KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The co-owners of an independent book store and wine bar had several reasons to celebrate Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri.
Customers packed Bliss Books and Wine for its grand opening.
“Our community has been with us from day one. We pivot, they pivot. We rise, they rise. We backtrack, they backtrack," said La'Nesha Frazier, co-owner of Bliss Books and Wine. "They have been the pushing force for us — it’s been awesome."
Day one for Frazier and her sister La’Nae Robinson was in 2019. The sisters’ dream was to open a book store where customers could also buy and drink wine while hanging out.
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 forced them to take their pop-up business virtual.
When they wanted to finally open a brick and mortar location, the sisters discovered a city ordinance prevented them from getting a liquor license at their desired location — 3502 Gillham Road — because of density issues.
“The battle with the liquor license, I was going to fight it to the death, because I was fighting for my community,” Frazier said.
In the summer of 2022, Frazier and Robinson worked with KCMO city councilwoman Andrea Bough to change the city’s ordinance. Now, the sisters were eligible for a waiver.
On Saturday, they officially cut the ribbon on their storefront at 3502 Gillham Road.
“This is what we dream of for Kansas City,” said KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas, who attended the grand opening. “Making sure, not only do we have Black-owned businesses, but that they thrive. And in particular, Black, women-owned businesses — that’s what this is all about.”
Based on the turnout for Saturday’s event, Bliss Book and Wine provides something the community craves — a space to buy local books, to hang out, to drink wine and to experience culture.
“There’s nothing like this,” Tiffany Ford said. “A new opportunity to experience something new in the community is always an amazing opportunity.”
Bliss Books and Wine is located on the ground floor of the International Apartments on the southwest corner of Gillham Road and Armour Boulevard in Kansas City.
Learn more about the store’s book clubs, special events and hours by visiting its website.