KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The co-owners of an independent bookstore and a wine bar had several reasons to celebrate Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri.
Customers packed Bliss Books and Wine for its grand opening.
“Our community has been with us since day one. We rotate, they rotate. We get up, they get up. We back off, they back off,” said La’Nesha Frazier, co-owner of Bliss Books and Wine. “They’ve been the driving force for us — it’s been amazing.”
Day one for Frazier and her sister La’Nae Robinson was in 2019. The sisters’ dream was to open a bookstore where customers could also purchase and drink wine on the go.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced them to make their pop-up business virtual.
When they finally wanted to open a physical venue, the sisters discovered that a city ordinance prevented them from obtaining a liquor license at their desired location – 3502 Gillham Road – due to density issues.
“The liquor license battle, I would have fought to the death, because I was fighting for my community,” Frazier said.
In the summer of 2022, Frazier and Robinson worked with KCMO City Councilwoman Andrea Bough to amend the city’s ordinance. Now, the sisters were eligible for a waiver.
They officially cut the ribbon on their storefront at 3502 Gillham Road on Saturday.
“This is what we dream about for Kansas City,” said KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas, who attended the inauguration. “By making sure we not only have black-owned businesses, but that they thrive. And specifically, Black businesses owned by women — that’s what it’s all about.
Based on attendance at Saturday’s event, Bliss Book and Wine offers something the community craves: a space to shop local books, hang out, drink wine, and experience the culture.
“There’s nothing like it,” said Tiffany Ford. “A new opportunity to experience something new in the community is always an amazing opportunity.”
Bliss Books and Wine is located on the ground floor of the International Apartments at the southwest corner of Gillham Road and Armor Boulevard in Kansas City.
Learn more about book clubs, special events, and store hours by visiting her website.