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Black-owned shoe store returns to Kansas City, Independence, after multiple break-ins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – A black-owned business in Kansas City is trying to make a comeback years after it was busted. After a year in Independence, the owner of shoe store Shoe Verdict says he’s ready to come home to Kansas City to a new storefront at East 12th Street and Brooklyn Avenue.

“I want to make an impact where I grew up, where I was once a student and the same person walking the same streets,” said Shoe Verdict store owner KJ Farmer.

Farmer says he’s a Kansas City native and no stranger to setbacks.

“We started our business in 2020, which is the pandemic, so we’ve dealt with COVID and all the different things that have been going on, we’ve dealt with the breaches you know and this community has rallied behind us so that helped us through a lot.”

During a three-year run at this 55th St. storefront. and Troost Avenue, his store was broken into twice. The thieves made off with 200 pairs of sneakers.

“Everybody says, oh, you have insurance, but a lot of times when you break windows or do that, it costs more to pay the deductible for the insurance than to come out of pocket to pay for it.”

Inventory replacement expenses and damage forced him to move 25 minutes to Independence. While he didn’t experience break-ins at his most recent location, having to rebuild his clientele from scratch took a toll on his business financially.

“It took me three years to build foot traffic on 55th and Troost, and now having to go from there and get foot traffic 25 minutes away, it’s been hit hard,” Farmer said.

After a year of independence, Farmer says he’s ready to turn his setback into a comeback by returning to Kansas City. He does things differently, albeit with security enhancements such as a roll-up gate to prevent future thefts.

A black-owned Kansas City business is coming back to KCMO years after it was busted.
A black-owned Kansas City business is coming back to KCMO years after it was busted.(ktv)

Contractors say this could cost at least $20,000.

“Being a business owner is hard. People only see the glitz and the glory of selling shoes and things like that, but not the overhead and maintenance expenses and when the business isn’t doing well,” Farmer said.

As he transitions back home, he hopes to make a difference in the city where he grew up.

“We’re signing a three-year lease, so we’re looking to find a house and this will be home for us,” he said.

Farmer tells KCTV5 he’s in the early stages of transitioning to his new Kansas City storefront. More details can be found on the store’s GoFundMe.