Flavor will offer spices in bulk, plus sauces, marinades, oils and vinegars.

This summer, downtown Lee’s Summit will get a delicious blast of flavor in the form of a brand-new spice and specialty food market, aptly named Flavor.

Local resident Amy Keith recently signed the lease to open her new retail food store, which will be located on the other side of the train tracks at Third and Main streets. Keith was able to snap up the last open retail spot in historic downtown Lee’s Summit. The 1,100-square-foot space, formerly called Daily Shake, was home to a Herbalife store, which came with a coveted parking lot next door. Keith will take possession of the space on June 1, and she hopes to open Flavor by July.

The day after Keith signed the lease for Flavor, the city of Lee’s Summit announced that a $52 million multi-family apartment complex with 276 units would open at the corner of Second and Douglas, only a few blocks away from her new specialty food store. 

“I just could not believe my luck; everything fell into place so perfectly,” she says. “I know that I am in the right place at the right time, and with these apartments so close to my store, I will likely expand my offerings to carry more grab-and-go items that folks can pick up on their way home from work.”

As an avid home cook and lover of food and travel, Keith says the foundation of Flavor will be the wide selection of international and local whole or ground spices and dried herbs. These will be available in bulk so that customers can purchase as much or as little as they need to complete a recipe. She is also happy to special order any spice a customer would need that she doesn’t have on hand.

Flavor will also carry small-batch sauces and marinades, dried mushrooms and chilies, as well as a variety of oils and vinegars. Keith is also considering offering fresh artisan bread in her shop, along with local cheeses and regional wine and beer. “We will also carry fun kitchen accouterments including mortars and pestles, cutting boards, spice containers, grinders and spice racks,” she says.

Keith is planning to add a demonstration kitchen where she will host cooking classes and other tasting events. Every new product carried in the store will have the opportunity to be featured in a “demo day” where the business will sample customers on their product.

“I plan to run my store based on personal relationships – not only with my vendors, but with my customers too. I plan to have a lot of interaction between those groups as well,” she says. “Access to people and their stories is an important part of learning about new products and how to use them.”

Keith started her retail career in downtown Lee’s Summit many years ago as the owner of a successful vintage store. When her kids were older, she closed her shop and went to work for Kansas City Power & Light, but her dream was always to return to running her own retail shop in the area.

“I had planned to wait until my son had graduated from high school before I thought about opening up a new retail store, but then Kansas City Power & Light merged with Westar Energy and they offered me a buyout,” says Keith. “I knew then that it was now or never to jump out of corporate life and back into own my own retail shop.”

Keith doesn't consider downtown Lee’s Summit an up-and-coming area; rather, she thinks it is an area that has already arrived. She hopes that Flavor will just add a little more spice into the mix of successful retail shops and restaurants already located in the neighborhood.

Flavor, 318 SW Main St., Lee’s Summit, Missouri, 816.419.7319, wemakelifetastebetter.com

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Jenny is Feast's contributing editor for Kansas City. She brakes for chef's coats.

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