Editor’s note: Startland News perused Westside Storey’s 1920s-era corner shop as part of the newsroom’s five-part holiday gift guide that identifies locally made goods and supports the call to shop small. Click here to read the multi-day gift guide as it develops.
What began eight years ago as a boutique antique shop quickly evolved into one of Kansas City’s first KC pride stores, said Chris Harrington, emphasizing a focus on hometown makers, brands and cultural trends.
“Westside Storey exists to support local artists,” said Harrington, owner of the shop at 17th and Summit streets. “We try to provide a platform for brands and artists to showcase their products, while trying to maintain a nostalgic shopping experience in a dying retail world.”
Tucked in Kansas City’s Westside neighborhood — an eclectic mix of local restaurants and shops — the store showcases the best of what Kansas City has to offer, he said, adding that Westside Storey hopes to put KC pride on the map — and keep it there.
Like many of the brands it stocks, the store itself was hit hard amid the pandemic — and not just by the virus keeping customers away.
“We will get through this,” Harrington said in a statement following a vandalism incident in March that saw the store’s front window busted out.
A GoFundMe launched soon after, raising more than $2,500 for repairs to the retailer of locally-made and inspired apparel and wares, which formerly housed Stern’s Dry Goods — a well known spot that dealt men’s and women’s furnishings.
Recovered and ready for the holiday shopping season, Westside Storey is filled with holiday cheer as masked shoppers browse its wide-ranging collection of vintage sports gear, mixed charmingly with the latest finds from KC brands that range from MADE MOBB and Ocean and Sea to Harrington’s own label, Bellboy Apparel.
“The holiday season will look different as we follow the rules and protocol from our elected officials,” Harrington said of precautions within the business. “Not too many people in the shop at once. Hand sanitizer throughout the store.”
“We are trying to evolve to push more sales online,” he continued. “We typically rely on the busy restaurants in the Westside neighborhood to help produce shoppers. They are very slow, so we’ll have to figure out a way to get shoppers in the door.”
“Holiday shopping is enormous for us,” Harrington added. “We are similar to many retail brands who rely and lean on holiday sales to have a successful year.”
Five picks to support local makers
The Startland News team selected a handful of products from within Westside Storey to showcase the variety of Kansas City-made or designed gifts available for purchase.
Easy, Tiger Christmas cards — $10
Nothing says Merry Christmas like local art! These cards from Easy, Tiger do just that while putting their own cheeky and cheery stamp on the holiday season.
Locally designed ornaments — starting at $10
There’s an ornament for everyone at Westside Storey! Stroll up to their in-store Christmas display and pluck a few from the tree.
Bellboy KC rainbow tie dye hoodie — $60
Retro meets modern meets warm and full of local pride. This sweatshirt runs large, be sure to size down, Bellboy said in its product description.
Click here to shop more from Bellboy online.
Locally designed enamel pins — starting at $10
Whether pinned to a cap or a lapel, the various locally made enamel pins on display at Westside Storey convey support for just about anything.
Be sure to check out the store’s collection of vintage pins, on display at the sales counter.
Shatto Milk soap $6
Cold-pressed and made local, the iconic Kansas City milk company wants to play a bigger role in your daily routine with this bar soup made from all natural ingredients and whole milk.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.