Author Archive for Blake Baer


Creativity is the lifeblood of a child. Imagination and dreaming are on the same level as smell, sight, and hearing. When the creativity of a child is poured out on paper in the form of drawings, how incredible would it be to have that drawing take the 3D form of a stuffed animal? That is exactly what Budsies does for children and parents alike. Budsies will take drawings or pictures and turn the objects within the pictures into stuffed animals, no matter how obscure.

Based in South-Florida, Budsies was first started in August of 2013 by founder Alex Furmansky. Since its start, it has made more than 33,000 custom stuffed animals for happy customers in 60+ countries. Alex started Budsies as a tribute to his younger sister, Michelle, whose visual creativity decorated the family’s refrigerator. However, those drawings were eventually thrown out. When Alex saw Michelle tucking in her stuffed animals late one night, he had the idea of turning those old drawings into childhood keepsakes.

His company has boomed, being featured on Shark Tank, ABC, Mashable, buzzfeed, and now being used in the Mayo Clinic, pediatric cancer wards, and children’s hospitals all over the country. Budsies began in Alex’s parent’s house, but now it has its own office corporation, design teams, and factory. It is amazing how the vision of one man has made the visions of so many children become reality!

Check out more here!

Legends of Jean Bonnet

Though it is now commonly listed among Pennsylvania’s top 10 most iconic and historical restaurants, The Jean Bonnet Tavern was not always that way. In the 1990s, this beautiful piece of history was just a decrepit, abandoned building that was falling into disrepair. However, one enterprising and sentimental man did not want the history to vanish, and so Mark Baer (my uncle) purchased the building and set about restoring it into a new vision of grandeur. He refinished the interior and exterior of the building, and began an uphill journey of introducing this historic restaurant into a market place.

In 2006, my uncle sold the building to a pair of visionaries, Shannon and Melissa Jacobs. Melissa Jacobs is a Grove City alumnus, and truly lived out her undergraduate values through the continued restoration. With a full bar, outdoor patio, legendary ghost stories, overnight rooms, and a charming atmosphere of quaint history, the Jean Bonnet tavern is a  must-see restaurant. In addition to being used all of the way back in 1760s, it has been the host of George Washington, this nation’s first president! The Jacobs family has emphasized so much of the restaurants rich history, that it is quickly becoming one of the oldest buildings in use in the state of Pennsylvania. I am proud to say that my family has played a small part in saving the life of this building.

Wok of Life Food Truck

Jack Jew originally was a banker for BNYMellon, a successful investment bank centered in Pittsburgh. He worked there for a number of years, but eventually was laid off due to a downsizing within the company. Jew relied on hobbies such as photography for a while to provide for his family, but he later felt like the LORD was calling him into the food truck industry.

He chose the food truck industry because of the flexibility it provided him to work with churches, schools, and sporting events. In addition, he now gets to develop close relationships with clientele. His food truck, named “Wok of Life” is a Christian themed company that he founded in June, 2015, and sells a small variety of reasonably-priced, delicious Asian food all throughout the city of Pittsburgh. Wok of Life can regularly be found outside of Allegheny Center Alliance Church (ACAC) on Sundays where he provides food for his Christian brothers and sisters. In addition, Jew is able to come to Grove City College, the school where his son Zachary has graduated from to provide food for events like Homecoming.

You can like their Facebook page or their website.

Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand was founded by Bill and Courtney Glaab in order to help solve the problems of hygiene and lack-of-cleanliness in 3rd world countries. It began with a high-tough idea of helping the poor, and was solved by the high-concept idea of a luxury type of soap bar without toxic chemicals, animal-based ingredients, and parabens. In 2012, Bill and Courtney had their first trip down to Haiti where they distributed 5,000 soap bars to children in poor villages. Today, they distribute about 60,000 bars of soap in each visit.

Their business plan is designed to distribute one bar of soap for every bar that they sell. In addition, they have also gotten onto a mission of drilling wells for clean water, saving 50 feet of rainforest for every bar purchased, funding micro loans, and leading a global effort for hygiene awareness overseas. Their efforts stem from a desire to see lives enriched by health and cleanliness, as well as fighting to make an impact in the environment and economies of these places. In all, Hand in Hand is an excellent example of a high-concept and high-touch company that seeks to improve the lives of those, both here in their own country as well as overseas. You can take a look at their products here.

From Lawyer to LEGO

Desk jobs are not for everyone, and that is certainly what right-brained Sean Kenney came to realize. After working in a law firm for 10 years, Sean had an epiphany that there was much more to life than his office cubicle. He decided to quit his job and to pick up his childhood dream of becoming a professional LEGO builder. After almost 18 years, Sean does not regret this decision.

Sean Kenney, in his LEGO

Sean Kenney, in his LEGO “studio,” surrounded by various models

You see, Sean’s LEGO building has made him a legendary celebrity in the world’s largest toy community. As one of the 13 LEGO Certified Professionals, Sean has the 3rd largest privately owned LEGO collection in the world at more than 5 million pieces. In addition, he has written several books, founded MOCpages (a networking website for enterprising LEGO builders), and built hundreds of models, statues, and pieces of art that are portrayed all over the globe.

When asked about why he chose to quit his job at the law firm, he replied that it did not satisfy an inner desire for creativity and abstract imagination that is in the fundamental core of who Sean is. His job was so focused on left-brain directed empirical and objective thinking that his right-brained creativity didn’t have any avenue of expression. After he quit his job, he slowly but surely became one of the best LEGO builders in the world because of his passion for what he does. Certified LEGO Professionals are private individuals with a particular skill-set for enterprise and construction who are recognized by the LEGO Company as independent businessmen and women. Sean is one of these creative entrepreneurs who truly thought outside the box (of his cubicle). In addition to his own creative though, he is very passionate about helping others realize their dreams of creative construction as demonstrated through the invention of his website MOCpages. As someone who has been a member of the LEGO community for many years, Sean’s story is an inspiring and remarkable example for me of a man using his God-given passions and abilities to help others and fulfill his own dreams.


Harry’s Razors

In today’s world, a man’s facial hair is as important to his image and status as his shirt cuffs, his pressed pants, or his Oxford-style shoes. Whether shooting for the “lumbersexual” appearance, or if the finely groomed businessman is more one’s style, all men need to have the right tools for grooming and public presentation. Unfortunately, many companies have sought to exploit the need for trustworthy, convenient razors, and have forced men to pay a pretty penny in order to attain grooming products that reflect their fine taste for style and quality, but also their desire for simplicity and reliability.

A standard kit for Harry's Razors

This is why two young men had the vision of Harry’s Razors. Harry’s was founded by Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield who were college buddies turned business partners when the right idea finally aligned with the perfect opportunity. They shared a common desire to provide simple, trustworthy razors to men in a cheap and simple way, without all the fluff or excess. As such, Harry’s was founded and built upon the principles of simplicity, quality manufacturing, and consumer satisfaction in all aspects.

The internet has broadened their accessibility, and also allowed Harry’s to host tutorials, guides, and functional tips for many aspiring shavers. With professional barbers and artists all piping in on their best advice or recommended shaves, the site offers a variety of great additional information that go far beyond the usual business model.

With German steel mills and New York Barbershops now, Harry’s is exploding all across the world as men are finding them to be inexpensive, reliable tools that can give any cheek a smoothing. In addition to the business, Harry’s also donates 1% of their profits and time to helping develop trade workers in urban areas where they are sorely needed. With prices less than half of what their competitors would charge, Harry’s is truly a great buy. In addition, their simple design and ease of use are making them instantly popular among the male urban population.

Want to see it for yourself? Check out their website!