Nordstrom’s move to Country Club Plaza was a big deal. What happens if it falls through? | KCUR 89.3
Country Club Plaza, Kansas City’s historic shopping district, saw nearly a dozen business closures in the past year. And recent speculation that national retailer Nordstrom is now reconsider his proposed move at a 122,000 square foot location on the west side of the Plaza, businesses in the area are wondering who might replace it and when.
Nordström was foreseen to reclaim space on Jefferson Street between 47th and 48th Streets, after announcing in 2018 that it would move from its current location at Oak Park Mall. Initial plans called for Nordstrom to open in the Plaza in 2021, but complications from COVID-19 delayed those plans until 2023, according to a company spokesperson.
Ella Prater, who works at Paper Source on 48th Street adjacent to the space, said the name recognition of a national chain would help attract customers to other small businesses.
Theresa Ng, co-owner of Bo Lings, which sits just across the empty lot, said recent changes to the Plaza have forced her staff to adapt.
“It’s been so, so many changes and, it’s been like that for a few years now, so we kind of got used to it,” Ng said. “But, you know, we understand it’s a process of building things.”
Plaza officials declined to comment and referred inquiries to Nordstrom headquarters. Nordstrom did not respond to requests for comment.
Tanisha Matches, owner of Matches Boutique on the Plaza, said she was aware of Nordstrom’s plans to move to the Plaza when it opens in 2020, but was not concerned the national chain would affect the business of his location.
“The Plaza has been the Plaza without Nordstrom,” Matches said. “So I don’t see how that would make or break businesses here.”
Tyler Enders, co-owner of Made in Kansas City, said it also didn’t affect his decision to stay in the Plaza.
“We think it’s better for The Plaza if Nordstrom goes there,” says Enders, “but if that doesn’t happen, there’s also an opportunity for something unique and special to be found in this space. .”
Regardless of what Nordstrom decides, local businesses agree that they want to see more Kansas City establishments in the future of the shopping district. Of the 126 shops and businesses currently in the Plaza, only 35 are locally owned.
Caden Shiner, barista at Messenger, said more local representation was needed to maintain the neighborhood’s authenticity.
“I feel like they should definitely try to keep the vibe of the Plaza, no matter what businesses come and go,” Shiner said. “But definitely to try to keep it more local versus more channels coming in.”
Recently, Flatland reported that Dillard’s, a national clothing retailer, appears to be in talks to take over the Nordstrom space, but Plaza owners Taubman Centers and Macerich have not confirmed those rumors.