Sonic Equipment, New Klein Lumber earn Chamber honors

Sonic Equipment and The New Klein Lumber Company were recognized Thursday night as the large and small business of the year, respectively, by the Iola Area Chamber of Commerce at its annual banquet.

Also in the limelight were Duane McGraw and Loren Korte for their contributions to the Chamber over the many years.

OVER THE PAST 40 years Sonic Equipment has grown into a global leader in the digital projection movie business. In addition to installing digital equipment, Sonic services more than 1,000 independent theaters across the country from its single location in Iola. Sonic’s parent company, B&B Theatres, acquired Dickinson Theatres in 2013, to become the country’s ninth-largest theater chain. Sonic also is in the movie theater construction business.

Sonic currently has 55 employees at its Iola facility. Ron Hageman, executive director of Sonic since 2015, accepted the award.

STEVE Eisenbart, co-owner of The New Klein Lumber with his brother, Bill, accepted the award as small business of the year. The business began in 1903 under the direction of Paul Klein. Norb Eisenbart took the reins in 1989. Since then, the lumber company has remained in the Eisenbart clan and today includes members of its third generation.

“With a small but determined workforce The New Klein Lumber Company lets us all be DIY-ers,” Carol Sager, Chamber director, said in presenting Eisenbart with the award.

THE FEATURED speaker for the event was Joyce Layman of Kansas City. Layman is a motivational speaker with a focus on the importance of networking and presenting an upbeat and professional appearance whether in person or through social media.

About 100 attended the dinner at the Allen County Country Club.

Sager noted Chamber leaders have signed on with Thrive Allen County’s new initiative called Visit Allen County as a way to promote Allen County and increase its outreach.

Also on tap is a 7 a.m. breakfast Thursday at Allen County Regional Hospital at which District Judge Daniel Creitz will be the featured speaker. The breakfast is free to Chamber members.

The Iola Register

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