Store Next Door: A Store Named STUFF
Enthusiastic duo creates 'one-of-a-kind' shopping experience
By Julie McCallum | Special to Party & Paper Retailer
Shopping in Kansas City is vibrant. Authentic retailers such as A Store Named STUFF have created unique shopping experiences within the neighborhoods throughout the large metropolitan area. STUFF has been open for almost 20 years and has moved to and from three distinct authentic neighborhoods: West Plaza, Westport and now, Brookside.
“Kansas Citians seem to really enjoy boutique shopping and our customers in particular come to us for the ‘new and different’ and to make a personal connection,” Simmons said.
“Kansas City is our home. We grew up here and chose to build our business here. Our store supports local artists and the local art community. Handcrafted art is our passion.”
The owners of STUFF love what they do, and it shows. They research every item so they know how, where and when it's created. STUFF offers original works from local, regional, national and international artists. “We choose to sell products made by ‘mom and pop’ shops from all over the country and we find collectibles and antiques throughout the midwest. We maintain over 250 sources,” Simmons said.
STUFF has seven to 10 part-time employees throughout the year. During the holidays, they hire a handful of additional part-time employees for gift wrapping and shelf-stocking. Like most small non-food retail businesses, the season with the most foot traffic and sales is the fourth quarter. However, they report having “blips” of brisk business due to either events they sponsor in the store or events like art fairs that are held in their 100-year-old neighborhood, Brookside.
“We are a truly one-of-a-kind experience. There is an energy here that is palpable. We are a happy place that is bright, colorful and inviting. All art is available to take home the day you see it. Buy it. Take it home and live with it in joy for a long time,” Simmons said. “Our staff is trained to provide award-winning customer service. A love of handcraft makes for magic that our staff shares with our customers.”