Archives for : Kokomo

Partnership – Just Do It.

Kit Wessendorf and Greg Bell

Kit Wessendorf and Greg Bell

Marketing Mercenary was recently called upon to shoot video for Indianapolis-based 12 Stars Media. They are developing training materials for the Indiana Association of REALTORS, in conjunction with Neupath. Neupath is one of many small businesses housed at the Kokomo business incubator site, Inventrek.

I say all that to say this: It’s the complimentary nature of these various businesses that have brought them together (MM included), and their willingness to seek help with certain tasks, instead of “doing it all in-house”. The direct benefit will be some great training tools at very reasonable cost. The side benefits will be the relationships formed and renewed, that can lead to further business or referrals for future opportunities in multiple directions.

To paraphrase “Hannibal” Smith from The A-Team, “I love it when a team comes together!”

Pictured are Kit Wessendorf, producer for 12 Stars Media, left, and Greg Bell, former Kokomo sportscaster from WIOU and Z92.5 fame, on the right. They are recording voice-overs for the “non-talking-head” segments of the training videos. Marketing Mercenary supplied the audio equipment, set-up help, and comic relief, of course.

Also present was Kathy Harbaugh, Indiana Association of REALTORS, (former VP of the REALTORS Association of Central Indiana in Kokomo), and Don McCreary, Neupath.

It was great seeing Greg and Kathy again after several years. I worked at Z92.5/WIOU while Greg was the sportscaster there. I met Kathy when I first started my own business, producing virtual tours for various realtors in Kokomo and surrounding areas. We have all progressed in various ways, but are all still doing things we love and value.

Who knows? There may be room for you in the next project!

“Community of the Year 2011” Awarded to Kokomo

Kokomo Community of the Year videoKokomo City Hall in Kokomo, Indiana, October3, 2011. The Indiana State Chamber of Commerce awarded Kokomo the title of “Community of the Year 2011.” In this video, you’ll hear the announcement and related comments from Mayor Greg Goodnight. You’ll also hear remarks from Kevin Brinegar (Indiana State Chamber of Commerce President) and Jeff Cardwell (Kokomo/Howard County Chamber of Commerce Chairman).

Marketing Mercenary shot, edited, and delivered this program to you via Please click the image to watch.


Michael Kelsey Performs in Kokomo – Photo Gallery

Michael Kelsey performs in Kokomo

Michael Kelsey at Oakbrook Church

Around 300 folks gathered at Oakbrook Church Friday night. Three aspects made this an usual group to attend a concert by a solo guitar player and singer:

The age group – from under 7 years old, all the way up to the senior years.

The broad response – everyone I could see was enthralled, from the kids’ participation, to the whoops of enjoyment from an older fellow sitting near me.

The dedication – it was my first time for this artist, and I was strongly in the minority.

I’m going to cut to the chase here – I was impressed, enraptured, overjoyed, and will definitely see him again.

You might have guessed that, from the number of photos, or just from the fact that I’m writing about Kelsey’s show. I might be just trying to avoid the part of this review that will prove the most difficult: describing Kelsey’s performance.

His only instruments were his acoustic guitar and voice. To be truthful, he occasionally used an electronic drum pad as well. He also employed a number of electronic gizmos that “looped” the percussive sounds, music, and acoustic textures, and provided reverb, echo, and other effects. But this was not a celebration of technology. Far from it.

He built and morphed and evolved layers and beats and his voice in an extremely organic and acoustic-sounding stew…yes, it seemed more like cooking…or did it? Perhaps I could describe it as a tapestry that doesn’t reveal it’s pattern until it’s finished. No, still not right. I think the musical experience was more like a kinetic sand painting, where the artist develops one image seemingly from nowhere, then uses parts of that image to make the next image in a story he develops as it moves and grows. *Whew!*

But wait – the show was not just sonic textures and rhythms. Sometimes, Kelsey crafted a rhythm section out of vocal samples, thumps and notes on his guitar, and used it as accompaniment. In other segments, he built an orchestra that swirled and danced with his arms, head and legs – he was physically involved in every way – to tell a sound story that he used to touch the minds and hearts of his audience.

