OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Almost three years after opening their store, KC Hemp. Co., Heather and Kyle Steppe had to make some changes.
“When the pandemic started we just saw what happened to all of our retail stores in the area, including ours,” said Heather Steppe. “We knew it was time for a pivot and we used it as an opportunity to grab that bull by the horns and run with it.”
The couple decided to close their shop and go online.
“It was kind of a heavy pill to swallow when we closed our retail store,” said Heather Steppe. “I mean, that was our baby, so we put all our time and effort into it. We got engaged in this business and we told our kids that they would have a little brother in this business.”
Heather Steppe says while there was emotional value there wasn’t financial value.
“When we decided to close, we switched our entire store and what we call the ‘milkman model’,” she said.
One of the main drawbacks of the closure was the loss of personal communication with customers.
“When we decided to close our store because we couldn’t see the community or talk to them face to face. That was really hard for us to swallow because we got so much support from an Overland Park downtown that we were the best new business. ” In 2018, “she said.” So we really made a name for ourselves, but we knew we didn’t want to be without our customers and we knew we didn’t want to be without them. “
This is the reason why they created the “milkman model”.
“And basically that means everything to do with it. Within 10 to 15 miles of our store, we deliver same day for all orders placed before three in the afternoon,” said Kyle Steppe. “That way, we can still stand in front of our customers when they like to come to the door and talk to us and just see them like that.”
The transition to online was not easy.
“It was nerve wracking at first, but it was also kind of a perfect storm,” said Kyle Steppe. “When that stay at home order came in in March, everyone had to shop online anyway. And most of our customers are over 60 and they’re not the customers who shop online. But they had to learn.” Buy online real quick and we have done a lot taking phone orders.
Heather and Kyle Steppe said they could cut 85 percent of their overheads by getting rid of the store.
“Instead of working 60 to 70 hours a week in the store, we are at home with our family. And we had a newborn,” said Kyle Steppe. “And so you know, we had all the time with our newborn that we would never have, you know.”
For more information about the company and its Black Friday deals, visit the website.
We have created a Facebook group We are Open Kansas Citywhere community members can post businesses that serve their community.