Chamber names Copaken Brooks as its top business of the year

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday named Copaken Brooks as its 2013 Small Business of the Year and winner of the Mr. K Award, named after the late Ewing Kauffman, founder of Marion Laboratories and original owner of the Kansas City Royals.

About 520 people attended the chamber's 27th annual small business awards luncheon at the Kansas City Convention Center. The award is based on growth in sales and number of employees, sustainability, good employee relations and community service.

More than 1,090 companies were nominated for the award, and 85 businesses went through the application process. Then a group of judges narrowed the list down to the Top 10 companies. Copaken Brooks was then selected for the top award.

The real estate company was founded by Russian immigrant Herman Copaken in downtown Kansas City in 1922. It has played a big part in where people shop and work, having developed more than 11 million square feet of retail and office space in the Kansas City area and elsewhere.

The chamber honored the company for its open door policy from the top down, “encouraging collaboration and camaraderie between bosses and co-workers.” Copaken Brooks also participates in many civic organizations including the Downtown Council, the Municipal Arts Commission and the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC), as well as charities like Harvesters - the Community Food Network, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

The company’s area projects of note include Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, downtown’s Town Pavilion and the 1201 Walnut office towers, and the Plaza Colonnade just south of the Country Club Plaza.

In mid-2010, Copaken, White & Blitt merged with First Scout Realty Advisors to form Copaken Brooks. Copaken, White & Blitt had focused on property owner representation, development and acquisition, while First Scout specialized in corporate tenant representation and advisory services.

The principles in Copaken Brooks are Keith Copaken, Jon Copaken and Bucky Brooks.

They attribute their success to their commitment to “integrity, excellence, accountability, strong relationships, and engagement in the community.” Other key components include communicating the company’s vision, goals and objectives, and measuring achievements and growth. At regular company-wide events, each department gives updates on its goals.

The company has several sites under development in the area as well as 2 million square feet in the pre-development phases. The firm also has acquired more than $200 million of commercial property across the country in recent years. It currently leases and manages more than five million square feet of commercial real estate, and provides corporate real estate services throughout the country and Canada.