Katie Mabry van Dieren is no stranger to the Ranch Mart Shopping Center in Leawood, the Shop Local KC owner said, returning to her roots this weekend to open a second location for her Kansas City maker retail store.
“One of my greatest childhood memories was riding my bike to Ranch Mart and either getting stuff at the dollhouse store or going bowling or going and seeing a movie,” she said, announcing plans for the Shop Local KC debut at 3510 95th St. “It’s funny that I’ve come full circle back here.”
A soft grand opening at Ranch Mart is set for Saturday, July 23.
Mabry van Dieren just celebrated the one-year anniversary of her flagship location in Midtown — 3630 Main St. — which is an extension of the Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Festival she founded in 2011. Although the new Johnson County store will still be a gift shop that carries local maker goods like jewelry, art, apparel, and flowers, it will be a little different than the original.
For starters, the Leawood Shop Local KC will share a building with nbkc, a Kansas City-based community bank.
Expanding into Johnson County wasn’t part of the plan until Mabry van Dieren was approached by the bank in late 2021, but the move makes perfect sense, she said.
“nbkc, who’s the building owner and our landlord, had reached out to us with this concept that they thought would be a perfect pairing,” she explained, “which is that they aren’t going to be using the lobby of their bank, because most people are doing banking online. And so they still have the teller, but they really did a remodel here to build it out for a retail shop and flower and plant area, as well.”
The bank will occupy 1,850 square feet of the remodeled space. Tellers remain located through a door off of the lobby and drive-thru service for bank customers continues. Shop Local KC is set up in the other 1,900 square feet. A patio area outside provides space for pop-up events.
“nbkc is thrilled to partner with Shop Local KC and share our Leawood branch space with them,” Melissa Eggleston, nbkc’s chief deposit officer, EVP, said in a news release. “As we approached renovating this location, we recognized an opportunity to support a local woman-owned business and offer our customers and the Leawood community a unique retail experience. We have been in our Ranch Mart North location for more than 20 years and love being a part of the Leawood community. We’re so excited to re-open our doors to new and existing customers where they will have a unique banking and shopping experience.”
The Leawood location also will be closer to the many Strawberry Swing supporters who live in Johnson County and might be deterred by the drive north or construction on Main Street.
“I’m hoping this will be great for them because I know they want to support our makers and they want to support us,” Mabry van Dieren said.
At the Main Street location, the store and shoppers have been dealing with ongoing construction right outside the front door for the last six months. Mabry van Dieren is excited that the new shop will be easier to access for customers.
“That’s been a big struggle,” she added. “So this was a blessing in disguise because I know the Main Street one is going to be worth it once the streetcar is completed.”
New location, same vision
On top of sharing a space with the bank, the new shop will also be aesthetically different from the Midtown location. The remodel of the bank building was done by Kansas City architecture and design firm Multistudio with a sleek and modern look.
“Our Midtown one is bright and colorful with murals on the walls and just kind of like a rainbow,” she said. “This one is going to be more, I guess, chic would be the word: white and black, really minimalist. Whereas the Main Street one’s kind of maximalist. So I’m really excited to see this iteration of it.”
Mabry van Dieren wanted to complement the beautiful, clean lines in the space, which features high ceilings and big windows. A wall of plants in locally-made eco planters and plenty of locally-grown flowers — some even grown a few miles down the road in Overland Park — arranged by Mabry van Dieren herself are expected.
“But we will still have colorful products, like, the only color in this store is going to be the products,” she added.
The Ranch Mart location also will offer longer hours. The Midtown location is currently only open Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. But the new shop will be open seven days a week, including 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
But the vision of both shops is the same: to support local makers and keep money in the KC community.
“Everything is locally made,” Mabry van Dieren said. “Most of the makers are women, I would say 90 percent of the people we carry in the shop identify as women. … Our makers are really diverse, too.”
For Mabry van Dieren, who comes from a family of entrepreneurs, she loves connecting with local entrepreneurs and watching their businesses grow.
“Getting to meet the makers and hear their story and help their dreams come true,” she explained, “that’s my favorite part of this whole thing. That’s why I do what I do.”
She estimates about 95 percent of the money goes back into the local community as she even upcycles her fixtures and furniture from local stores that don’t need them anymore.
The Ranch Mart location will still carry a lot of the same makers that the Midtown location features, like Sandlot Goods, Annie Austen, and Kansas City Canning Co. But the shop will also carry a few exclusive makers, like Kyrie’s Creations, Kate E. Burke, Brooklyn Horne Art, and Yesenia Rodriguez.
“I’m excited to be able to introduce even more local brands in another shop and just have more exposure to the community in a different part of town,” said manager Jenny Kane.
Ashley Johnson, who owns Kyrie’s Creations, started selling at Strawberry Swing about a year ago. Inspired by her daughter, Kyrie, Johnson makes all kinds of hair accessories for little girls. As someone who makes products from her home, she is excited to have her goods at Shop Local KC for more exposure.
“To get into a store that actually supports small-owned businesses and makers and creators, that was just the best place for my products to be,” she added.
Artist and designer Kate E. Burke’s nature-inspired prints and notebooks will be sold at the Leawood location as well. Having her designs picked for the shop made her feel supported and confident about her work, she said.
“It means that more people will be able to see my work and the work will find people and homes, adding joy to the customer’s world,” Burke explained. “It means I can continue to build my creative art practice and add more fun and joyful work out into the world. Katie and Shop Local KC are great supporters of creative small business owners like me and they have attracted customers that love to support local artists. Katie has encouraged me with her energy and drive to continue to expand my creative work and sell more wholesale orders.”
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.
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