Silpada celebrates return to local ownership

Lenexa’s Silpada Designs said Monday was the company’s “Independence Day.”

The founders — with some additional family members — recently bought back the sterling silver jewelry business from Avon for a fraction of the $650 million they sold it for three years ago. But it was never about the money, they said, and were just happy to have their “baby” back.

On Monday they addressed about 300 corporate employees gathered on the headquarters lawn at 11550 Renner Blvd. The crowd cheered often, waving small Silpada flags. The company’s more than 32,000 independent representatives across the country and in Canada also could tune into a webcast of the event.

Last December, Silpada’s founders Jerry and Bonnie Kelly and Teresa Walsh heard Avon planned to sell the company, and within 24 hours they had decided to try to buy it back. They formed Rhinestone Holdings Inc. with Teresa’s husband, Tom Walsh, and two daughters. Still, they said they weren’t allowed to enter the auction until late in the process. Avon Products, which has been struggling, let Silpada go for $85 million in an all-cash transaction that closed July 3. It also could include up to $15 million more paid to Avon if Silpada achieves specific earning targets over two years.

Silpada’s long-term interest is best served by being in the hands of people who founded it, grew it and continue to love it, said Jerry Kelly, who vowed to never sell the company again.

“It is a very financially strong, profitable company,” he said.

Avon said it was selling Silpada so it could put its full resources into reviving its own business selling cosmetics through catalogs and door to door.

When Silpada was sold to Avon in July 2010, it was at the pinnacle of a five-year growth surge, Kelly said. The owners felt they had taken it as far as they could and Avon — with such success internationally — could take it to the next level.

But later economic factors came into play. For the jewelry business, that included silver prices surging from $18 an ounce to up to $48 an ounce — with an average of $38 an ounce, Kelly said. There also could have been some uncertainty when Silpada changed owners, even though it operated as a separate company under Avon.

Silpada is now focusing on the long term and has been rolling out enhancements to its compensation program that will help develop teams in the field.

“We’re thrilled to be back,” he said.

Silpada, the world’s largest sterling silver jewelry home party company, sells more than 400 jewelry designs, all made with .925 sterling silver, sometimes complemented by semiprecious stones, woods and leathers.

BRGR Kitchen Bar opens in Power Light

Bread Butter Concepts opened its first restaurant, BRGR Kitchen + Bar, in Prairie Village in March 2010. Since then it has opened two other restaurants — Urban Table, also in Prairie Village, and Gram Dun on the Country Club Plaza.

But Tuesday it will get back to its roots, adding a second BRGR to its restaurant roster. The new restaurant is at 11 E. 14th St., in the former Fran’s diner space in the Power Light District. The Kill Devil Club is on the second floor of the space.

The Power Light restaurant will have off some menu items unique to that location, including fried deviled eggs (a popular item for guests during pre-opening events) and grilled Gulf oysters for “snacks.” The “not so burgers” will include the beer-battered cod on sourdough with smoked paprika chips, the fried chicken salad sandwich, the lobster grilled cheese sandwich, and the porchetta (slow-roasted pork shoulder on ciabatta).

The Power Light location also will offer the KC Butcher (a BRGR patty, hanger steak, Boursin horseradish cream cheese, caramelized onions, roasted garlic and onion ring on sourdough).

New “plates” will include New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp, rotisserie taco, tacos de carnitas, pork shoulder pot roast, steak and frites, and a house sausage plate.

For the decor, Alan Gaylin, co-founder and chief executive officer of Bread Butter Concepts, used wood from a 200-year-old northern Missouri barn, along with a concrete-topped bar, lightweight steel dome lighting fixtures, and tufted leather booths.

Next up for Bread Butter Concepts: Taco Republic, set to open Aug. 26 across from Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue in Kansas City, Kan.