It's not 90210, but Parkville's demographics are headed upward.
Median household income is now more than $68,000. At new neighborhoods
like the National Golf Club, homes sell for as much as $6 million,
as at older developments like Riss Lake. And Platte County now
has one of the highest demographics in Missouri, second only to
St. Charles County in St. Louis, according to the Mid-America
Those residents want more retail than antique stores and craft
shops, and developers have taken note.
In the last couple of years, several new upscale restaurants
and retailers have opened in the charming old shops on Main Street,
and new buildings have nearly tripled the size of the district.
Downtown is now at 100 percent occupancy, compared with just 30
percent a decade ago after a devastating flood.
"Retail follows rooftops, especially affluent rooftops,"
said Jim Watson, managing director of River North Development
and of the new National Golf Club. "Longtime Northland residents
didn't seem to mind having minimum services. But new homeowners
transferring in from California, Texas and other states were
to living in master plan communities with sports and social centers,
stores and restaurants."
Tom Hutsler, president of the Main Street Parkville Association,
said Parkville's new retail was propelled by the entire community
-- City Hall, businesses and residents.
The Main Street program focuses on four areas: economic development
including new businesses; organization/membership; historic renovation;
and special events/marketing/promotion.
Economic development. Just a decade ago, Parkville's
downtown retail center was struggling. Some operators could not
afford to rebuild after the flood, and empty storefronts lined
While the waters could not shut down the shopping area completely,
they may have caused the change in course from kitschy to upscale.
New operators with deeper pockets began restoring buildings and
bringing in pricier merchandise.
"It had been known for its antique and craft shops,"
said Debra Hopkins, president of the Parkville Chamber of Commerce.
"Now there's a broader mix. So people will come for one
business and take time out to visit other businesses."
Stone Canyon Pizza Co. has seen revenues increase annually since
it opened in 1995.
"When we opened, there wasn't anything going on in the downtown
area," said Kevin Heaton, owner of Stone Canyon. "Parkville
has come a long way. We have a great mix of tenants, quality
a lot of good operators, and people with high incomes."
Other restaurateurs took note of Stone Canyon's success. Downtown
now boasts such diverse, higher-end operations as Piropos, Cafe
des Amis, Cafe Cedar and Yoshiko Japanese Steak House and Sushi
Jennifer Havens, a Parkville resident, wanted to open
a global wine boutique near such upscale restaurants, thinking
customers would stop by for wine tastings before heading out to
dinner. She opened Wines By Jennifer three months ago in a vintage
Main Street house, and sales are already better than projected.
While the owners of Piropos invested a large sum to build their
high-end Argentine restaurant overlooking downtown Parkville,
they waited a year before adding a banquet room.
"I was a little chicken. I wanted to build the restaurant
first and see how we did," said Gary Worden, who owns the
restaurant with his wife, Cristina. "We did a little better
than projected, and for the business to grow we needed to build
At first only about 25 percent of Piropos' clientele came from
the area; most came from south of the river. While customer counts
continue to increase, now Northland residents make up about 40
percent of the diners, which number between 4,000 to 4,500 a month.
new Rio Salon & Spa also is drawing customers from as
far as Blue Springs, Lenexa and St. Joseph.
"I've been in the business for 14 years but waited to open
a spa until I could afford to do it the right way," said
owner Sonia Brown. "A lot of my salon customers had been
going south to Johnson County for spa services, and I wanted
be able to compete with those businesses."
Just north of downtown, Parkville Commons Shopping Center is
under construction next to the National Golf Club. The 250,000-square-foot
retail/office center at Missouri 45 and Missouri 9 will include
a 73,000-square-foot McKeever's Price Chopper, which will replace
a 10,000-square-foot Apple Market. It also will include upscale
restaurants, a drugstore, a card shop and more, including 700
trees in the landscaping.
Organization/membership. The Main Street Parkville
Association was formed in 1995 to help spur the development of
downtown Parkville. The federally funded historic trust program
provides grant money and allows companies to donate funds for
The association also organizes volunteers for special events,
promotions, festivals and fund-raisers.
Parkville Chamber of Commerce, which covers the entire Parkville
area, has been inactive for about a decade but is now rallying,
in part because of the new downtown retailers. It holds "business
after hours" meetings on the third Thursday of the month
and quarterly meetings and will soon publish a business directory.
Historic renovation/restoration. Hutsler grew
up in the area and came back to help with recovery efforts after
the 1993 flood. He has invested heavily in the community, including
renovating several older buildings along Main Street and expanding
the English Landing Shopping Center.
"Builders and developers have different ideas of what they
think is appropriate," Hutsler said. "We give them
guidelines so downtown Parkville can keep its old-town charm
Special events/marketing/promotion. Parkville
has four main annual events: Parkville
Days Riverfest arts and
crafts in late August; Christmas on the
River with holiday music and lights, and fireworks in early
December; Jazz, Blues & Fine
Arts River Jam in June; and Fourth of
July celebrations. The events draw between 15,000 to 20,000
people, and some will
come back to shop some more.
Still, many of Parkville's business owners also are residents,
and they don't want it to lose its small-town sensibilities.
"You can really see the demographics of the whole Northland,
particularly Parkville, have increased dramatically," Worden
said. "Development is coming up here whether we want it
or not. But we need to keep downtown the quaint little village
is and let the development happen around it."