For UMKC graduate and shop owner Ben White, Transit Coffee was less a lifelong dream and more a perfect opportunity to do what he loves while serving the Kansas City area.
Transit Coffee, which will not officially open until Sep. 3, is located on 40th and Main and recently replaced Oddly Correct, a familiar coffee shop that recently moved to Troost.
White’s extensive experience in opening other coffee shops and operating as a barista for many years, along with a couple of investors who believed in him, led to the creation of Transit Coffee.
“I had this opportunity present itself to me and I know how to do this,” White said. “I’ve been doing it a long time.”
White also noted that a key reason for opening the shop was due its location and the knowledge of the streetcar’s eventual arrival. His excitement for the streetcar came from the experience of running a coffee shop, Quay Coffee, which was located right next to a streetcar stop in River Market.
“When that [streetcar] came in, business picked up a lot,” White said. “It was just really cool because there would be artists playing shows at the Midland and they would be from out of town, and they would just hop on the streetcar and come grab a coffee.”
These artists included Father John Misty, Joe Jonas from the Jonas Brothers, The xx, Perfume Genius and other big bands.
White, who graduated from the UMKC Conservatory in 2019, wished that the streetcar had been available while he was attending school.
“It would’ve been amazing while I was a student to take the streetcar from school to work,” White said. “My favorite part of UMKC was that I could go to school and then head to the River Market, head downtown or go to the Crossroads.”
Until the streetcar’s arrival, White highlighted that Transit Coffee still has unique characteristics to offer compared to other local coffee shops.
“Most coffee shops roast their own coffee,” White said. “We are a multi-roaster, meaning that I have coffees coming in from Minneapolis [Dogwood Coffee] and South Carolina [Methodical Coffee]. It will be an ever-rotating, changing list of different coffees every few weeks.”
In an interesting turn, White once lived around the corner from what was previously Oddly Correct, and noted that he was a frequent customer at their shop.
“It’s a little weird because I used to sit over there all the time as a customer,” White said, while pointing to a corner in his shop. “Now I sit there as an owner.”