Brian Roberts is taking the concept of “Buying Black” to new heights.

Black Pantry

According to Startland News in Kansas City, MO, the entrepreneur is looking to create a hub for Black-owned businesses through his company Black Pantry, which has expanded to a second location.

The concept originated in 2020 while Roberts was on his honeymoon, per Kansas City Magazine. While preparing for a picnic, he hoped to support Black-owned businesses.

“Me and my wife were having a picnic and we wanted to support Black businesses, and we were talking about the lack of availability to support those businesses,” Roberts told the magazine. “You really had to drive the scope of the city. At the same time, there wasn’t a large number of trendy Black businesses in up-and-coming areas. So I was like, “I’m going to try something crazy. I’m going to get all these products I see online that are high-quality and that I know everyone is looking for right now—because everyone wants to support Black-owned businesses—and I’m going to bring it to people.”

Roberts put pen to action through Black Pantry, which launched in the fall of 2020 and debuted as a pop-up retail business in November, selling across Kansas City.

By April 2021, the vision had scaled into a split retail shared with Made in KC.


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Black Business Hub

Now, Roberts is taking Black Pantry to new heights after signing a five-year lease for a 1,500-square-foot retail space located on Troost, per Startland News.

“We’ve become a trusted space, where it feels like home,” Roberts told the outlet. “The art on the walls looks like me, the books on the tables look like me, and the people who work here look like me. So now I have a sense of home, even outside of my home.”

What’s more, customers should expect additional Black-owned products from companies including The Prospect KC, Mattie’s Foods, Vine Street Brewing, Rally Gin, and Kin Seltzer.


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The space will also feature a coffee shop, wine bar, and outside patio.

“I want to encourage businesses to take the next step. I know it’s scary, so here’s a progressive in-between step so that they have their own sense of ownership,” Roberts expressed to Startland News.


Looking ahead, Roberts still believes he can strengthen the work around Black Pantry even further. He hopes more Black-owned business will see the promise of the “$162 million, mixed-use Troost Village development.”

“This is the cornerstone, and the true foundation of the community. The challenge I have with this is getting the city to understand how big of a deal this could be,” Roberts told the outlet. “Because my thought is not just one space, my thought is to scale out multiple spaces. So economically, as I scale, all the entrepreneurs scale at the same time.”