Tony: Kansas City Blizzard Aftermath Freezes Out Local Entertainment Biz

It has been a long, cold winter for locals who depend on nightlife for their income…

Blame Mother Nature, Mayor Funkhouser’s incompetence or just plain, old bad luck but there’s no denying that this most recent cowtown freeze out has left the local bar, club and restaurant scene with a cold chill running up what’s left of their spines.

Word around town is that icy streets and arctic temperatures have provided a one-two punch to the wallet of local venues unlike anything owners and managers have ever seen. Allow me to relay a couple of examples:

On the low-end side of things that I’m more familiar with, all of my waitstaff and bartender buddies tell me that tips are way down because people didn’t come out over the holiday. This was exceptionally bad news since the post X-mas season is typically a time when Kansas Citians avoid the company of their relatives by either retreating to local bars or maybe just taking the family along to provide a change of scenery.

At the upper echelon of local nightlife club owners and friends of club owners are complaining that receipts are down up to 20% and that’s from last year when The Great Recession was first striking fear into the hearts of KC scenesters. There’s just no getting around it: The ice, snow and cold killed profits for the entertainment industry all over KC.

Now, there’s a bit more hope that the coming thaw will translate into increased dollars for badly hurting clubs. Already I’m hearing that shows later in the week will have decent attendance and Valentine’s Day weekend might provide an ample opportunity for residents to show some love to their favorite hangouts. Unfortunately, as of this writing, it’s still freezing and I’m guessing that the warmup won’t be so significant as to melt some of those huge snowdrifts hanging around town that will serve to remind us of the beginning of a season in which we were all forced to chill at home.

Tony Botello

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4 Responses to Tony: Kansas City Blizzard Aftermath Freezes Out Local Entertainment Biz

  1. Anonymous says:

    Rainbow Man
    All of these opaque tired concepts are littering the Power and Light District and Johnson County and no one feels any loyalty toward them. Yeah– Lets go ride the snowstorm out at “McFadden’s.” Uh… how about Kelly’s or the Quaff or The Peanut.
    And Maker’s Mark and 801 Chophouse. I just love high priced steakhouses in Kansas City that have concepts originated in towns like Des Moines and Louisville.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, the problem is that Westport has had virtually no close-in or street parking since Christmas Eve thanks to snow dumping. My friends who work down there said the holidays were absolutely brutal.

    Thanks, City That Works!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey Tony,
    The cancelled classes, bad weather and good product on the screens plus mid-week $ 5.00 ticket pricing has made this post-holiday season one of the best in memory for Kansas City’s movie theatre business
    Can’t address other leisure dollar venues but the cowtowners are lovin’ the movies on both sides of the state line.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Snow Movers and Grocery stores only ones ringing the register for 2 weeks.
    Couple this storm with extremley tight and unrealistic consumer credit (29.9%apr) ….rising energy costs…rising food costs…lower wages or now wages and you have a pretty ugly street view.

    My guess is we have pretty good snap back with lots of pent up demand to spend–to close out January.

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