On (grains and) tap

tporter@lsjournal.comJune 14, 2013 

  • 8 The vacancy rate percentage of commercial business space in downtown Lee’s Summit according to Sarah Shore of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street.

A brewing concept for entrepreneurs has found a home in downtown Lee’s Summit.

Grains and Taps, a home brew supply store at 224 S.E. Douglas quietly opened June 1, but the home-grown owners of the business are hoping to make noise in a market that has caught steam over the last few years.

Brian Bixby and Brad Boehm, business partners and co-owners of Grains and Taps, are Lee’s Summit natives, born and raised in the city and friends since elementary school. Together, they want their store to become a hub for home brewing enthusiasts.

“We’re still getting products in stock, and still getting organized,” Bixby said June 13. Boehm is in New York on a long-term job assignment and will return to the area in the near future. “The (home-brewing market) has been taking off here lately. I believe it was legalized in the 1970s, but it’s enjoyed quite a bit of popularity here in the last 10 years.”

Bixby credits the explosion of the craft beer industry for the increased focus on home brewing.

“The boom in the craft beer industry has helped some,” he said. “They kind of help each other out. They’re pretty connected industries.”

After residing in Nashville for the last seven years, Bixby was recruited by Boehm to return to the area and help him head up the business. A musician at heart – Bixby spent years on the country music scene in Nashville – the slender red-head with a strapping, full beard, willingly jumped at the chance to pursue his other passion: home brewing.

It was Boehm who introduced Bixby to the trade years ago.

“We grew up together here in Lee’s Summit and I’ve know him since second grade,” Bixby said. “We went to Richardson Elementary (School). He got me brewing awhile ago; down in Nashville actually. I moved back here to help him run the store, and when I got here, he moved to New York. He’s only going to be there a little while.”

Grains and Taps is just one of a few new businesses in downtown Lee’s Summit. According to Sarah Shore of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Community Buying Group, 226 S.E. Douglas, Suite 204, relocated to downtown, and Konrad’s Kitchen and Tap House opened in the space formerly occupied by Jerry’s Bait Shop at 302 S.W. Main.

Also new to downtown is Brooke’s Shear Perfection, a beauty salon at 23 S.W. Third, and Dawn’s Downtown Deli at 13 S.W. Third St. The former owner of Downtown Deli created Uptown Eatery, and is occupying space across from City Hall at 209 S.E. Green St., but is not officially open.

The Little Store thrift shop at 332 S.E. Douglas also opened within the last three months.

Downtown businesses that have recently shuttered their doors include Forever Young Boutique at 224 S.E. Douglas, Teeth Whitening and Skin Studio at 23 S.W. Third and Jerry’s Bait Shop.

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