The deli has been a part of Beck’s life for a long time. Owned by her mother, “The Mud,” as it’s called by locals, will celebrate its 21st birthday in October.

“I’m ready for people again. I miss the customers and having a line to the door,” Beck said.

Wyandotte County, Kansas

Also missing customers is Ana Medina, who owns Moda Bella in downtown Kansas City, Kansas.

The dress shop focuses mostly on dresses and decorations for weddings and quinceañeras, and while she plans to open her dress shop on Monday, she doesn’t expect it will help recover much lost business.

Medina typically packs most of her annual sales into the months between March and August, when most quinceañeras are held.

Picture of a women wearing a black hat standing in a shop full of quincenera dresses

Chris Haxel

Ana Medina worries that her dress shop, Moda Bella, won’t make enough sales this year to cover all the bills.

But Moda Bella has been closed for about 40 days. And many celebrations are either canceled or delayed until sometime after the pandemic.

“We’ve had no business all year,” Medina said. “It’s not enough to pay the bills.”

Government loans for small businesses have helped her stay afloat, she said. She also hopes to salvage some business from people ordering dresses for next year.

“We have to continue to have faith in the Mexican people,” she said. “Because we make a lot of celebrations!”

At Mariscos El Pirata on Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, owner Josefina Saenz isn’t necessarily excited to re-open the restaurant for dining right away.

“I heard that (Wyandotte County) will allow us to open to customers next Monday,” she said. “But I decided to wait two or three weeks.”

Picture of a woman in a black apron and wearing a blue face mask standing in a restaurant

Chris Haxel

Mariscos El Pirata in Kansas City, Kansas, would be allowed to open as early as May 3rd, but Josefina Saenz worries for the safety of her customers and employees.

Saenz is worried about the safety of her customers — with room for only a handful of dine-in tables, it would be nearly impossible to maintain social distancing in her current space.

Clay County, Missouri

Similarly, Amy Abbiatti is still trying to figure out when to open the Manor Thrift Shop she manages in Liberty, Missouri. Her store relies on volunteers, many of which are older, so she’s hesitant to open Monday.

“They are like family. A lot of them have been here since the store opened back in 1982,” Abbiatti said. “So that’s my biggest consideration. What am I bringing into the store that would not be good for them?”

Abbiatti said she’s looking at the guidelines for the county and wants to talk to her local Chamber of Commerce before making the call.

“As much as we want to get back on our feet and ready to go, we want to do it safely for everyone involved,” Abbiatti said.

The store could open as early as next Tuesday, or closer to the middle of May, when nearby Kansas City’s stay-at-home order ends, but Abbiatti stressed that it’s still up in the air.

In the meantime, she’s been checking in with her volunteers to see what they are comfortable with.

“I’ll just wait and see who I get back and who I don’t, and I won’t blame anybody for any of this because it’s way uncharted territory,” Abbiatti said. “We don’t know.”

Wondering which stay-at-home ordinance applies to you? We created a guide to the complicated orders from states, counties, and cities.

‘We’re a damn big deal’ KC is an underground fintech hub says Zach Pettet – Startland News

Editor’s note: Zach Pettet is the Fintech Strategist at nbkc bank, with which Startland News has partnered on an upcoming Innovation Exchange event. Opinions expressed in this commentary are the author’s alone.

Kansas City is the United States’ underground financial center.

‘We’re a damn big deal’ KC is an underground fintech hub says Zach Pettet – Startland News

Pettet

Over the years, many financial juggernauts have been born and grown up in Kansas City. From H&R Block to DST Global to American Century, these firms have made hay over the past century.

But as investor Marc Andreessen said, software is eating the world. Not only is Kansas City ready for this shift towards technology, but our humble Midwestern city is at the forefront of fintech innovation.

After EyeVerify (now Zoloz) sold to Ant Financial for more than $100 million, I vividly remember Jeff Shackelford of Digital Sandbox stepping on stage at 1 Million Cups to rally the troops around Kansas City being a “fintech hub.” He wasn’t scheduled to present, he just asked for the mic and hopped on the stage. He outlined the public and private resources available for fintech companies in Kansas City and went on a rampage naming all the promising upstarts in the space. C2FO had established itself as one of the best-funded fintech leaders in the nation, blooom had just raised a Series B investment round, and a number of other firms were starting up.

At this point, I was working at blooom and I was a bit confused as to why Jeff really needed to say this to the crowd. It seemed clear to me — from my vantage point inside of a venture-backed startup — that we had a lot to be proud of as a city.

So why isn’t Kansas City nationally known for its fintech prowess?

Call it, “Kansas City nice.” Call us humble Midwesterners. Call us whatever you want, but I contend that we aren’t loud enough as a city about our successes. When we talk about large fintech exits in town, most folks bring up EyeVerify’s recent sale to Ant Financial, but there are others.

For example, eSmartloan.com started as a skunkworks project inside nbkc bank. Two entrepreneurs approached the bank in the early 2000s with an idea to do second mortgage home loans online. The entrepreneurs had floated the idea to a few local banks, but the perceived risk profile of “something new” was just too much for the established players to stomach. It didn’t fit inside the box that the bankers had deemed acceptable, so the idea was cast aside.

nbkc bank looked at the opportunity a bit differently and supported the firm. The bet paid off, as eSmartloan.com was profitable in its second month and ended up selling to Capital One for more than $145 million five years later.

