All That Fits

A Weekly Column 

by Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson, editor of the Jackson County Advocate newspaper, grew up in the Grandview community. She currently serves as President of Grandview Main Street and works as a development coordinator for the Grandview Education Foundation. You can reach her at

April 20, 2017

Several months ago, after the new Academy sports store and Hobby Lobby opened just off of the old Y Highway in Belton, I got wind of further development in that area that concerned me. Rumor was that they’d be getting stores very similar, or the same, as those recently opened in the Truman’s Marketplace redevelopment. Stores like Five Below, PetCo, Marshalls and more will surround the already-successful Belton Town Centre, being developed by Christie Developers.

Can two neighboring communities sustain similar shopping areas? Will Belton residents continue to make the drive into Grandview to shop at our stores, and vice versa? The Grandview community finally has something that other nearby communities don’t, and it almost seems as if the developers in Belton chose to mimic what was happening to their north.

For years, like many of you, I drove to Belton, or Lee’s Summit, or Leawood, for my shopping. Grandview just didn’t cut it, and we had to travel outside of our taxing jurisdiction just to buy our basic needs. Just when we think we (finally) had it together, and stores were opening left and right, Payless announced the closing of its store, and Rue21 sounds as though it may not be far behind, as the company recently announced its bankruptcy.

With more and more people turning to online shopping, retailers like Payless and Rue21 are taking a hit, along with Gordmans, Sears, and more. While I fully support Truman’s Marketplace and the redevelopment that occurred, I sincerely believe that locally-owned retailers and specialty shops would have made more of a lasting impact. Sure, they’d need to be supported by a few anchoring stores, like Price Chopper or Burlington. But, that doesn’t mean, in my opinion, that the smaller guys couldn’t be successful.

Belton can’t mimic Strings and Stuff, the new music store that opened at 12712 S 71 Hwy, or Providence Pizza, or Spirit of Health, or any of the other locally-owned shops and restaurants we have in this community. Grandview is full of creativity. Let’s foster that into an entrepreneurial spirit that can’t be copied. Every day, I drive down Main Street and dream of gift shops, breweries, book stores, art galleries and cafes. I’d love to make that dream a reality.

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