Friday, November 13, 2009

Plaza Prize

A few years ago something really disturbing began happening to the Country Club Plaza.


When I was single and lived on the Plaza I could walk to Bonwit Teller and Saks and Hall's and Swanson's. And the drug store and the grocery store.


Slowly but surely the independent shops and the elegant department stores began to close. Except for Hall's; thank heaven for Hall's - it remains.


Taking their places were chains like the Limited and the Gap. Handy, but depressing. Now the whole thing looks like a mall. The most horrifying gigantic sign that you have ever seen hangs on the facade of the former Swanson's space announcing the opening of Forever 21. It sends shudders down the spines of women who knew better.


But a funny thing happened on the way to the depression and a few of those places closed, too. And rent was not so easy to come by. In response, the Plaza has made way for a few new local retailers.

You can find Steve Rogers's new shop, Prize, on the Plaza at 4639 Wornall - just across from Houston's.

21 comments:

Alexis Faulkner Ceule said...

Patricia... I can see Steve gushing right now... thrilled with this post and the support you've given him. I can't wait to visit the store at that location. Yea!

David said...

Forever 21 where the Giralda Room used to be. That's truly appalling.

Prize looks great though, and it's walking distance from my office!

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing. I love that first picture. All of the botanicals and antlers and posters. Al great look. Also really loed the painted mercury glass. Yummy!

Martha said...

Ah, the Plaza of my youth -- so many great independent stores -- Harzfelds, Swansons, Function Junction, the bookstore, The Cake Box, Wolferman's, a few really great and really antique stores . . . and then came the change -- slowly at first and then -- presto, it was all those chains!!!!! We rarely go to the Plaza anymore -- you can shop those stores anywhere.

I'm glad to see Prize -- interesting merchandise -- I have my eye on those calligraphy brushes -- next time I'm in the city . . .

Hill Country House Girl said...

I'm dying! I'd be there today if I could - what a great eye he has!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I do think Mrs Bridge would approve.

VictoriaArt said...

Happend all over the place....
So many independend places had to fold under the pressure of cheaper mass appeal chains, many places here around simply stay empty! Sad!
I am glad you found a silver lining!

Karena said...

A big congratulations to Steve, he has the best taste and is an all around good guy...I am betting he will be a big success on the Plaza. Yea for Independent shops.

Mrs. G said...

How exciting to see a brave retailer open up shop. As a former shop owner for 16 years collectivly, driven out of business by chain stores, I consider this a major victory. Best wishes to them for much success.

beachbungalow8 said...

When I was there last Spring, I was blown away at how stipmall-ish it's all become. And empty. like a ghost town.
I *love* how this beautiful and unique shop sits across from 'Houstons' perfect.

mb said...

I want to get lost in Prize for a day or two of shopping. Just my kind of place.

linda said...

Ah, Bonwit Teller, there was one here in Manhasset as well as NYC....loved that store!
I am so glad there's a resurgence in your area! Prize, looks like it's a great!

Anonymous said...

Ah "The Plauza", few know it as this Country's first real shopping center, and I use to be so proud and tell all of our visitor's they must visit. Now I don't take the time to tell anyone about the giant plaza stripmall downtown. I am young(31) but certainly remember it's glory days. I will visit Prize and may take my guests coming to town next month.
Tara in KC

JK_in_KC said...

Thank you for drawing our attention to these fabulous independents. The link in the post appears to be broken, though. This one works.
http://www.prizeantiques.com/

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

oooh, love that first image - see plenty of covetable goodies:-)

lecaro said...

I lived in the area in the early '80s and loved visiting the Plaza, West Port, etc. Went back last year for the first time in 20 years to see the new art museum addition and was so disappointed to see all my old favorites gone. The shops, the restaurants, the bookstores. Still love KC, though.

Frognall Dibdin said...

What a charming shop! I only wish it were closer to Boston.

Jeremiah said...

Some of the best times of my life were spent on the Plaza. I lived nearby in one of the townhouses on Pennsylvania for 6 years or so. When we first moved to KC in 1979 we lived in Brookside. The Plaza was something like we had never seen. Woolworth's and the bowling alley and "Gabriel's" pizza and Bristol and so many others. Changes happened regularly (remember the little gelato shop on the corner near Muelbach's (sp)?) So many memories of meals and drinks and shopping and just walking around hanging out. There was a very nice antique and accessory store on the corner across from the now-Starbucks next to the old shoeshine place. And another couple on the Brush Creek side by Wolffs. Everything went south, of course, when Nichols sold the Plaza off. And then the major changes to Brush Creek and Brookside. Remember the concerts in the park? (Concerts in the Creek?) I miss Kansas City terribly and every time I go back I realize, although it's a great place--it really is-- it's not the Kansas City I miss. I could probably make a go there again, though. Best of luck to the new pioneers like Prize. Hope it turns out to be a step in a positive direction.

Beth Leintz said...

Mr Rogers is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.

sinnlighet said...

Your blog = love love love & love!!

Footprints from the very very south part of Sweden, through....

Agneta

puck said...

OH, a fellow Kansan! I am in Baldwin City, near Lawrence.

And I find the same thing happening in downtown Lawrence. I am happy to see shops like WaxMan candles and such... but, yes, the mall-shops on Mass Street make me a bit sad.

Glad to run into someone local in Blog Land.

http://cottageofstone.blogspot.com