By Kevin Collison
At a time traditional retail is struggling, Made in KC is bucking the trend with an expansion in the works at its Country Club Plaza outlet, a new downtown café and finally, a chance to serve beer and wine at its streetcar location in the River Market.
“I think Kansas City understands the importance of shopping and supporting local,” said co-owner Keith Bradley.
“We’ve been able to create a viable business opportunity for so many people and it’s way more fun than shopping online.”
The Country Club Plaza outlet of the local artisan collective is expanding into the former Walking Co. storefront next door, a move that will add 2,400 square-feet to an already sizable location.
“We’re essentially moving our café over to that side and creating more seating,” Bradley said. “We also have three new artists lined up.”
The former café space at the Plaza outlet will be repositioned as a dessert bar featuring ice cream, Christopher Elbow bon bons and other sweets. Bradley expects the expansion will be completed in time for the Plaza Art Fair which runs Sept. 24-26.
In the meantime, work continues on a new outlet in the lobby of the lightwell office tower in downtown. It’s taking over the former Starbucks space and will primarily be a café with limited retail. It’s expected to open in October.
Made in KC also plans to continue operating its shop across Baltimore Avenue from lightwell.
The River Market location opened last October in a vintage 1947 streetcar at the corner of Fifth and Delaware. The food and beverage operation occupies about half the interior with the remainder set aside for seating and retail items.
The streetcar also offers a shaded outdoor deck that can accommodate 25- to 30 people. And just last month, Made in KC finally was approved for a liquor license that allows it to serve beer and wine at the location.
Rounding out the urban Made in KC expansion list, its new store and café at Martini Corner in Midtown Kansas City opened in April at 325 E. 31st St. There’s also a bar called “Ludo’s” that features four indoor shuffleboard lanes.
In addition to the draw of selling unique, locally-crafted retail items, Bradley said the decision to include cafés at Made in KC locations has helped attract shoppers.
“We’ve diversified to offer food and beverage, and having that helps,” he said. “It creates a better experience for customers.”
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