December 20, 2016

Rally House opening in Power & Light District

View article from The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, MO - Lenexa-based Sampler Stores has signed a lease for the 5,300-square-foot space at 1400 Grand Blvd., between the KC Live Block and the Two Light Luxury Apartments (now under construction for a 2018 opening) and just a couple of blocks east of the streetcar line.

Sampler Stores plans to open one of its Rally House retail shops in the space on March 3, just in time for March Madness. It will have about 15 employees.

Aaron Liebert, chief executive officer of Sampler Stores, said some retailers might not have picked the Power & Light space because they needed to be surrounded by other retailers. But the Rally House shops do well in both shopping centers and entertainment districts, he said.

“Going into our store can be part of that experience because our stores in and of themselves are entertaining. There are not a lot of retail stores where the entire family can shop together,” he said. “And in the last couple of years, hotel construction, the apartment construction has brought more people downtown, so I think the timing is right.”

Along with apparel, Rally House can carry such items as Budweiser or Boulevard Brewing Co. pint glasses, Gates and Arthur Bryant’s barbecue sauces, Roasterie coffee, K-State Wildcats Glitter Bottle Koozies, Kansas City Chiefs or Kansas City Royals tumblers, Sporting Kansas City bottle openers, Kansas City Union Station mugs, Kansas Jayhawks plush basketball pet toys and local cookbooks.

Sampler Stores started in 1989 as Mabel’s Kitchen, which sold artisan products and food from small town vendors throughout Kansas. The owners, Tim and Mabel “Peg” Liebert (Aaron’s parents), then founded Kansas Sampler, which is all about Kansas — from apparel to food products to picture and history books.

But when they expanded to other states in 2009, they opened under the name Rally House and offered apparel featuring a variety of college and pro teams and other merchandise. But the older Kansas stores kept operating as Kansas Sampler.

Sampler Stores now has 60 locations in nine states selling sports apparel, accessories and gifts, including a new Rally House Aggieville in Manhattan.

The Power & Light District store will focus on the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs, Sporting Kansas City, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, the University of Missouri and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Nick Benjamin, executive director of the district, said Rally House has a national reach but also local flavor and roots.

“We’ve been looking for the right tenant in that space — a tenant that complements the energy of KC Live and the Sprint Center and that is additive to the tenant mix. Rally House fits the bill perfectly,” Benjamin said. “The energy in that southeast corner of the district is only going to grow with the opening of Two Light.”