Mike Smith’s career at KSMU began in 1980 as a student announcer when the former Navy Submariner attended (then) SMSU with help from the GI Bill. In 1982 Smith became a full time member of the KSMU family as “Chief Announcer”, responsible for the acquisition, training and scheduling of the student announcing staff. It was also in 1982 when Smith first produced “Seldom Heard Music” a broadcast of Bluegrass which is still heard on KSMU and ksmu.org every Saturday night at 7CT.
Until his retirement in 2006, Smith also served KSMU listeners as the stations Senior Producer and Director of News, receiving a 2005 Regional Edward R Murrow award for “Use of Sound” in a feature. Post retirement in a part time capacity, Smith produces the bi-monthly series Making A Difference Where You Live, and the business segments of KSMU’s quarterly Sense of Community Series.
This is the KSMU Sense of Community feature broadcast Wednesday, December 17, 4:30PM, produced by Mike Smith.
As Veronika Lukanov lists items from the shelves of the Fine European Market, which she and her husband Krasi Lukanov own and operate on south Campbell in Springfield Missouri, we learn the Lukanov’s are among 1.5 million immigrant business owners in the U.S. (7,200 in Missouri) who’s contribution to the national economy totals 67 billion dollars in generated income. That’s 11.6% of all business generated income in the U.S. according to University of California-Santa Cruz economics professor Robert Fairlie. Fairlie, author of the November 2008 Small Business Administration report titled “Estimating the Contribution of Immigrant Business Owners to the U.S. Economy”,says “I guess when you hear those numbers, 1.5 million immigrant business owners in the U.S., and 67 billion dollars, that’s pretty striking. You can see that kind of anecdotally as you travel around the U.S. You can see a lot of businesses are owned by immigrants”. Including the 2 businesses in Springfield owned by Krasi and Veronika Lukanov, who came to the United States in 2002 after Veronika was one of some 2000 Bulgarians who won a “Green Card Lottery” allowing the winner and spouse or family to leave the country.
Theirs is a classic “hard work brings rewards” story of how Krasi and Veronika Lukanov went from being immigrant employees to U.S. citizen employers in a few years time. Veronika tells KSMU the story of how they were first able to save enough money to start their businesses by working for others. Upon arrival in the Ozarks in 2002, Veronika worked for what was then Famous Barr in the Battlefield Mall. Krasi worked in the food service industry. The couple then went to truck driving school and found work driving coast to coast as team drivers for CTI and then IWX. When they saved enough to purchase their own truck, they became owner-operators with IWX. Climbing the ladder even further, Krasi and Veronika were able to save enough to purchase their own trailer and established K&V Trucking Company and then start the Fine European Market. Krasi and Veronika Lukanov now employ 1 driver with K&V, and 4 workers in the Fine European Market.
When asked how the idea of opening the Fine European Market came about, Krasi Lukanov says “In the beginning we thought of starting in the restaurant business but it takes a lot of investment and is more difficult in these times. We notices there is no (European) foods to buy here and every time we wanted to buy, we had to go to St. Louis or Chicago just to buy food. We thought it would be good to bring in (in part with K&V Trucking) the food we like, and with the increased population of east Europeans in the area, it would be a good business to start”.
When asked what advice they would give to those wishing to emigrate to the United States to start a business, Veronika says “Work hard, be honest, and treat people like you wish to be treated. Be kind, always try to help, and again work very, very hard. And most important, always try to make a business plan and follow it step by step. This will probably bring you to success”. Krasi added to that by saying, “Have a back up plan to fall back on immediately if something goes wrong. Everything’s possible. You just have to find the right business in the right location”.
For KSMU’s Sense of Community Series, I’m Mike Smith.
For KSMU, I’m Mike Smith. On this edition of our Sense of Community Series, we take a look at the contribution of immigrant owned businesses to the U.S. economy and how a husband and wife from Bulgaria became U.S. citizens and owners of two businesses in Springfield.
