Fall is finally here! That means pumpkin spiced lattes and wearing leggings for pants is in full swing. That also means that local festivals celebrating the Kansas City community are going on from the Northland to Downtown. One of KC’s most popular and notable “eat, shop, buy local” campaigns is KC Local week, which was about a month ago. But local business appreciation doesn’t stop there; just last weekend North Kansas City hosted its first local festival, The Swift Mile Fest. If any of you didn’t attend, you have no idea what you missed. But amidst all these festivities It’s always sad to hear when a local business closes.
About two weeks ago, Swirl Wine bar a.k.a. my go to bar, permanently closed its doors after almost three years in the Northland. I don’t know all the details that led to its closing and I don’t believe that there is anyone to blame here but like all failed businesses, lack of business seemed to be the culprit here. While we live in a society that is largely governed by business juggernauts like Wal-Mart and Target, I believe that we as KC locals have a responsibility and the power to boost our local business owners’ revenue as well as our local economy. Social media and word of mouth is local—and corporate—business’s lifeline to expanding their brand. When you come across a bakery or microbrew that you really like, but keep all that wonderfullness to yourself, that business doesn’t get the recognition you think they deserve.
I started this blog because I met a lot of KC entrepreneurs who had a lot of good ideas or unique spins on old traditions and believed those individuals deserved to be noticed by others. What has come out of it so far has been new friends and stronger connections to my hometown. I know not everyone is cut out to run a business; some people are good at it, others are not. I know it can’t be easy. While I don’t own a business, I run this blog which seems like a business in and of itself, and after having it for almost year, I quickly learned how hard being a blogger can be. You have to figure how you market yourself, network, write consistently (something I am shamelessly terrible at)—in short, you have to be dedicated to what you’re doing and express that passion in such a way that will draw people to your brand and ultimately, to you. I admit that I am being a wee bit “soap-box” about this whole thing, but we Kansas Citian’s are lucky enough to experience our city’s 21st century renaissance and the only way for that renessiance to continue is to support the small business owners that have taken part in making it happen; their dreams and aspirations have become embedded in the pavement of this city and influences the course of Kansas City’s development.
It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to a local business and it can also be bittersweet as a business owner to know that your business is being replaced with something else. But it’s not all bad, there are also businesses that are being revived like the esteemed Golden Ox in the West Bottoms and local favorites are starting to grow from their humble beginnings like Q39. The unfortunate pattern of growth is that some are left behind, but it doesn’t always mean that is the end. I can’t say whether or not Swirl will rise again with a new concept or new ownership, but I do hope that its owner, Heather will find her next inspiration soon.