Tag Archives: Q and A

The Business Issue Q and A

Extol_29_Final images_Page_029_Image_0002ANDREW PRESTON

Preston Arts Center

222 6th St.


3048 Bardstown Road




What motivates you? While there is no single motivation, the greatest I have is sharing. I see sharing as a great spark for contact with others, for the exchange of ideas, for showing that we care for each other and want what’s best. Art (whatever that means to you) is a remarkable field with many benefits, personal, emotional, mental, social, etc. To share something so good, productive, and thoughtful with others brings something positive and hopeful to the table.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? The biggest professional risk I’ve taken is opening the Jeffersonville Preston Arts Center. It’s no secret that owning a small business has always been difficult, but doing it in a century when consumers have a world of choices and a portal to those choices in their pocket, it presents a whole list of challenges to meet and overcome. When we visited what would become known as NoCo Arts and Cultural District in Jeffersonville in Aug of 2018, we saw an opportunity in its early stages and knew that nothing ventured means nothing gained. The support and kindness of the people of Jeffersonville has been exceptionally encouraging, and we can’t wait to see more and more folks stopping in, taking classes and participating in our events.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding part of what I do for a living is seeing someone I’ve assisted in the store take a project somewhere they couldn’t have before due to limits in understanding of materials and technique, or even a lack of belief in themselves. Bonus points for when one of our staff takes the initiative and helps the customer achieve this on their own. This pertains to both our classrooms and our salesfloor, which is essentially a big open classroom space depending on how you think about it.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_029_Image_0001DEREK INGERSOLL

Pacers and Racers

3602 Northgate Court

New Albany



What motivates you? Having a store environment that both the customers and employees enjoy being at. Over the years, so many retailers have abandoned the charm and service in favor of being profit driven. As a small business, it’s been great to be able to focus on our community and stay true to what has made us successful – which is service. It’s not hard to be kind to people and treat everyone like family.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? I fell into my role here at Pacers and Racers, so I am fortunate to not have much risk now, but I have done a wide variety of things over the years. I was a working musician for a good while, so all of that was risky in a sense there was such a large part of your career that was out of your hands, no matter how much effort you put into it. I feel I have been pretty lucky in the risk department.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? It would have to be helping others. Everyone is unique, so you not only get to meet all types of great people, but you get to help their feet out while doing it. Finding the right pair of shoes requires us to ask questions about what they do in those shoes. Not a week goes by that I am not amazed by the life of one of our customers. Everyone is on their own journey, and I am so thankful that folks wear our shoes for that journey.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_040_Image_0001BENJAMIN BYRN

DADA Boutique

219 Pearl St.

New Albany



What motivates you? I get incredibly motivated when given the opportunity to guide, mentor and develop the talents of others. I really enjoy training our new hires, helping them discover their passions and talents, and creating and environment for them to further cultivate that passion and skill set.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? Choosing to open a brick and mortar store versus staying online and selling through pop-up shops was the definitely the largest professional and financial risk I’ve ever taken.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? One of my favorite things is meeting with a client for the first time whose confidence has deflated due to weight gain, aging or other body changes, and watching that confidence be completely restored through the guidance of one of our stylists or myself. Positively impacting others is difficult when you don’t feel great about yourself. Knowing that we are causing a positive ripple effect by helping others feel great about themselves is very rewarding.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_041_Image_0003MORGAN COOMER

Sweets By Morgan

533 Spring St.




What motivates you? Being able to make something different and meeting new people are what motivate me each day. I love being able to create new desserts and design different cakes for customers. I would get bored if I did the same thing day after day, and I’m lucky to be able to have freedom to create.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? My biggest professional risk I have taken is to open a brick and mortar store. We will be celebrating five years at our location in October, so I’m thankful the risk has worked out thus far.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? I think the most rewarding thing about what I do for a living is being able to make beautiful and tasty sweets for customers events and parties. It’s so awesome getting to do what you love every day. We have the best customers ever, and I’m so thankful for all of them.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_042_Image_0001ROSS WALLACE

HIM Gentlemen’s Boutique

40314 Pearl St.

New Albany

2352 Frankfort Ave.




What motivates you? One of my biggest motivators is my passion for helping people feel great. At Him, I have created my dream shopping experience for guys that gives them confidence in their own style.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? My biggest professional risk was leaving my corporate job and putting everything I had into starting Him Gentleman’s Boutique.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding thing is all the support I have received from the community. It’s led me to build so many relationships with incredible people.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_043_Image_0001LAURA APPLEGATE


