The Exchange offers small-town grocer and café to downtown

Downtown Parkville holds many unique shops, businesses and restaurants that are special to the community. The location provides students and community members more options and opportunities to go downtown for many of their needs.

One newer shop that opened in December 2020 is The Exchange. This shop is a mix between a grocery store and a café, where all of its products are local to the Missouri and Kansas area. Owner and operator of The Exchange, Andrew Dessert, says he brought the idea of a café and a small-town grocer together and created the store.

Customers can walk in and order a sandwich, charcuterie board or the special of the week.  They can also cruise around the store to find different goods from the Kansas City Canning Co. as well as many meat cuts, cheeses, wines and spirits, local organic soaps, various snack foods and unique sauces like Zombie Blaster burnt marshmallow hot sauce.

Dessert said, “Anything you can think of, we kind of have a little bit of everything.”

As COVID-19 has hit the world, many shops and businesses have struggled to stay afloat, especially in the food, bar and farming industry, since many restaurants had to temporarily close.

Dessert added, “Our industry is hurt right now and we’re doing everything we can to help keep it alive.”

He says supporting local businesses and farmers as well as making sure they have a business is a big issue for him and the shop. “I’m proud to do it. I’m glad to do it,” he said.

The Exchange has added a nice balance to downtown Parkville, says Dessert. Alongside the flower shop, French restaurant, a salon, watch shop and more, The Exchange adds another unique touch to downtown creating that small town grocer and café feel.

As Park University is a large part of the Parkville community, Dessert says The Exchange is looking for ways to interact with Park students.

“I’ve been contemplating like throwing it out there for students who show me your ID, I’ll give you a discounted price off on no matter what it is,” added Dessert. He wants students to be able to leave their dorms or apartments and be out in public just like any other college town.

The Exchange will continue to support local businesses and focus on interacting with the Parkville community and could potentially be involved in creating something fun for Park students to do at the shop.

As of now, The Exchange is not looking to expand in the near future, but it is always willing to add in more products from other local businesses and will be serving a three- or four-course meal for retired Army veterans and first responders in a few months, Dessert said. It also offers catering services.

“There’s always room for growth,” said Dessert, as The Exchange will continue to grow in many ways both in Parkville and other local communities.

Organic soap at The Exchange