The EDC's mission is simple: Attract businesses to Kansas City, Missouri, and keep the ones already here from leaving. For example, when Kansans try to lure Bass Pro out yonder to Olathe, it's the EDC's job to bait that sportsmen's mecca back to KCMO. To keep up with the Johnsons, EDC staffers and board members have to get up pretty early in the morning.
For fifteen years, the EDC got its caffeinated kicks from Necco Coffee and Vending, located nearby at 11th and Harrison. (Coincidentally, Necco bought the property from the EDC 18 years ago and received a 25-year tax abatement to build its headquarters there.) Late last year, though, the EDC started ordering its coffee supplies elsewhere -- from Regency Coffee Service in Olathe, which pays its taxes to Kansas.
Necco President Anthony Simone was baffled. Simone says the EDC never complained about his coffee, though Necco representatives checked in with the agency on a weekly basis. He says EDC President Andi Udris wouldn't offer him an explanation, so Simone sent a letter to Mayor Kay Barnes.
In her astute response, Barnes pointed out that the EDC is not part of City Hall -- which is technically true but a pathetic deflection. (Barnes sits on some EDC boards; this year, the city will send $1 million from its general fund to support the EDC.) Simone then heard from Udris, who finally revealed the reason he chose to bolt for a Kansas-provided jolt: smelly pots.
"Necco had not been proactive in offering a more up-to-date coffee-making system than the 'pot on the burner' approach," Udris complained in a letter. "We constantly found ourselves brewing new pots of coffee to keep it fresh or else the stench of burnt coffee would drift through the EDC each afternoon."
That leaves Simone with a bad taste in his mouth. Even if there's a problem with the brew, he wonders, "Why take your business to Olathe, Kansas?" Ah, the perfect slogan for new EDC coffee mugs.