After opening with a sensitive cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” his song selection was mostly original. Other compelling covers were “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” All though these songs were extremely good, his original material was most gratifying. My personal favorite was “Bus Driver,”

Loveless Root at The Social

A little rock, a little blues, a little rootsy, a lot of fun. Loveless Root continues to refine their sound. They opened for Midwest Hype and Twin Cats Friday night at The Social in Kokomo.

Loveless Root


Josh Mast, has been with the group full-time for a while now, according to bassist Jesse Bieber. His contributions, both on vocals and guitar, are complementary to Roderick Allen Minch’s more laid-back style.

Bieber also gave props to Eddie Roodvoets, listed on the Loveless Root Facebook page as the guy playing “Alternative Percussion.” If you don’t know how much a percussionist can add to the overall sound of a group, please check out Loveless Root. You can also see Brian Pavey in InsideOut, a local cover band that have previously written about.

Chris Kremer’s sax also helps to gives Loveless Root a full, rich sound not found in most bands you hear in a bar. All three bands at The Social that night have a sax player in the line-up, so the audience got an uncommon treat in my experience.

I have to mention drummer Joey Ray Wills as well. And not because I talked about everyone else. Because he’s the kind of purposeful drummer that puts a solid foundation under the whole performance, even with a couple of tricky timing changes. Thanks for sweating so we could all have a fun evening!

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Great chance to hear original, live music

My friend, Jesse Bieber, has a burning passion for original music. He loves to listen, he loves to perform, he loves to connect with other bands, and even help them find gigs together or alone. In other words, he lives music. I’ve written about hearing his band once before…

Loveless Root at the Mouse Trap

Loveless Root at the Mousetrap

But this article isn’t about Jesse. It’s about the fact that you can hear his band, Loveless Root, tonight at The Social in Kokomo, at 10 p.m.  AND, you will hear two more regional band that Jesse won’t stop raving about: Midwest Hype and Twin Cats.

I have not had the privilege of seeing Twin Cats or Midwest Hype live, yet, so I want you to realize that this is at your own risk. You can get a taste of some of their original tunes from these and other videos on YouTube and the Mousetrap website.

Loveless Root – (Some great drumming in this clip!) (UPDATE: This link actually works now.)

Midwest Hype – Something Beautiful –

Twin Cats – King Cobra –

The show will go on until 3 a.m., and it promises variety and creativity that will chase away any Winter “blues!”

The event invitation page on Facebook has all the details (via The Social). Click “I’m attending,” and have a blast tonight! The cover is only $5.!/event.php?eid=143850198996676

(Credit for the photo above goes to

Small Business Spotlight – Comics Cubed OPEN HOUSE

I remember how much fun I had as a kid, growing up in rural Indiana, as I read Fantastic Four, Batman, Green Lantern and Green Arrow comics, to name a few. Local business owner Shawn Hilton is helping us stay in touch with the kid in all of us – he’s opened Comics Cubed in downtown Kokomo a few weeks back, and today is their “Pre-Black Friday Open House!”

If you love comics, check it out. If someone you love loves comics, don’t miss this! The Facebook page will show specials throughout the day (click here):

But it’s not just for the “graphic novel” fan. According to the “Comics Cubed in Kokomo” Facebook page, there’s more:

Always interested in selling, buying, trading all things comics, toys, games, and pop culture related.

Owner Shawn Hilton formerly managed Kokomo Comics on 17th Street, and is excited for the chance to grab his share of the American Dream in private business ownership. Hilton has  extensive resources for finding and obtaining the popular or obscure.  This holiday season – TODAY – visit Comics Cubed to find the comics/toys/pop culture items for which you’ve been wishing! 121 East Sycamore in Kokomo is the address.

Note to Parents: I was concerned about the content of some of the comics, with racy images on the covers. The Comics Cubed website contains convenient links to  previews and synopses of many of the comics offered. If you’re unsure, take a look at, and click on the cover of interest.

Do we really need another coffee house? Yes: The Vault!

Jami at The Vault

Jami at The Vault

I almost started this post with “The Vault is so great, do we really need all the OTHER coffee shops?” But, I didn’t want to argue with the “have to have my *bucks every morning” people.