Despite it being a wildly successful story, most of Kansas City has never heard of eSmartloan.com. Despite the talent and capital resources we have in Kansas City’s financial technology sector, we rarely hear the success stories. Startland has detailed our humble and kind nature as a city, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t occasionally stand proudly on a rooftop and scream, “This is Kansas City and we’re a big damn deal!” That’s right — exclaim it!

We’ve self-imposed the moniker of “most entrepreneurial city in America,” and we’ve grown into it in many ways. But now, it’s time to narrow our brand position. Kansas City has the resources, support system, and cost of living to make it the easiest city in the United States to build a fintech company.

Why? Well, there are several reasons.

Cost of living.

Someone making $50,000 in Kansas City would need to make $94,637 to maintain their quality of live in San Francisco, as an example.

Cost of talent.

The average web developer salary in Kansas City is $81,946, according to Indeed. Whereas, the average salary for the same job in San Francisco is $103,297. This doesn’t take into account other variables like turnover and how often bay area companies have to train and retrain new hires.

Cost and access to experienced management talent.

With the likes of Cerner, Sprint, Garmin, and the steady increase of native Kansas Citians returning to Kansas City for the second act of their career, the cost of top-flight operations and management talent is lower here than anywhere on either coast. Joe McConnell from blooom and Spencer Hardwick returning to join Teach For America Kansas City are both examples.

Midwest bias is gone. The old story of venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road that only invest in companies that they can bike to is disappearing. The smart investors are looking for alpha in new places — the smart ones are realizing that the Midwest is one of the most important “emerging markets” to pay attention to. Most well-funded startups in Kansas City have a number of Bay Area and NYC investors on their cap table by this point.

Corporate support.

There are 68 banks chartered in the Kansas City region alone – that’s more than the entire state of Arizona. Between the banks and the sheer volume of large corporate organizations, the potential for strategic partnerships and basic vendor relationships never ceases to grow.

The case for Kansas City’s fintech future is strong, but there’s still work to be done. If we can focus-in and rally around fintech as a point of dominance for Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, then we will set ourselves apart from the crowd and start drawing financial startups from around the world.

Kansas City is America’s underground financial center — our next step is to move above ground and plant the flag as the United States’ primary fintech hub.

If you’d like to chat, ask or argue about any of this, register here for the coming Innovation Exchange at nbkc bank.

 

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Kansas City Airport May Be Renamed After Martin Luther King Jr. – KCUR

Published May 20, 2018 at 9:07 PM CDT

 

Updated 5:45 p.m., Friday: After weeks of discussing which street to name after Martin Luther King Jr., an advisory group is recommending not renaming a street at all — but the Kansas City International Airport.

Mayor Sly James clarified at a press conference Monday, if the idea is approved by City Council, the new single-terminal would be renamed, not the entire Kansas City International Airport. But, he said that doesn’t make the proposed gesture any less significant.

“To put his name on something … To show that, on the biggest, most expensive building that we’ve ever built, to say, ‘Welcome to Kansas City’ … I can’t think of anything bigger,” James said.

Just over a month ago, James appointed the committee to gather public input and make an official recommendation on what revealed itself as a “surprisingly controversial” issue in Kansas City, according to committee co-chair Donna Simon, pastor at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church.

Each committee member was allowed two choices, the first tallied as two points, the second as one point. With seven committee members selecting the airport terminal as their top choice, and one as their second choice, the airport terminal was the winner.

With 63rd Street and Paseo Boulevard nearly tied 8 to 7, Simon advised the group to hold a second vote, so they could submit a second choice to the mayor. Renaming 63rd Street took a clear lead in round two, getting six of nine votes.

Last Wednesday, a few of the committee members met with high school students from Generation Rap, a group of students who host and produce a weekly radio show on Hot 103 Jamz at KPRS. Committee member Eric Wesson, who mentors the students, said they latched onto the “bold” idea of naming the airport terminal after King, but they also liked the idea of renaming 63rd Street.

“They felt it brought people together, because it crosses racial boundaries,” Wesson said. “They hope [whatever it is] that it will reduce violence and segregation.”

Roger Williams, the group’s co-chair and an employee of the Hickman Mills School District, said he sees this as an opportunity for both recommendations.

“It doesn’t have to stop here,” Williams said. “We don’t just have to have one symbol. I think it makes a great statement that the airport is named, but if we decide to do 63rd Street later, I would have no objection to that.”

Committee member Wesley Fields, chairman of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said the outcome of this will not impact the SCLC’s petition to rename Paseo Boulevard in honor of King — a movement they started after Kansas City Parks and Recreation expressed opposition to the idea. After missing the deadline for the August ballot, they are still aiming to get the issue on November’s ballot.

The mayor’s staff will weigh both recommendations and determine what steps each choice would require. James said he also plans to reach out to King’s family to find out how they feel about the gesture. He expects to present his findings to City Council in a few weeks.

Correction: Roger Williams’ employment information was wrong in an earlier version of this story. It has since been corrected.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @_tudhope.