After looking at sites across the metro, the West Bottoms just resonated with the founders of Blip Roasters .
“This area was the backbone, the industry of Kansas City,” said Ian Davis, a partner with Conrad Amirof in the new coffee roasting operation. “We want people to know that we are starting small and working hard.”
Davis was managing the coffee bar at Aixois Bistro in Crestwood, and after several conversations with his customer Amirof, they figured out they lived across the street from each other in Independence as children.
They became friends and then business partners, opening Blip Roasters at 1331 St. Louis Ave. in November.
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A motorcycle enthusiast, Davis said Blip also was a motorcycle term.
“It is called a blip when you downshift smoothly while braking. You ‘blip’ your throttle to raise your RPMs to match your speed. And blip just sounds funky,” he said.
The partners said their coffee beans are bought at above fair-trade market rates from farmers in such countries as Peru, Guatemala, Brazil and Ethiopia. Their website breaks down the details on the beans’ variety, altitude and certifications, as well as a little bit about the farmer.
For example, its Peru Finca Santa Rosa is produced in Villa Rica, Pasco, Peru. The Contreras family started farming in 1927 and is now in its third generation, with Selena Contreras Obregon taking over after the deaths of her father and her husband.
Davis said they wanted people to know where the coffee came from, and “that the packaging is made right around the corner from us in the West Bottoms,” Davis said. “To me it makes my coffee taste better. It is really important to give other people their respect.”
Blip sets up “pop up pour overs” from Friday to Sunday on First Friday weekends at various venues in the West Bottoms. It also sells its beans online and at Alchemy Coffee & Bake House in Lawrence.
Davis and Amirof also are taking bids to open a coffee shop next to the coffee roasting plant in mid-to-late summer.
“I think people enjoy seeing where people started their business,” Davis said. “I love it when people come down to hang out, but it isn’t a cafe and I can’t legally sell a cup coffee in the roasting facility.”
Blip also sells several styles of Blip T-shirts and has a prototype for a Blip motorcycle jacket. It hopes to expand the apparel line in the next year, as well as offer items such as blanket rolls.
“We’re passionate about our craft; we are loyal to our city and to our roasters,” Davis said. “Not a lot of people say what they are about, but here’s our passion on our sleeve.”
Westport’s take on doughnuts
A new Westport shop will have doughnuts to pair with everything from early morning coffee to a late night glass of wine.
Doughnut Lounge is taking a 2,533-square-foot space at 4117 Pennsylvania Ave. and plans to open in late June.
Meanwhile, partner Jake Randall will be working on some distinctive creations at a City Market catering kitchen and plans to offer samples there.
Doughnut Lounge will have classic doughnuts as well as more artisan offerings such as a maple bacon flavor or a double chocolate Nutella with a glass of wine. Cronuts (a croissant-doughnut pastry) also will be on the menu.
“We hope to be a classic doughnut shop in the morning, then fun nightlife with crazy creations,” Randall said.
Imagery is still operating in the Westport space but starting Thursday will offer its inventory at 40 percent off. The store is scheduled to close April 25.
“I did hope to renew for another year as we transition to online. That’s how everyone is buying clothes these days,” said Robert Reynolds, who bought the store, then in Mission Farms, in 2008 and moved it back to Westport in 2010. “It is easier for people to shop that way because they can shop day and night.”