An area company that sponsors the Missouri Mavericks is using that hockey connection to raise money for Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Certified Radon is putting its 23-person suite up for auction for the Mavericks game Jan. 31 at the Independence Events Center against the Denver Cutthroats. There’s private seating and what’s promised to be a party-like atmosphere.

All of the money raised goes for cancer research at Children’s Mercy, which has facilities across the metro area, including clinics in Independence. The auction is on eBay, and it closes Jan. 26. Bidding starts at $1,000. Go to Certified Radon, which does testing and mitigation, also is giving Children’s Mercy $25 for each home radon test it conducts between now and Feb. 20. The company says radon, which causes lung cancer, reaches dangerous levels in one-third of the area’s homes.

Coming soon?

Menard’s, the large home-improvement chain, confirms that it’s coming to the metro area – but not Eastern Jackson County, at least not yet.

The company, based in Eau Claire, Wis., says it owns land and plans to build a store on Interstate 49 in Belton and another on Missouri 152, just east of Zona Rosa.

In 2012, the company announced and then dropped plans for an Independence store. Now a spokesman says “no final decisions have been made at this point in time” regarding any metro sites other than Belton and the Northland.

Housing gains

It’s official. The metro area just had its best year for new single-family housing since the Great Recession, and Eastern Jackson County more than held its own.

The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City said Tuesday, as expected, that more than 4,000 permits were issued in the eight-county metro area, the most since 2007.

The exact number was 4,087, a 24 percent jump from 2012. Eastern Jackson County did a little better, with 652 permits, up 27.3 percent.

Lee’s Summit led Eastern Jackson County with 296 permits (the Jackson County portion of the city only), and that was up 19 percent. Blue Springs, however, posted a 60 percent gain, going from 87 in 2012 to 139 last year. That kept Blue Springs in the No. 9 spot for the metro area for the second straight year.

Kansas City continued to be No. 1 in the area with 675 permits, though 91 percent of those were in Platte or Clay counties. No. 2 is Olathe (528 in 2013), followed by Overland Park (422), Lee’s Summit (334) and Lenexa (217).

Other cities in Eastern Jackson County:

• Independence, 66 permits, up 8 percent.

• Grain Valley, 47, up 12 percent.

• Lake Lotawana, 21, up 75 percent.

• Oak Grove, 12, up from four.

Openings, honors

• Comcast has opened an Xfinity Experience Center – what the company calls its first next-generation customer service center in the Kansas City area.

It’s at 18701 E. 39th St., near Chuck E. Cheese and near Independence Center. The center has interactive displays showing the company’s expanding line of products, from streaming video to home security. The company also is showing its X1 viewing platform. There’s a self-serve kiosk to pay your Comcast bill, and the company says its queuing system “allows customers to learn, explore and be entertained, instead of simply waiting in line.”

Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

• Like clockwork, Edward Jones has again been named on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” list. It’s the 15th time the company, based in St. Louis, has made the list.

Edward Jones is No. 4 this year, the highest among financial services companies. It was No. 8 last year. The magazine surveys employees, and 96 percent of them at Jones said they are proud to work there. They gave the company high marks for training and for honest, ethical leadership.

• Wingstop at 11825 U.S. 40 is celebrating its grand opening this Saturday with a giveaway: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last, customers can get five free wings in any of the company’s 10 flavors, which include “original hot,” teriyaki, garlic parmesan and “atomic.”

Regular hours are 11 a.m. to midnight daily.

The 20-year-old company, based in Dallas, has more than 600 sites in the U.S., Mexico, Singapore and Russia.

• Green Lantern Car Wash has opened its fourth metro location, at Interstate 470 and U.S. 40 in Independence, next to Cheddar’s. It’s offering grand opening discounts.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 Sunday.

The company also says it plans locations in Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’ s business reporter and editor. Reach him at or 816-350-6313. Follow on Twitter @FoxEJC or @Jeff_Fox.