234 Pearl St.

New Albany

562 South 4th St.




What motivates you? I love when I hear the words, “This is the coolest shop.” This is verification that we must be doing something right. It is my biggest motivation to keep doing what we are doing.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? The biggest risk I have taken professionally was quitting my job in the corporate world and start working the store full time.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that we created a very successful, fun, quirky business that people love.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_054_Image_0001SARAH CHARMOLI

Effiji Breath

138 E. Spring St.



What motivates you? I have vision. I can see a way to affect people’s lives in the most powerful, potent and positive ways. I can see that the thing I’m doing has the potential to change the world; for people to heal themselves and be free. I can’t stop because the fire inside of me burns too hot.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? I can’t say it’s something that would be easy to see. But I think standing up for what I believe and holding tight to my point of view, even when I can feel the criticism, the judgment and the projection. It’s happening all the time. There’s a constant test to take. But there’s always someone knocking on my door saying I can’t do what I believe in – and I just keep going.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? When people’s lives change for the better. And when they change in ways that I couldn’t have predicted. It feels like a miracle. Every single time.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_055_Image_0001AMANDA MULVENE

Dress & Dwell

138 E. Spring St.

New Albany



What motivates you? The hunt. I am always on the hunt for the latest and greatest. I love searching for what’s on trend at our Dress & Dwell fast fashion price point. I’m always on the hunt! From market to travel. I absolutely love market as well as sourcing and finding new brands when I travel. I am very interested in traveling and what else is going on in the fashion world that isn’t what I am most familiar with. I’m currently in France scouting boutiques and finding new brands as well as antique buying with my husband for his business and buying displays for Dress & Dwell.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? If you’re an entrepreneur you are definitely more of a risk taker because as a small business owner, you aren’t guaranteed anything. I’ve taken my fair share of risk over the eight years we’ve been in business, but I believe in steady growth that’s good for both Dress & Dwell and my family. Steady growth has helped us build a strong brand, which has its own difficulties. As you grow, you are challenged to learn new things that maybe isn’t your what you are accustomed to and familiar with and that within itself can be risky.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? It’s a two part answer: It’s wonderful to help women feel great through fashion and enjoy an experience that makes them feel joy. I also love mentoring my team, seeing them grow and the relationships that cultivate through our business.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_058_Image_0001BRENT BRAUN

J&B Magic Shop

129 East Spring St.

New Albany



What motivates you? At the end of the day, it’s just people: I’s about making people smile and making people have a better day. I was going through a divorce, unhappy and didn’t know what I was gonna do. I walked into a magic shop, and it changed my life. I walked out a happy man. I didn’t think about the divorce and losing friends and losing everything. For three or four days, all I thought about is “How the hell did that thing happen?” and I just want to give that moment to people.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? Six years ago, I quit my big job, a sales job, to start the Magic Firm, which is a magic business consulting company. I dropped everything. I looked at my wife, Stephanie, and said I’m just not happy doing what I’m doing, I need to be doing something else, I need to be making art. We downsized the house, sold everything, eliminated all of our overhead and started living the dream so I could do what I loved to do. And then three months ago, we got a brick and mortar magic shop in New Albany where we are doing shows and theatre.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding thing I do is sharing moments with people. We actually had a customer come in this week, saw a magic trick, left, came back three minutes later crying, “I don’t understand what just happened. Thank you for that.” Part of having the magic shop is passing the torch forward. I get to see people my age bring their kids in and tell me the story of how they went into the magic shop in Jeffersonville 20 years ago. And hopefully these kids that come into my magic shop will remember the magic and that moment.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_058_Image_0002MICHELLE WELLS

Mariposa Consignments

222 Pearl St #102

New Albany



What motivates you? One of my favorite quotes is “Owning a business is like riding a lion. People think, “Wow, that’s really brave!” In the meantime you’re like, “How the hell did I get a lion, and how do I keep it from eating me!?” I get so wrapped up in the day to day stuff sometimes I forget to stop and be present in the moment.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? The biggest risk would be owning Mariposa Consignments. That was nearly eight years ago. There were many freak out moments in the middle of the night – still do sometimes. Downtown was just beginning, and the bridge had closed. It was sink or swim. I ate and breathed Mariposa. No one cares more about your business than YOU. Owning a business is a love/hate relationship.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding things are those moments when customers come in and tell us we made a difference. Sometimes, it’s us (Mariposa staff) and sometimes it’s our space. We help them find that special treat and become a part of their day. What has surprised me are the moments when a client says,”You know, when I was here last week, it was one of the worst days of my life. I came in here and you made me feel better.” I never expect that, and it humbles me every time. Our customers have become like family. We have been through births, deaths, proms, weddings, special occasions, health diagnoses, promotions and life changes.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_059_Image_0001TINA COOPER

RiverCity Workwear

4020 Earnings Way

New Albany



What motivates you? Enjoying my job motivates me. Having good workers around me doing their job motivates me.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? Biggest risk was opening my own business. Most rewarding is opening my own business. There were and always will be struggles, but overall, I would have rather have taken the risk of opening my own business than looking back years later and wondering if I could have done it. I live with the risk of failure everyday, but it just keeps me moving forward and trying new ideas and taking more risk.

