Community pushes to destigmatize Troost as small businesses open shop

Posted at 12:59 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 19:00:00-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — South Kansas City is pushing to remove the stigma from Troost Avenue. 

It's a street that's been known to divide east and west Kansas City, and now it's seeing new life as businesses open their doors.

The House of Smash Glam opened up at 39th and Troost earlier this year, bringing a new salon and photography concept to the area.

Aisha Simon and Tiffany Cody are the owners. The makeup artist and photographer said they served many of the same clients and birthed the concept through a “happy accident.”

Cody said one of the best parts has been meeting the people living along Troost, and many of them have come in to welcome her and thank her for bringing business there.

Troost is a major throughway in Kansas City, but some people said it would be a risk moving there, but Cody and Simon saw opportunity.

"It was really great to see a storefront we could get at an affordable price with lots of traffic going by," said Cody.

Cody describes them as more than photos and makeup but rather personal and business branding. They say they service emerging KC micro and small businesses.

She said at Tiger's Corner, where her business is, a nail salon and cellphone repair store are coming next month. Then in the fall, a gourmet biscuit restaurant will follow.

"We are really excited about that," laughed Cody, who also explained there are already micro-apartments above their space. "It's really changing a lot. I think a lot has to do with the community itself."

Near 55th and Troost, there's construction for Scholars Row, a 50 micro-unit complex near Rockhurst and UMKC.

City leaders are optimistic some of the progress seen in the Manheim neighborhood will transition to Beacon Hill.

City Council member Jermaine Reed said there was a big push by private investors for at least the past eight years.

Reed said developers are in the process of buying land between 25th and 27th for at least 350 apartments. They also expect mixed-use development on three vacant corners of 27th and Troost, which includes a small grocery store.

"With those new developments, they continue to spark new single-family living," said Reed.

Right now, between Lynnwood and 35th Street is pretty empty. It's one area people living nearby would like to see grow. 

"You can basically build the corridor back up if you connect the two ends," said Anthony Sealey, who sits on the Beacon Hill Homeowners Association Board.

The city is looking at using PIAC and GO Bond money to fix sidewalks and make street improvements to draw businesses like Cody's.

"I don't want to see empty buildings, just run down. I don't think they want to see big business, but small, local business coming in and taking it back," said Cody.

Back in October, the city approved plans for a mixed-use project on the corner of 27th and Troost that would bring 182 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail space.

Workers were putting up construction fences on Monday and said they plan to break ground on Thursday.