Phil Dome (left) and Deb Domke own Payroll Vault, a workforce solutions franchise. While the two work to succeed in business, they also make sure to stop and take time to enjoy family, friends and traditions around the holidays. See next week’s Herald Ledger edition for the next small business feature.

Many people think business and love can’t mix, but Phil and Deb Domke, owners of Payroll Vault, a national franchise providing workforce solutions for business, prove that theory wrong every single day. When they took the leap from the corporate world and purchased the franchise, they decided to bring it to their hometown region of western Kentucky, bringing home a technology forward company to serve the businesses not only in this area, but throughout the country.

Payroll Vault is designed with the small business owner and team in mind, providing a small business hub for solutions in payroll processing, timekeeping, human resource management, labor law poster compliance, merchant services and additional services all centered around helping businesses be the best they can be.

In four years, after locating their main office in Eddyville, the team has expanded their services, opened a second office in Paducah, and have partnered with iSolved — an HR and payroll technology software, which offers a myriad of benefits that extend well beyond just simple payroll processing. Which is exactly the pinnacle of the Domkes’ focus, providing the best services for businesses all while providing personalized service they have always expected from the businesses they patronized in the past.

“When you look at our beautiful area of western Kentucky, you see that exact charm of small-town America,” said Deb Domke.

“Often times, we are asked why we located our company’s processing center in Eddyville. Our reply is that if you look at the area, Eddyville is located in the center of the area, with easy access to I-24 and I-69, which provides a quick travel to visit clients throughout western Kentucky, as well as Tennessee, Illinois and seven other states in the country.”

“In our business, the fourth quarter of the year is always a very busy time,” she continued, “with many clients offering holiday bonuses for their employees, preparing for year-end processing, and new companies coming aboard for 2023. However, we always manage to carve time out for a few of our holiday family traditions.”

Running their own business in a small town, the Domkes understand how important connection is and the value of treating customers like family. They know that going the extra mile with even a small, personal touch can be meaningful, and there’s no time like the holidays to truly stop and appreciate what they have.

“The beauty of traditions is that no matter what is going on in the world or in your life, it brings you back to memories from your childhood with your family and friends,” Domke explained. “Growing up and throughout my adult years before his passing, I always looked forward to Christmas Eve, when my dad, Jess Gamblin, and I would always go out to breakfast or lunch and shop for my mom for Christmas.”

“In Phil’s family,” she said of her husband, “he remembers he and his Grandmother Jones always making English butter tarts and his mom, Pamela Domke, before her passing, leading the Christmas cookie baking express with he and his sister and friends baking and decorating her famous sugar cookies.”

While they may be older, the Domkes still take time to capture the Christmas magic.

“Today, Christmas is a really big deal at our house on the Gamblin farm in Lyon County,” Domke said. “It’s my mother, Joanna Gamblin’s, favorite time of the year. We help her create her magical Christmas village with usually 15 or more Christmas trees decorated at the house, thousands of white lights outside and the fence row down the long drive on the hill draped with garland and wreaths.”

“Baking is also on the list,” she continued, “with baking everything from the traditional Christmas cookies, candies and of course my mother’s famous cheesecake that has been enjoyed by many of our clients throughout the year. And no holiday season is ever complete without taking in a holiday show.”

Community members are encouraged to shop at Payroll Vault and other local businesses as part of Lake Barkley Chamber of Commerce’s “Keep the Cheer Here” campaign. Supporting and shopping local keeps money in the community and helps support businesses that benefit the local economy.

See next week’s Herald Ledger edition for another small business feature.



- Tart shell pastry

Two and two-thirds cups — All-purpose flour

One tablespoon — Sugar

One teaspoon — Salt

One cup — Butter, chilled and cut into pieces

One-fourth to one-half cup — Ice cold water

- Butter tart filling

One-half cup — Soft butter

One-half cup — Brown sugar, packed

One-half cup — Corn syrup, golden

Two eggs, slightly beaten

One teaspoon — Vanilla

Pinch of salt

One-half cup — Coconut (optional)

Raisins (optional)


Butter tart pastry

1. Sift flour, salt and sugar together.

2. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mix until it resembles coarse meal.

3. Add cold water a bit at a time until dough just starts to hold together. Adding too much water will make for a tough dough. Do not over-work the dough.

4. Press dough together, forming a disk.

5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

6. Roll out the pastry dough to quarter-inch thickness. Cut into 16 four-inch circles or 12 five-inch circles.

7. Press the dough into muffin tins, being careful not to stretch the dough.

8. Refrigerate until the filling is prepared.

- Butter tart filling

1. In a large bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir until the butter is creamed and the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add eggs, vanilla and pinch of salt. Mix well.

3. Fill the tart shells about two-thirds full with the filling.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. The filling should be lightly browned and bubbling.

Let the butter tarts cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.