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Leon's Thriftway owner hopes to make comeback

Posted at 5:59 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 19:09:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Leon's Thriftway closed its doors in May after more than 50 years in business.

After a few months of the shelves being bare, Leon Stapleton and his son, Vernon, are hoping to make a comeback.

Leon said the store, which sat near the corner of Kensington Avenue and East 39th Street, struggled to keep pace with the competition when other grocery stores moved into the area.

He had to close down the business, but that left people who lack a means of travel without easy access to fresh food.

Since the closure, Leon and Vernon have been operating their liquor store. They came up with the idea of transforming it into a convenience store.

The Stapletons are selling all of the leftover items from the Thriftway for at a 30% discount and will use the money to bring in fresh produce for the new convenience store.

Vernon said many people in the community are not able to get around easily and need fresh food options nearby.

"We want to have what they need right here, so they don't have to go far," Vernon said.

Leon said the new store will have options that people need, like bread and milk.

He believes the new business will do well in the community despite the competition he dealt with the last few years.

"I have a lot of customers still that cannot understand why I closed, but I didn't have enough customers," Leon said.

He added that later business hours also should help bring in more customers.

Vernon said the small grocery store is the short-term goal right now, but the two have a bigger goal in mind.

"Hopefully, if this becomes more successful, we'll be able to get this up and then eventually open Leon's back up," Vernon said.