KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The re:mporium location on the Country Club Plaza will be closing its doors, with ownership steering their focus towards their Crossroads location.
It is a loss on the Plaza that will have a ripple effect.
Chrysalyn Huff, re:mporium's president, began her business journey in the West Bottoms.
"The fact [that] we started in a dock and ended up on the Country Club Plaza, I think that’s a pretty good story," Huff said.
It's a story that will write a new chapter, with the Plaza location closing soon. It's a move that will shrink the local footprint there.
"It's definitely concerning, you know I think the Plaza when they kind of first changed ownership a few years back, that was a big push was to bring more local businesses into the mix," Chase McAnulty, Charlie Hustle founder said. "I think it's obviously up to Plaza ownership to make that an initiative to continue to bring small businesses to the Plaza and support local."
It's not just a departure on the surface, Huff has showcased many local artists in her store on the Plaza. The closure means one less opportunity.
"We’re kind of on an island doing it ourselves, and when other stores continue to leave, those things affect us too," Huff said. "We just don’t feel like we can be the last man standing."
The news has the creative community, particularly Black creatives that have a strong relationship with Huff, on alert.
"In the community, we’ve made some steps, but so much more, that’s one of the opportunities we want to bring with Troost Market Collective," Lynnette Crawford, the Troost Market Collective director of operations, said. "It just takes a wall, to see who would hang some art on their wall in local businesses, it's that simple."
"I really think that this is a call to action for the many restaurants, businesses and establishments who call Kansas City home, to open up their spaces and to ensure that they are showcasing one of our strong suits here in Kansas City," Justice Horn, Troost Market Collective's director of communications said.
Huff has also been a key leader in the racial reconciliation effort since the 2020 Plaza protests. She thinks about future work on that front a lot.
"That’s an emotional thing for me, and I feel like we have always tried to use our, whatever you call it, influence, we’ve always tried to use our front doors as a place that said, 'We are different and we want things to be different,'" she said.
"Who will stand down here and stand with people, if we’re not here?" Huff continued.
The Country Club Plaza commented on the closing of re:emporium, stating that it will "continue to patiently curate the right mix of tenants to ensure the ongoing success and longevity of the Plaza."
"Tenants may close for any number of reasons, but great new retailers and restaurants will come to take their place. With differing lease terms and other business considerations, this type of change takes time," the statement from the Country Club Plaza said. "We were pleased to recently welcome Archive, Jill Marie Boutique, LensCrafters, Razzleberry, Sugah Rush Berries, Sweet Kiss Brigadeiro and an expansion to Made in Kansas City Marketplace to the Plaza. We look forward to the upcoming openings of Club Pilates, Ice Cream Bae, Lovesac, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel The Exhibition, Psycho Bunny and Pure Barre and will announce other new tenants as appropriate in 2022."