiative, Boost Lee’s Summit. Dickey did not represent the business Dempsey thought he was a part of, but what could have been an awkward moment turned out to be a blessing for Dempsey and CrampX.

“Somehow on Linkedin I reach out to Mark Dickey thinking he was with Boost Physical Therapy,” Maria Dempsey said. “He thought I was someone else and so we met at the coffee shop. He goes, ‘how do you know so-and-so?’ and I go, ‘well, I don’t know so-and-so.’ I go, ‘aren’t you with Boost Physical Therapy?’ I don’t know who he thought I was with, but our business minds just connected. After about an hour-and-a-half talking, he goes, ‘I have got to get you in the Boost Lee’s Summit Program.’”

Dickey said the initial meeting was for lack of a better word “exploratory.”

“She was looking for some advice on access to capital and market penetration,” Dickey said, “and she was working in some small, niche markets, but wanted to expand their presence and their specific brand. I told her I’m not the one to talk with on these issues, but Boost Lee’s Summit had certified SBA business coaches that could likely help her with those issues, as well as strengthen her business plan, which was a little rough. She signed up for the Boost Lee’s Summit program the next day.”

The Dempseys are just one set of business owners in the Lee’s Summit community that has taken advantage of the assistance Boost Lee’s Summit offers. Consisting of a community-wide strategy to attract, create, support and accelerate new and existing businesses within the city and eastern Jackson County, Boost Lee’s Summit bills itself as an integrated, systematic community ecosystem that connects business owners with the resources necessary to succeed.

The program provides aspiring or current business owners with around the clock, first-point-of-contact access portal; step-by-step instructions from local business coaches and institutions on how to start and build companies; connectivity to investors and financial institutions for needed capital; and access to community support and a forum to communicate specific needs, such as pitch events and the like.

“For the majority of startups, the entrepreneur is very focused on the product they are developing and have not given the proper attention to the business side of creating a business,” Dickey said. “Not only that, but for most, there is usually very little capital to begin the rigorous processes and engage the expertise necessary to establish a viable business.”

That hands-on approach has made a world of difference for CrampX, Dempsey said.

“I talked with my husband about this and the one thing that we agree on that is really key to entrepreneurship and growing businesses is what Boost Lee’s Summit is able to do,” she said. “It puts together everything you need to know about forming a business, including funding, within one phone call or one site (visit). They’re like a one-stop shop.”

And just how solvable a product is CrampX? A long-time runner and physician Calvin Whitmore IV said he used the products earlier this year during a series of marathon races and it helped eliminate cramping issues he has had for years.

He swears by the product.

“I was going down to Disney World and doing marathons,” said Whitmore IV, who resides on Lee’s Summit Road on the Kansas City-Lee’s Summit border. He is the head trainer and instructor at Orange Theory Fitness in Leawood, Kan. “I’ve been a runner for over 21 years and I do a lot of cramping. I told a (fellow trainer at Orange Theory) that I would just try it and see how it works out for me. It was great. All four days I took the CrampX and I didn’t get the cramps I normally would. I was actually able to (set a personal record) in races because I wasn’t walking because of the cramps. It was incredible to me.”

CrampX is currently available in three flavors – Orange, Lemon-Lime and Berry. A fourth flavor, Fruit Punch, is under development with efforts underway to continue to raise capital for its expanding lines of flavor.

“We are still 100 percent owned, but we are looking for strategic investors,” she said. “We’re looking for the right partner …We are getting the product in more people’s hands and that is through Boost. It’s amazing. It’s almost like a marriage made in heaven. The confidence that you get just knowing you can pitch to anybody and you have Mark Dickey that you can call – he has put me in front of so many successful business people here in Lee’s Summit that I didn’t even know existed.

“They have been willing to sit down and here where I am at in my business and then they give me what they have done, and that’s huge.”

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