Award finalist The Story Shop helping Madison County turn the page, write a new chapter

From primitive markings in a cave to great novels and gripping films, people have always wanted to share and hear each other’s stories

By Kyle Morey | 2.22.14

The Story Shop Founders Luke Renner & David Neidert | Photo By Dale Pickett


A pair of Anderson University graduates have taken that age-old truth and combined it with their own marketing skills to create a business called “The Story Shop.”

The business has become an inspiring story of its own. As masterminds of the “We Are Madison County” campaign, Luke Renner and David Neidert have also put their new firm in the running for this year’s “Emerging Business Award.”

The award will be presented during the 2014 Madison County Chamber Annual Awards Gala from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at the Madison Park Church of God.

The Emerging Business Award honors a Madison County-owned and Chamber-member company that’s been in business for fewer than five years and has fewer than 100 employees.

The other two nominees are Sales Artists and Star Bullets, Banners & Signs. The winner will be chosen based on demonstration of visible growth and achievements as well as investment in the community. Another factor in the criteria is which business has best exhibited “the cool factor” that energizes the community through their products and services.

“We’re humbled by the nomination,” Neidert said. “We have worked really hard in the county. It’s great to be recognized, but that’s certainly not why we do it. We hope what we do is benefitting the community and that, in turn will benefit us.”

Last year at this time, Renner and Neidert were preparing a keynote presentation for the annual Gala. This year, they could be among the award winners.

Their work so far on the Madison County campaign has lifted spirits and reminded residents that, in spite of challenging economic times, their communities are rich, indeed.

The “We Are Madison County” (WAMC) campaign is a celebration of the community, arts and innovation of the people of Madison County. The backbone of the campaign is formed by the stories told in short film style, centered on remarkable members of the community. These character vignettes provide a look into the lives and work of those who exemplify the values of hard work, innovation, creativity and caring for their community.

“With the collapse of the auto industry, we really lost our sense of identity,” Neidert said. “We didn’t know who we were any more. Hopefully our campaign will serve as a reminder that we are the same people we always were – hardworking, industrious, resilient. We want to celebrate the things that are here. As the campaign progresses, people are saying to us ‘I didn’t know this was in our own community.”

In addition to their work on the Madison County campaign, The Story Shop has also worked with The NFL Network and Eli Lilly on projects.

“Story-telling is older than all our technology, gizmos and gadgets,” Renner said. “To be a person is to have a story to tell. All that’s left of us when we’re gone are our stories.”

Renner believes the sky is the limit in Madison County – and for The Story Shop.

“It’s very fulfilling,” he said. “We’ve got big dreams. I think a lot of cool stuff is possible.”

“We really feel like we’re a change-agent in the communications and marketing industry,” Neidert said. “We come from different backgrounds and perspectives. It’s the most functional, productive partnership I’ve ever had.”

About the Award

3 finalists. 1 winner. The Emerging Business of the Year honors a Madison County-owned and MCC member company that has been in business fewer than five years and has fewer than 100 employees. The company must demonstrate the following characteristics to be nominated and must excel above others to win: Demonstrate visible growth and achievements, adhere to the company's brand promise, invest in the community, and demonstrate the "cool" factor of a new business that energizes the community either in their product/service offerings and/or their corporate culture.

> Read more and view past award winners on the WALL OF FAME



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