Sandlot Goods — Kansas City’s only local hat manufacturer — is hoping to score big with its first, dedicated, standalone retail space.
The new location at Park Place in Leawood — 11530 Ash Street — is slated for a soft opening Aug. 15 and a grand opening Sept. 16, shared Garret Prather, Sandlot vice president of strategic partnerships for the brand.
“In this chapter of Sandlot’s life, this is the first one that’s a true, standalone retail store,” he noted.
Until now, the company’s current lines of manufactured soft goods — like hats, leather wallets, Yardballs, and drink sweaters — have been available only online and at local marketplaces like Made In KC.
An earlier iteration of Sandlot — which dates back to 2014 — previously operated a hybrid workshop and retail space in the East Crossroads. The business, led by founder Chad Hickman, relocated to a manufacturing-only spot along Southwest Boulevard in 2019.
Having a direct relationship with the customer courtesy of a storefront is important to Sandlot, which was named one of Startland News’ Startups to Watch in 2023, Prather said, noting the move helps the brand gain a more solid financial foothold.
“We really look for the feedback from the consumers — not only on ensuring that we have a good product itself — but also product design, what people are looking for and seeing,” he explained. “That just seems like the next natural step for us in trying to capture more direct-to-consumer revenue and balance it out with our regular wholesale of our products plus our custom wholesale.”
“And getting established with a retail spot, we find, is important for this year, as we look to all the major events that are happening in Kansas City,” he added.
After searching for a place that met Sandlot’s space specifications, Prather shared, its leadership landed on Park Place, where Made In KC — which owns a minority stake in Sandlot Goods — has its Outta the Blue cafe. Gobug — a children’s clothing store — previously occupied the space at 11530 Ash St.
“We find it to be a good central location for a lot of our customers who currently are online shoppers,” he said.
With the apartments, offices, and hotel in Park Place, plus nearby neighborhoods, he noted, the location is poised to attract a mix of people.
“We have ambitions to be Kansas City based, but to be a national brand,” he explained. “So having different products — like our City Series — and having that hotel there is nice, too, where you’re going to get people from outside Kansas City that come and shop around there.”
When looking at Park Place, he noted, members of Sandlot’s team were excited to see the success that local restaurants are having in the location.
“Bamboo Penny’s is just killing it in there and now the owners are going to open another space where Gordon Biersch was,” he added. “Plate moved down there. Mission Taco Joint is now there. So looking at that and how they’re anchoring it down. We thought that that was also a good sign for Park Place.”
At the new Sandlot store, customers will be able to shop the brand’s full roster of goods, Prather said, plus products from like-minded manufacturers like T-shirts from Soft Goods in Detroit. One new item available will be officially-licensed University of Kansas hats, which will also be for sale online.
“It’s part of some good momentum,” Prather added of the retail store. “Getting KU, we see as really big just given the market and the local area. And then recently, we got into Scheels and we’re about to deliver our first products at Dick’s Sporting Goods at the end of this month, as well.”