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding thing to me is the accomplishment of taking nothing and building a financially successful business from the ground up.

Extol_29_Final images_Page_060_Image_0001NICOLE LENFERT SHARP

Balance Holistic Salon

1419 E Spring St.

New Albany



What motivates you? My motivation and inspiration stems from my creativity. I love being an artist. The beauty industry has allowed me to express my artistic side for 16 years now. As a business owner, I can finally put all of my ideas to life. Balance Holistic Salon is my work of art.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? The biggest risk I took was opening up my space in two weeks time – but I did it! Passing state board, ordering supplies, filing LLC, and promoting my new business with a logo, brand, etc. I probably didn’t need to go so big so fast, but that’s how I roll. I get an idea, and so it shall be done!

What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding thing to me about being a hair designer is the experience we give our clients from the minute they walk into the door. They can finally relax. From the scalp massage to their finished look, we are making people feel good about themselves.

Faces of Southern Indiana

Q&A and photos by JD Dotson 

Editor’s Note: Some comments have been edited to include the question asked for clarity 

Our quest to meet a wide array of people in Southern Indiana took us shopping in New Albany, enjoying lunch in downtown Jeffersonville, hanging out in coffee shops in historic Madison and attending a car show and art show along the Ohio River. We talked to numerous folks to find what they care about most right now and how they define themselves.



What makes me happy and why? People is the short answer. Connecting with other people is the most important thing. It gets me through life, and I think making those connections and experiencing things with other people is what we are made to do. 

Ethan Jobe 


extolmag_27-1_page_048_image_0002What makes me happiest is my family and friends. 

Melanie Morrison Louisville, KY 


What’s most important to me right now is my family, my cat and my house. Is that superficial? I worked really hard for it. 

Laura Starnes 

Taylor Mill, KY 



The thing that makes me happy right now is learning some about the community I’ve grown up in all my life. Getting to know a new tidbit of history or meeting someone new, it’s like a familiar place but I get to discover these things every day. 

Morgan Paul Floyds Knobs 


What makes me happy? My customers, and I am getting ready to retire (from German American Bank), so it’s kind of bittersweet. Forty-three years of banking, and I’m getting ready to leave in December. It’s bittersweet, I will miss my people. 

Jeanine Little 



I’m a mother of two and I’m just trying to better myself for my family and hopefully make it into heaven one day. 

Diana Louise Finch 



We’re happy because life is good and once we lean on the Lord, we find out it gets better each day. 

Alvin and Annie White 



Who I am is a person that makes people feel that they are important and matter. 

Susan Strange 



What’s most important to me right now is getting my finances together, getting money saved back so I can eventually not have to rent an apartment (and) get everything paid off. 

Tori Wiggam 

New Washington 


Who am I? I am a muscle car enthusiast. 

Rick Roberts 



The most important thing is world peace right now. 

Samantha Perry and Bella 



The most important thing to me right now is continuing to grow my business, Sweets by Morgan, my relationships with friends and family, and trying to keep it all together. 

Morgan Coomer 



What makes me happy is spending quality time with people and getting to know their heart. 

Michelle Ralph 



What is most important to me right now is my son because he is autistic and he’s having some issues with another condition called misophonia, and it’s disrupting his daily life, so I am pretty much all consumed with that. 

Michelle Campbell 

New Albany 


What makes me happy is feeling fit, feeling good, making sure that the people I surround myself with are people that I admire. 

Emilio Vallecillo 



It makes me happy that I have an occupation and career that I enjoy, and I can help people in that career. I can be a positive influence on the people I come in contact with. I do have a small business in Southern Indiana, a shoe store (Pacers and Racers), but it’s more than that because I’m part of people’s daily lives. 

Derek Ingersoll 



I’m a lot of things: I’m a momma, I’m a nurse and I am just trying to be the best I can be today. 

Darci Richards Branham 



The most important thing to me right now is to help as many people in the community as I can whether by fitting shoes or coaching kids in track. I just like to do my part. 