According to a Small Business Administration report written by Robert Fairlie released in November titled “Estimating the Contribution of Immigrant Business Owners to the U.S. Economy, the nearly 1.5 million immigrant business owners in the U.S. represent 12.5% of all U.S. business owners. Robert Fairlie, a Professor of Economics at the University of California Santa Cruz, is also author of “Race and Entrepreneurial Success” published by MIT Press in 2007. Fairlie says calculating the economic impact of immigrant owned businesses was challenging because of the lack of governmental data showing business ownership by nationality foreign or domestic. By “piecing together information from Census Bureau data and using net business income reported by business owners” Fairlie was able to determine the business income created to immigrant business owners amount to 67 billion dollars. Fairlie says “That represents 11.6% of all business income in the United States”. Robert Fairlies’ SBA report shows 7,151 immigrant business owners in Missouri, which represents exactly 3% of the states total number of business owners.
Krasi and Veronika Lukanov own 2 businesses in Springfield; K&V Trucking, and The Fine European Market located on South Campbell. The husband and wife emigrated from Bulgaria in 2002 and became U.S. citizens in October 2007. Veronika won a “Green Card Lottery” in Bulgaria allowing her and Krasi to leave their native country. Veronika tells KSMU that they chose to come to America believing it to be “…the land of opportunity. You get the picture from the movies that you see and the Discovery Channel. It’s a dream for everybody in Europe I believe to come to America”.Krasi Lukanov says “Since Bulgaria changed from Communism in 1990, it’s been really hard for people and the economy there to establish a good living. There you would need a lot more capital than here(in America) to do something significant. Most of the businesses in Bulgaria are already filled in. There are of course new opportunities, but it’s hard. That said, American movies sometimes make you believe things are easy, but once you’re here you realize it’s not that easy to make enough money to save and raise capital to improve yourself and start a business”.
Krasi and Veronika Lukanov were first able to save enough money to start their businesses by working for others. Upon arrival in the Ozarks in 2002, Veronika worked for what was then Famous Barr in the Battlefield Mall. Krasi worked in the food service industry. The couple then went to truck driving school and found work driving coast to coast as team drivers for CTI and then IWX. When they saved enough to purchase their own truck, they became owner-operators with IWX. Climbing the ladder even further,Krasi and Veronika were able to save enough to purchase their own trailer and established K&V Trucking Company and then start the Fine European Market. Krasi and Veronika Lukanov now employ 1 driver with K&V, and 4 workers in the Fine European Market. At 4:30 this afternoon on KSMU when our Sense of Community Series continues, we’ll visit with Krasi and Veronika at the Fine European Market.
For KSMU, I’m Mike Smith.
Mike Smith talks with members of the Greater Seymour Area Foundation.
Mike Smith talks with members of the Greater Seymour Area Foundation.
Justin Ormsby inspires his band students through motivational encouragement and feedback. He was nominated for this series by a former student who is now majoring in music at Missouri State University.
Becky Alexander is a first grade teacher with the Summit Preparatory School of Southwest Missouri. She was nominated for this series by a parent who says Alexander "Set my child up to absolutely love learning".
Here are the performances of the first, second and third place winners of the 7th annual KSMU Youth In Bluegrass Band Contest at Silver Dollar City May 24th and 25th, 2008.
Two WWII Veterans whose stories were told in the Ken Burns PBS documentary THE WAR, visited the MSU Campus this week as part of the annual Public Affairs Conference. Listen as Mike Smith talks with Glenn Frazier and Bill Lansford.
Silver Dollar City is hosting the first annual National Single Microphone Championship. Mike Smith talked with SDC talent coordinator D.A. Callaway about the event, and has this excerpt from KSMU's Bluegrass Music program Seldom Heard Music:
Every home has its ice storm story. KSMU's Mike Smith found a few from one city block in Springfield.