Kanbe’s Markets is growing its operations — cultivating 2020 success into plans to transplant healthy, fresh, affordable ingredients to food deserts beyond Kansas City.
“Food insecurity is a problem that isn’t specific to just Kansas City, so our goal going forward is to maximize the impact of this program, to enhance health outcomes, and to help as many in need as we can,” said Carmen Vajgrt, the nonprofit organization’s director of development.
Through its innovative food delivery system, Kanbe’s Markets delivered more than 1 million pounds of fresh produce to individuals and their families in 2020, she said, noting its services became more valuable than ever as the organization provided fresh food for those in the community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to learn more about Kanbe’s Markets.
The nonprofit saw a jump from 12 locations of its popular Healthy Corner Store program at the beginning of 2020 to 40 today.
Plans to broaden the micro market’s program outside Kansas City include expanding to neighboring Kansas and Missouri towns like Wichita and Columbia, as well as other Midwestern cities like Des Moines and Minneapolis, Vajgrt said in a press release.
A key piece of the blossoming effort: Kanbe’s Markets’ warehouse space at 3119 Terrace St.
Procured by Copaken Brooks in late 2019, Kanbe’s Markets has begun its physical expansion from 15,000 square feet to the full 27,000 that the space offers.
“There’s a world of possibilities with this new space,” Vajgrt said.
The commercial real estate firm expressed excitement to work alongside the nonprofit as it grows its capabilities and reach in 2021, said Jeremiah Dean, vice president of leasing for Copaken Brooks.
“Copaken Brooks has been honored by the unique opportunity to assist Kanbe’s impressive growth, and to offer them the perfect location to continue providing much-needed services to Kansas and Missouri customers,” he said.
Continuing that growth trajectory, Kanbe’s Markets and Copaken Brooks plan to upgrade the warehouse to help boost productivity through such measures as temperature control and optimized storage space, the companies said.
Kanbe’s also expects to enhance its home delivery service by adding nutritionally dense produce to its packages, and plans to sponsor a number of local restaurants making hot meals for other nonprofits such as FeedKC Forward.
Click here to read about Kanbe’s Markets’ win during the 2020 Regnier Venture Creation Challenge at UMKC.