Changing companies or changing business models? Two Central Kentucky business owners have updated their resumes for one of each.
When he was profiled in this column in March 2016, Bob Baney was in his fifth year as a
founding partner of 3 Way Racing. The other partners bought him out, and in August 2016 Baney formed RaceRise LLC, a timing and sports management company, with business partner Scott Bassett. Bassett lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, and has family members in Central Kentucky.
RaceRise specializes in the orchestration of races for runners and walkers “that provide a benefit and awareness for worthy local charities,” Baney said. A triathlete himself, Baney knows what a positive impact these events can have for participants and charitable recipients alike.
“We have a thriving running and triathlon community with lots of caring runners and walkers,” he said of Central Kentucky. “They are the true difference-makers through the support they provide to our events and charities.”
In 2017 RaceRise will manage at least 20 local run/walk and triathlon events. In March, the company’s inaugural Quarter Horse Marathon Relay took place at Spindletop and raised money for Kentucky Cancer Link. On May 6, the charitable beneficiary of the Derby Day Stakes 5K and 10K at Coldstream Research Park will be Foster Care Council of Kentucky. A portion of race proceeds from the Horse Capital Marathon and Half-Marathon on May 20 at Fasig Tipton will go to Bluegrass Farms Charities. The Kentucky Blood Run 5K in October is for Kentucky Blood Center’s “Power of Life” high school scholarship program. In addition to their own signature races, RaceRise also provides chip timing for other races for nonprofits, churches and other organizations.
“We are about making a tangible difference in our community. Lots of people are hurting or in need of support or assistance,” Baney said. Even though RaceRise itself is a small business, Baney said it exists for “creating a healthier Central Kentucky while doing our part to serve those in need.”
Profiled in March 2012, Frans Munoz had just over two years’ worth of business ownership
under his belt at the time. He was operating his store, Frans’ Furniture, out of 3,000 square feet of space in Eastland Shopping Center, selling mostly used furniture from estate sales and auctions. In December 2013, thanks to growth in both customer base and sales, he moved to a 16,000-square-foot suite in the shopping center.
“I see myself in a 25,000-square-foot showroom,” he said, adding 10,000 square feet of storage space to his list of goals for the near future. Antiques and estate items account for only 5 percent of his inventory now. His showroom is packed with dinette sets, couches, bed frames and mattresses from 20 national furniture companies, including American Woodcrafters, Coaster and Serta.
Serving others through his love of people and passion for furniture is Munoz’ top priority. “I feel like we’re all family in Lexington,” he said. “I love Lexington, and I want to be part of the growth and improvement.”
He also believes in giving back. “I think if you’re part of the community and you want to get more blessings, you have to bless someone too.”
A year ago he put a permanent policy in place of providing free delivery and furniture assembling for seniors and veterans, within a 10-mile radius of the store. He also provides delivery and installation for single moms who could use the help, and the occasional college student from Transylvania or UK.
“Because I know when you are a student, the budget is tight. I know,” he said. “I was a student once.”
Munoz went to Kentucky State University on a scholarship when he arrived in Kentucky in 1995 from his hometown of Génova, Guatemala.
“The store was opened pretty much to focus on the Latino community,” he said. His records show that his clientele has become more international lately. In addition to customers from the Americas, he has met families from Asia and Africa. He’s even learning Swahili phrases to converse with customers from the African countries Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
s Munoz “They are very nice and they will always will be welcome here, and we try to make them feel comfortable with their language,” Munoz said. “I’m very happy that we’re not only one community in the store, but we’re variety. I love variety because variety makes beauty.”