KARE Health and Wellness, a south Springfield functional medicine clinic, was the recipient of the 2023 W. Curtis Strube Small Business Award from the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
The recognition was given to KARE at the annual event on May 10 at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center. The award has been given by the Chamber’s Small Business Council since 1992.
KARE was founded by Andy and Keri Sutton in 2011. Keri Sutton developed a passion for functional medicine through her personal health struggles. After years of traditional treatments, specialists and prescription medications, she was left with no answers and a “very poor quality of life.”
Upon discovering functional medicine, which is seen as an alternative to traditional medical treatments, Keri Sutton began implementing the practices on herself, and she began to see results, according to information on KARE’s website.
Sutton sought to practice functional medicine and find alternative ways to reverse chronic diseases and provide care for others in Springfield.
“For everybody to stop for just a brief moment and recognize, really all five [small businesses] that were here and then to be selected, [is] just a huge honor and a huge surprise,” Andy Sutton said.
Keri Sutton studied at Missouri University and obtained her master’s degree as an adult nurse practitioner from St. Louis University. She also has a background in working in conventional medicine prior to starting her practice in alternative treatments, including a stint at Mercy in Springfield, where she worked as a hospitalist.
Prior to opening and during the early days of KARE, Andy Sutton worked as an architect. As the business grew, he left his career in architecture and joined his wife full time at KARE, where he primarily handles the administrative side of the business, while Keri Sutton focuses on clinical aspects of the business.
“Keri Sutton’s small business story is incredibly inspiring,” said Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Matt Morrow. “By continuing to apply everything she learned on her journey to establishing KARE Health and Wellness, she and her team have built a strong and sustainable model to provide patient-centered functional medicine.”
Named after Dr. W. Curtis Strube, the late director of the Breech School of Business Administration at Drury University, the award “celebrates the success of the [Chamber’s] small business members and recognizes the important role small businesses and entrepreneurs play in the local economy.”
KARE was one of five finalists, which also included Bug Zero, Grooms Office Environments, Jordan Essentials and Revel Advertising.
After being nominated for the award, either by themselves or others, nominees submit detailed applications that include:
- Essays on company history
- Management philosophy
- Responses to challenges
- Innovation in product and service offerings
- Contributions to the community
The Small Business Council, which is composed of five members, then reviews all of the applications, and ranks them on a 50-point scale. The finalists, and winner, are selected based on which businesses accrued the highest point total.
In addition to the award itself, KARE received tuition certificates from Drury University, Missouri University and Evangel University for business and leadership programs, in addition to a strategic planning session from People Centric Consulting Group.