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posted: 12/17/2012 6:00 AM

Suburban entrepreneurs build new tribes

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  • Josh Karp

    Josh Karp

  • Keith Jones

    Keith Jones

  • Emeril Lagasse

    Emeril Lagasse

  • Susan Sentell

    Susan Sentell

  • Hilary Bryson, from left, Richard Ceffalio and Jim Cox

    Hilary Bryson, from left, Richard Ceffalio and Jim Cox

  • Jeff Simon

    Jeff Simon

  • Leah Setzen

    Leah Setzen

  • Rich Piontek

    Rich Piontek


Founder Josh Karp of Des Plaines and partner Adam Johnson, who grew up in Wilmette, Glencoe and Lake Forest, wanted to create a new social platform and help enthusiasts get their voices heard while possibly getting paid.

So they launched, which allows bloggers and other fans of social media to create their own groups and allow advertising, if they choose.

"Kumbuya was born out of the work we were doing with The Printed Blog," said Johnson.

The Printed Blog is a print magazine comprised entirely of blogs and other online content. Since it launched in 2009, the men have worked with thousands of bloggers worldwide.

"And we came to really understand some of the key issues they face," said Johnson. "One of the most important issues is the ability to monetize their content and their community in a respectful way. They post their content to social networks, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and they build communities, and they receive nothing in return. was started to give bloggers control over what happens with their work, and to help them monetize it."

In about eight weeks, more than 8,000 bloggers and other active social media enthusiasts have created "tribes" on Kumbuya. It was launched with the goal of "combining everything we love about social media while adding tools to enable business-savvy influencers to transact business directly with their audience," Johnson said.

Users create themed communities called tribes, where members can hold discussions. Those tribes can allow or prohibit advertising.

Johnson said Kumbuya already has six full-time employees and a development firm that has dedicated three programmers to the site.

In the near-term, they'll add more content modules to the site, for example, a module for music, or Yelp reviews or Spotify playlists.

Johnson said, "Very soon, websites will be able to embed tribes, our term for community, so their users can get the benefits of Kumbuya without having to travel to us."

Arlington auctioneer top in state

Arlington Heights resident Keith Jones, principal of Sayre & Jones Auctioneers Ltd., was awarded the 2012 State Champion Auctioneer title from the Illinois State Fair in Champaign. About 20 auctioneers from Illinois competed for the award. Contestants were judged on speed, clarity, poise, salesmanship, appearance, product knowledge and entertainment. The top five were chosen to compete in a second round, which included answering questions pertaining to the profession in addition to performance. Jones will now represent Illinois in the National Auctioneers Convention in Indianapolis in July 2013.

Retired teacher sets track for kids

Ron Keller and Les Scherer designed and installed a Lionel O Gauge Polar Express train and village in the lobby of Naperville Bank & Trust. It's designed to allow parents to help children run the train themselves. When Keller was a boy, he always had an elaborate train display in his home at Christmas and began building his first layout at age 10. Keller, a retired music teacher, said the Polar Express would be a train today's children would relate to. "While the layout is simple, it's designed for parents and children over about age 9 to run easily." Keller said via a bank spokeswoman.

Emeril partners with Rosemont brand

TV Chef Emeril "Bam" Lagasse is collaborating with Rosemont-based Snapware brand via TV retailer HSN in honor of National Organization Month and Super Bowl. For more on Emeril by Snapware or the Emeril collection on HSN, visit or join the conversation HSN on Facebook and Twitter.


Susan Sentell, president and CEO of Lisle-based Gladson, said the company has been granted patent protection by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a unique method that captures product images and package information, an issue for retailers and manufacturers that use electronic images in their e-commerce, advertising and other program. Gladson collects product images, physical dimensions and other information. Each month, the company processes thousands of cases, inner packs and retail packages for consumer packaged goods and food service products.

Lora Yowell and John Wells, owners of Bensenville-based Aviation Universe were honored by the DuPage County Senior Police Management Association with its annual President's Award for the company's significant contribution to the law enforcement community. Aviation Universe is a member of Bensenville's Airport Watch program, the first such program in Illinois. In nominating the business, the Bensenville police chief noted their assistance in developing the program, expanding the membership and their ongoing support.

Schaumburg resident Larry Griffin is the manager of the new Party City store that opened at 152 S. Gary Ave., in the Stratford Crossing Shopping Plaza in Bloomingdale. ... Andrew Limouris, CEO and president of Lombard-based Medix Staffing Solutions Inc., said the company was honored by Inc. Magazine on the Inc. Hire Power Awards list in the Human Resources category for creating jobs and putting Americans back to work. ... Richard Ceffalio and Jim Cox of the Ceffalio Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors and Jeff Simon have joined Wells Fargo Advisors in Arlington Heights. Ceffalio is managing director of investments. Cox is financial adviser. Also Simon is now vice president of investments/branch supervisor at Wells Fargo.

Gibson Thorakkal of Glendale Heights and Joby Thorakkal of Hanover Park has opened The Chicago Turtle Factory at 10 S. Riverside Ave. in downtown St. Charles. The store features popcorn, chocolate and candy. ... Roastmster Mason Brown was on hand last week at Two Brothers Brewing Company serving free coffee samples to guests at both Two Brothers Taphouse in Warrenville and Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora. ... Leah D. Setzen is a new partner with Grunyk & Associates P.C. in Naperville. Her practice will continue to focus on family law, guardianship and appellate matters.

Geneva architect and resident Nanette Andersson, president/principal at Andersson Architecture + Design, received the Green Champion award, which recognizes an individual who has truly been a USGBC -- Illinois Chapter champion. It awards a chapter member that has shared the chapter's green building message to help advance a sustainable future in Illinois. USGBC-Illinois presented its chapter leader and member volunteer awards at its 2012 annual meeting in Chicago.

Cary resident Rich Piontek has been hired as the new president of 3PLogic. Transportation Solutions Enterprises (TSE), based in Chicago, was founded in 2011. 3PLogic is part of a portfolio of companies that includes brokerage Transportation Solutions Group and a nationwide truckload carrier called F/X.

•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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