By Katie Pohlman
Tucked away in the Crossroads sits The Sundry, a market and kitchen bringing local, sustainable food to the urban core, while working to lower its impact on the environment.
The 1930’s red brick building blends in with the neighborhood. Only a small, hanging wooden sign signifies what business is inside.
But once in The Sundry door, guests are welcomed warmly by the staff working in the open kitchen and the market.
The Sundry, which opened in December 2014, has made sustainability its top priority. Aaron Prater and Ryan Wing, co-founders of the business, have paid attention to every detail, from where they source their food, to the type of stove used in the kitchen, to the take-out containers and serve ware given to customers.
“Our industry, the hospitality industry, is responsible for a third of the waste produced in this country,” Prater said. “We can’t keep going down that path.”
Prater, a chef at The Sundry and professor of culinary arts at Johnson County Community College (JCCC), said the two knew there would be a higher start-up cost to create a sustainable business, but it was worth it in the long run.
“Sustainability in business can be the biggest source of change toward a more sustainable world,” Wing said. “(The Sundry) was a little bit of just putting those ideas into practice and proving that they can work.”
The two hope that someday The Sundry will be a zero-waste business. But for now, they have a good start.
Developing a sustainable business
Prater and Wing met while Wing was working on a grant to develop solutions to energy and water efficiency issues in restaurants. He worked with hospitality students from JCCC to help identify the problems and approach businesses on how they could become more efficient.
During this time, Prater and Wing realized they had similar ideas for a market with a kitchen combination.
“Both of us care about the food we buy personally,” Wing said. “We were having to drive all over the metro area to collect sustainable ingredients. With The Sundry, we wanted to bring all of those things together so people who love food could go get those local, sustainable ingredients without driving all over town.”
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