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Community-focused coffee shop opens in Argentine neighborhood of KCK

Grounded Sole Coffee Shop
Posted at 4:00 AM, Oct 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-05 09:22:12-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A local, faith-based, nonprofit recently surveyed young people in the Argentine neighborhood about what kind of business their community needed.

The resounding response was a coffee shop. Now Grounded Sole coffee shop has opened with a goal of not only being a great starting point for a day, but for a professional future.

The building where the shop is housed was vacant a few months ago. Now it’s full, and gives off a very specific vibe.

“So far there's like tons of vacant buildings, and about three open businesses on this street,” said Taylor Penrod, Executive Director of Barefoot Mission, the nonprofit agency behind Grounded Sole. “One of the biggest compliments we had, the very first day we were open, somebody came in and said this place feels like peace. That's the goal."

Penrod lives in the Argentine neighborhood, so she understood when young people said if her group was going to open a business, this is what it should be.

"You see a lot of businesses that meet basic needs, which is great. Gas stations, Dollar Tree, Walmart," Penrod said. “A coffee shop is kind of a luxury place, and the truth is that just hasn't been an investment in a long time in KCK."

People are already noticing Grounded Sole's presence.

"I was just at an event in the park this weekend, and I overheard somebody saying, ‘Do you know about the new coffee shop?’” said Madi Ford, an intern with Barefoot Mission. “I turned around and said ‘I work there, it's so exciting.'"

One of the people who have noticed the coffee shop's presence is Silvia Marin, who lives right across the street.

“I don't think it has to be packed, just the fact that it's a place for someone to come,” Marin said. “Whether it's one person or 100 people, you're giving a place for somebody to be, and I think that's a huge deal by itself."

Another big goal for the coffee shop is job training for young people in Argentine.

“Something that we've seen a lot is that in our community of young people can get a job like that,” Penrod said. “Everywhere is hiring, it is not hard to get a job. What is hard, is keeping the job."

So eventually, customers will see more local faces behind the counter, learning those first job skills that are so important.

“I really hope that it gives people a lot of dignity,” said Olivia Nabb, a Barefoot Mission intern and shop manager. “And a lot of confidence in how they interact with people."

The shop’s official grand opening is Wednesday, Oct. 5. They'll be open Wednesdays through Saturdays. They hope to have their job training program up and running in the next few months.