Cat Patton 



The thing that makes me most happy is being around family and friends and people that love me and I love them. And also delicious foods and ice creams and pizzas and enjoying them on a beautiful day with my grandmother. 

Amber Applegate 

New Albany 


I am a 24-year-old college graduate who is really in love with her coffee shop job. 

Azia Watts 



What makes me happy? My dog and being close to achieving my goal, which I’ve set up for the past eight years. Just started my tattoo apprenticeship in January – just one step closer to having my dream job. 

Brandon Lejman 



Who am I? I’m a firefighter. 

Becky Oesterritter 

New Albany 


Who am I? I’m just an evolving human, day to day, hour to hour, and trying to learn. 

Ben Slein 

New Albany 





In this season of graduations and new beginnings, lots of high school seniors eagerly scoop up college scholarships. It’s a rite of passage for many – but that wasn’t the case for Dan Farmer in 2006. His story winds around like the lyrics of an epic ballad. 

“I was a basketball player and loved musical theatre at Jeffersonville High School,” said Farmer, now 31, and the founder and lead singer of The Juice Box Heroes, one of Southern Indiana’s most sought after cover bands. group1

“Not a lot of people have that combination of athletics and theatre,” Farmer continued, “but I was friends with everyone – from the jocks to the artistic kids. I had several scholarships for theatre, and I had the opportunity to play basketball at a few schools as well. I turned them all down.” 

But why? 

Farmer chuckled. “I was in love with the sport of mixed martial arts and had every intention of becoming a professional cage fighter.” 

Following a heartbreaking loss in the basketball regional his senior year, Farmer said goodbye to basketball, and days later, started training in mixed martial arts with New Albany police officer Craig Pumphrey and Ivan Dale, who trained other New Albany police officers in martial arts. Later that summer, Farmer added a boxing coach, Rock Cruz, and was on his way to his dream. 

It might not have been his parents’ first choice for launching his post-high school life, but Farmer had a vision. He enrolled at Indiana University/Bloomington, earning a degree in fitness specialism-kinesiology, but trained night and day to be a professional cage fighter, with the goal of eventually opening his own gym. “I trained six days a week in Jiu-jitsu for hours a day,” said Farmer. By the end of his first year at IU, he was ready for his first cage fight. “I was 19 and I fought a 29-year-old,” he said. “The fight lasted just under two minutes, and he (Farmer’s opponent) got 47 stitches in his face. It was the first physical altercation I’d had in my entire life. I was never rough, I never fought anyone. I saw this as a sport I loved and wanted to master.” The adrenalin was the lure for Farmer. “If you’re going to beat someone in sports, a fight is the ultimate physical competition,” he explained. “It’s not who is the toughest, it’s who is the most skilled in martial arts. I dedicated myself and worked so hard on my skills, my cardio, and my strength. I loved every second.” 

danWhile his parents grudgingly supported his fighting, they insisted he remain in school. “It was really hard for them to watch it,” said Farmer. “My dad would lose sleep all week worrying about my well-being before a fight.” 

He participated in cage fighting for five years and wound up with a 7-1 record. As he finished college and hit his 23rd birthday, he realized that it was time to move on. He was well-known regionally, and still loved mixed martial arts as a sport, but he knew hitting the elite – and most profitable – level of the sport was probably not in his future. 

Farmer emerged from the sport relatively unscathed, “Other than the fact I can’t breathe out of my left nostril now. I’m otherwise OK,” he laughed. He graduated and worked for Jasper Engines and Transmissions, running their wellness programs initially, and later, moving into a supervisory role on the factory floor. He currently works for Cintas as a sales representative. 

But Farmer knew he had to follow another lingering passion. Music and theatre had always been a part of his narrative, with stage appearances as early as 10 years old. He sang in the choir. College karaoke was great fun. He loved people, he loved music and he loved to entertain. 

A fateful evening out with friends to see the Louisville Crashers band in 2010 led to a conversation with his friend, Jordan Rajchel, and the birth of The Juice Box Heroes. 

“We were having a great time, and I said, ‘Man, we could do this better than anyone,’” said Rajchel, who was the band’s drummer until 2016. “I’ve loved seeing this thing we built grow into something pretty amazing.” 

group2“We said, let’s do it,” added Farmer. “We put together five friends, and we were terrible.” 

They practiced in a garage, though, and soon landed a few gigs in early 2011. Then, an opportunity arose to play at Louisville’s Hard Rock Café, and the band with no name faced a conundrum. 

