Businesses close to Kemper Arena say tearing it down is good news

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Some businesses that are close to Kemper Arena say they are thrilled about the proposal to tear down the old arena and build a new state-of-the-art agriculture center.

Several business owners said they've been operating without concerts at Kemper, since the Sprint Center was built so they've learned to count on the customers the agriculture show brings in. Owners said the proposal for a new, better agriculture center that could host major rodeos and horse shows is good news.

The Golden Ox that sits under the horizon of Kemper Arena opened 62 years ago.

"Harry Truman was in here, I know and that is as big of a celebrity you get around here. The restaurant has been icon of Kansas City, it's the oldest steakhouse in town and a Kansas City tradition," said co-owner Bill Teel.

Teel said the restaurant's business used to thrive on major headliners playing Kemper Arena.

"All the big guys played. I know Eric Clapton and Tina Turner, and I saw her down here back in the 80s. We would get full when there was a concert, but if the concert started at 8:00, people would start leaving around," said Teel.

Now the company's bottom dollar counts on the agriculture shows the American Royal draws.

"The livestock show down here is now a 10 day event and you have people down here 24 hours. They need breakfast, lunch and dinner. They need snacks so that has a much bigger impact than just a concert," explained Teel.

The owner was excited when the Kemper family announced their desire to tear down the old arena and build a new state-of-the-art agriculture center.

"You always hate to see something go but then again,the future looks really bright with a new facility coming. Change happens so you have to embrace it and in this case I think its good change," said Teel.

Grandma's Bar and Grill just opened about a year and half ago and never got the chance to see what it was like to have a concert at Kemper.

The manager said her boss decided to open, "she thinking that this area was going to grow some and it hasn't," explained Jean Holman.

She said the proposal could mean a chance to keep their doors open, because it has been pretty slow.

"I think it is going to help a lot, like last weekend we had the pig show and that helped," said Holman.

While the city still has to agree to the Kemper family proposal, some nearby owners hope they will and they get a chance at a more lucrative future.

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