Downtown bar fighting to stay afloat despite shooting, death, illness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just before 5 o’clock Thursday Richard Montano was preparing Stanford’s 813 for the night — stocking the bar with napkins and straws, wiping off tables in the backroom.

The comedy club manager said he is hoping to get at least eight customers tonight.

“We’ve been trying to run a business at a negative for three months, and it’s killing me because I don’t want to be the comic who fails,” he said as tears rolled down his face.

When Stanford’s 813 relocated to its building on Walnut Street in downtown Kansas City, the business had no trouble attracting customers.

A shooting in February changed it all.

“I mean nobody should have been here. It makes no sense,” said Montano. “But it happened, and this 50-year tradition is going to go away.”

Kansas City police responded to a shooting near Stanford’s at 6:20 a.m. on Feb. 25. The business had closed at 3 a.m. but a cleaning crew, according to Montano, had left a door open to take out the garbage. That’s when he said a man ran inside the comedy club and was shot.

Police found another victim later at the hospital.

No suspects have been arrested in the case.

Montano said the victims were neither employees nor customers, however it’s taken a toll on the business.

“We can’t even get 30 people to come in on a weekend night,” he said.

Sometimes the skeleton staff at the bar have to wait until they can be paid in full, but they continue to show up and work.

“With no workers, you don’t have a business,” said Marika Barrell, one of Stanford’s bartenders.

On top of losing customers because of news of the shooting, Montano said one of the business’ owners recently died while the other is battling cancer.

“I am trying to hold this up until [the owner] gets back,” said Montano.

Stanford’s offers a bar, pool tables, darts and other games. Tickets to comedy shows range from $5 to $20.

To buy tickets, visit their Facebook page.

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