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The Sundry sets the stage for sustainable food

They quickly started developing the business, a planning process that spanned two and a half years.

It took them a year and a half to find a building to rent. Wing said they decided on the Crossroads area of Kansas City, MO, because of the demographic makeup of the neighborhood. He and Prater believed the people who live there would support The Sundry’s ideas, and the neighborhood was affordable enough for a starting business. So they rented a building on the corner of 17th Street and Baltimore Avenue from Shirley Helzberg.

Prater and Wing were able to add their own style to the building as it was renovated for their business. A frame around the open kitchen area was built from reclaimed barn wood. The market and dining space uses a lot of natural light provided by windows that sit about two feet off the ground and stretch to the ceiling along the whole front wall of the building and part of the side walls. There are no interior walls in the shopping area, allowing the light to spill into the whole room. In fact, the only barrier between the market and kitchen areas is a line of yellow tape on the concrete floor.

    Shelves are stocked with local and/or organic pickles, spices, wine and beer, pet food, household products and more.

Shelves are stocked with local and/or organic pickles, spices, wine and beer, pet food, household products and more.

They also just installed 14.1 kilowatts of solar panels on the roof of the building a couple months ago. Wing said about 20 percent of the energy The Sundry consumes is powered by those panels. Homoly Solar installed the panels.

The kitchen, which Prater said is usually the biggest source of energy inefficiency in the food industry, is all electric and equipped with energy-efficient induction cooktops.

Other sustainable components of The Sundry include:

  • All lights are LED and motion sensored.
  • Serve ware, cups and carryout containers are all either compostable or recyclable.
  • The only trash they produce is from single-use gloves worn in the kitchen, but Prater said they are trying to find a solution to that.
  • Most food sources bring ingredients to The Sundry in reusable containers, Wing said. And for those who don’t, Wing and Prater want to work with them to reduce the waste created by packaging food.
  • The Sundry doesn’t print menus. They post them online.

Sourcing food from the two-state area

The Sundry sources from local butchers, bakers, farmers and makers whenever possible. Wing said that when they can’t find a local source, they search for a natural or organic option, while taking affordability into consideration.

A chalkboard wall on the right side of the store displays most of The Sundry’s 60 or so food sources from Kansas and Missouri, but Wing said not every farm or company is listed on the wall. And they keep adding more.


A chalkboard wall highlights local producers, as well as upcoming events.

Those sources provide the store with pickles, spices, wine and beer, pet food, juice, herbs and household products, just to name a few. The products are accompanied by a tag that lists the price and the source.

While Wing and Prater couldn’t pick the most interesting item, they said most of their customers are surprised that they sell Missouri rice from the Martin Rice Company in Bernie, MO. The company grows long-grain, medium-grain, brown and jasmine rice.

The availability of local rice, and other products, has also intrigued some professional chefs, Wing said.

“One thing that’s been kind of fun, too, is we bring together so many local products that we’ve actually had other chefs in town come to us to buy ingredients to use in their restaurants,” he said.

This has become more common as The Sundry has developed a reputation in the area. A similar pattern has occurred with sources.

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