Gregory K. | Owner, Coffee Blacksmith
Years of Industry Service: We didn't ask (oops)!
When Gregory started Oddly Correct, he roasted beans out of a friend's garage in Raytown, Missouri. The only rent he had to pay was to share his coffee knowledge and teach that friend how to roast beans. Since then he has moved into two other spaces, finally settling into his current location at the intersection of Westport Road and Main Street after a year-long process of "clawing out the space."
Oddly Correct started out, and still is, a mail order and wholesale coffee business. "You can do those things out of a very small space," Gregory said. With this latest move, they now have a storefront to brew and serve coffee. Their space also functions as a small letterpress printshop. He calls it expanding the basis of their success, saying, "You build it. You buy it. And you hope people will find it."
Oddly Correct is one of those shops you hear about by accident. Then another person mentions it and then someone else. You start saying to yourself, I have to check this place out. It's the small rumbling you hear before everyone else knows what's coming. Although Oddly Correct is located on a busy, high profile road, it was still not easy to find. After looping around the same intersection three times, we spot a painting with the word coffee and an arrow leaning against an obscure storefront. That must be it....right? And it was. Everything in their shop is the work of one artist friend or another. The awning was no exception and it was currently being worked on, thus the challenge in finding it that day.
"You go back and forth between being a rockstar and enjoying your obscurity," Gregory says. "[Obscurity] allows us to make mistakes without too much pain." His vision for Oddly Correct is to help bring life and honor back to Main Street. He wants to encourage people to think differently and slow down. "It's a counterculture refuge for people to come and get recharged," he says.
Whether it's recyling their chaff (coffee waste) and sending it to Nebraska to be made into paper, or designing and printing his own packaging, it's all about find ways to maximize their potential while finding ways to be creative. It's a weird general store of sorts, where he gets to feature artists from muralists to furniture makers, transforms his walls-on-wheels-shop to work for cupping classes and jam sessions, and literally climbs the walls to reach a bookcase situated above a door.
Gregory grew up in Chicago and lived in North Carolina before moving to Kansas City in 2007. He's married, has two kids and is committed to Kansas City. "It's long-term for us," he says. His non-work life is spent with his family. "That's what I like to do." He's also a bass player, rock climber, bicyclist, illustrator and painter.
With his business, he hopes what he has started is a revitalization for the soul of Main Street. He has the noble goal of "pioneering a spirit of local quality and craftsmanship." His commitment to making the community he lives in better, is heartening to hear and his passion is contagious.
To read more about Gregory, click here for a great piece written by Jonathan Bender in The Pitch. Gregory and Oddly Correct were featured there last week. Chris Mullin did the photography on their article and it was really nice seeing it from another perspective.
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