“We didn’t have a name,” Farmer laughed. “Everyone brought a list of names to rehearsal, and everyone hated each other’s suggestions. In desperation, our lead guitarist, Kyle Reagan, threw out the name Juice Box Heroes and it stuck. I thought we might change the name later, but we never have, and now everyone in Southern Indiana and beyond knows us.” 

Word began to spread, and The Juice Box Heroes quickly established a popular following in the area. Weddings, corporate events, fundraisers and bars began booking the band, and their popularity soared. Farmer equates that to their varied and ever-changing selection of music, from the 1960s through today’s hits, covering all genres of music. 

“All of our shows this year have been sold out, and this year is nearly filled with shows,” said Farmer. “We average about 30 weddings a year, lots of events like Harvest Homecoming, and we travel regionally. We have even played the Fourth of July celebration for Pinehurst Golf Resort in North Carolina for the past two years.”

group3The Juice Box Heroes currently number six members, including Farmer and guitarist Kyle Reagan. Drummer Josh Howe, bassist Josh Inzer, keyboardist Dexter Neal and singer Sydney Magers round out the band. Rick Day runs all sound and light and heavy lifting for the band. 

Everyone has day jobs as varied as school bus driver (Inzer), sales rep (Farmer), Humana employee (Neal), music teacher and choir director (Reagan), medical assistant (Magers) and theme park set designer (Howe). 

For any locals keeping count, there are three New Albany High School and three Jeffersonville High School alums.


– Sydney Magers 

Female vocalist Magers joined The Juice Box Heroes in 2015. “It’s like having five brothers I never knew I needed, but I can’t imagine life without them now,” she said. “We have an absolute blast performing together. There aren’t many things that feel better than to bring joy to people and this band is definitely in the business of doing just that.”

And Farmer’s parents? “They are much more in tune with this lifestyle. In fact, they are two of Juice Box Heroes’ biggest fans. My dad even watches our videos when he works out.”

“My dad taught me a mantra a long time ago, that reads, ‘Expect to be good. Preparation builds confidence. Confidence builds greatness.’ I live by this every day,” Farmer added. “I’ve gone from an honor roll kid playing basketball to a professional cage fighter to the leader of the band and rock singer. I’ve been so lucky and blessed with so many opportunities. Every time I get on stage, I relish that feeling.” 

“Dan is one of the most motivated, passionate and competitive people you’ll ever meet,” said friend and former bandmate Rajchel. “If he does something, he’s going to do it right. There’s no in between. That feeling is priceless when you walk away from a show knowing we were a huge reason those people will remember that night forever. There’s nothing like it.” 

“I will never forget the first time we played the Jeffersonville RiverStage,” added Magers. “There were thousands of fans beyond excited to see us. As the Heroes took the stage, the crowd grew even louder, and in that moment, I knew I was home.” 

“We’re just regular people from Southern Indiana who love to perform,” Farmer said. “We’re up there, with so much energy, and we sing and dance and have a blast. We love it and that translates to the audience. They see how much fun we’re having on stage, and they want a piece of that.” 

Life continues to evolve for Farmer, who is now a father to his six-year-old son, Bas. 

“This band has been around his whole life, and I love having him at shows,” Farmer said. “Bas loves to sing at the top of his lungs and dance around the house. I think he might have some star power in him.” 

Farmer hopes to keep The Juice Box Heroes rolling into the future. “We can play 200 songs on the spot, but we are constantly working on new songs, and we are very prepared. We’re always growing and getting stronger, and we’ve become family. We just love what we do.” 


SONG OR BAND THAT MADE YOU WANT TO SING: Seeing Coldplay in concert made me want to be in a band. The Louisville Crashers made me think it could be a reality. 

SONG YOU LOVE TO PLAY: “Bust A Move” by Young MC 

SONG YOU WISH WOULD GO AWAY: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” 


BIGGEST “ROCK STAR” MOMENT: Performing in front of 5,000 people at the Jeffersonville RiverStage in 2018 

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM BACKSTAGE RIDER INCLUDE: Blue M&Ms, sushi, caviar and a pedicure. 

IF THE JUICE BOX HEROES IS STILL AROUND IN 2040, WILL YOU HAVE THE “MOVES LIKE JAGGER”?: Yes! I’m already been called the Jagger of Jeffersonville, so it’s a guarantee! 

WHAT LYRICS WILL BE ON YOUR TOMBSTONE: “Here I go again on my own!” (Whitesnake) 


MARTIAL ARTS ON STAGE: I throw the occasional high kick and pray that my pants don’t tear. 

THE JUICE BOX HEROES REALITY SHOW TITLE: “The Definition of Weekend Warriors” 

The Juice Box Heroes