If your criteria for spending your time and money is greater than getting fast service at the drive-up, please read on.

Name: The Vault Coffee and Connections,
Location: 223 North Main (Corner of Main and Mulberry), downtown Kokomo.
Phone: (765) 438-9900,
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 A.M. – 5 P.M., Saturday 8 A.M. – 3 P.M.
Web:, Facebook: TheVault Coffee (Note the missing space, and just go with it.)

You are only going to become a fan of The Vault by trying it, so I’m not going to employ my considerable powers of persuasion attempting to convince you. When you try it, give these aspects your consideration:

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How to be the favorite brother/sister/boss/grandma

I finally got downtown to 107 E. Sycamore to visit the new Sweet Poppin’s location. Owner Tashia Johnson-St. Claire welcomed me by showing me the big, new menu board. (I asked her to ham it up a little.)

Tashia is excited that she now has a special copy of  the menu prepared in Braille and in large, easy-to-read type for the blind and low-vision customers.

There’s also a list of great, new flavors that I encourage you to try:

Amaretto, Mocha, French Vanilla, Caramel Latte, Hazelnut, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Chocolate Raspberry, Cinnamon Red Hots, and Pumpkin Spice! I tried Bailey’s Irish Cream flavor while I was there, and it was very tasty. (I gotta add here that Sweet Poppin’s Caramel is the best caramel popcorn I’ve ever had!)

You don’t need me to tell you everything that’s going on with Sweet Poppin’s. You just need to follow Tashia’s business updates  by clicking this link and going to Sweet Poppin’s on Facebook. She continually inspires me by giving all credit for her business success to God. Way to go, Tashia!

Even though Facebook is the best way to follow Tashia’s progress, I will mention that SP has a lot of price-points and packaging options (check out that menu board) for your own enjoyment, personal gifts or business rewards for your customers!

The biggest selection is available at the store, but you can also shop on-line at Don’t wait to visit the “real” or on-line store…the holidays will be upon us in just a few weeks, and you want to be the favorite brother/sister/dad/aunt/boss/grandma this holiday season, don’t you? Get going!

Networking Notworking?

If you’ve been attending networking events, but you don’t feel like you’re getting everything you could out of the experience, then this may be just what you need. Scott Pumphrey (Rainmakers, Team MonaVie) initiated a sort of “Networking 101” series this morning at The Vault, a new coffee shop in downtown Kokomo.

Scott Pumphrey at The Vault

Scott Pumphrey Leads at The Vault

The workshop was well-attended, but there’s still room for you, someone else in your organization, or those just starting out in business. It would also be a great way to learn about networking if you’ve never been to such an event in your life. Membership in a networking organization is not required.

Set the “repeat” feature in your calendar for a 1-hour session every SECOND Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. at The Vault, 223 N. Main in Kokomo.

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Live Music Is Better

That’s what a former coworker of mine would always say, and I believe it to be true. To check out some live, original music, and possibly some tasty covers, you can see Loveless Root (pictured) at the Tipton Pork Festival* on Thursday, 9-9-10, from 8-10 p.m. on the Pizza King Stage. I heard Loveless Root play at this year’s Backyard Grillmaster Challenge (United Way Taste of Kokomo), and enjoyed their jam-band-oriented vibe.

Loveless Root

Loveless Root at the Backyard Grillmaster Challenge

Jesse Bieber (on the right)  describes Loveless Root as blues/rock/jazz/folk fusion. If that’s too many slashes for you to follow, just note that some of their influences have been The Doors, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and Pink Floyd.

I spoke with Jesse recently, and he is passionate about creating and performing original music with his Loveless Root band mates and other area musicians. He’s also committed to bringing more original bands to the Kokomo area.

If Thursday is short notice for you, another opportunity to hear Loveless Root will happen this Saturday afternoon (9-11-10) at The Elbow Room in Kokomo. First, Josh Mast plays from 3-4 p.m., then Loveless Root from 4-5:30 p.m., followed by Barrel of Monkeys from 5:30-7 p.m.

I give you permission to go and have a great time. Now, you have no excuse to miss.

*A “Hoosier Hafta” – something you gotta do because it’s unique to Indiana.