Here is an article from the KU Star regarding the future of Westport Flea Market:
Posted on Wed, Jul. 27, 2005
R E L A T E D L I N K S
• More Hearne Christopher, Jr.
Westport Flea Market owner gives a hoot
By HEARNE CHRISTOPHER JR.
The Kansas City Star
For what it may be worth, count Westport Flea Market owner Mel Kleb II among the locals grieving for the likely demise of the midtown institution.
“You know, I have a family over there,” Kleb says. “Those people are my family. Nobody’s going to be more bummed than I am, but I’m getting old. I mean, if it happens it’s going to be a tearjerker for me.”
Kleb emphasizes that there’s been no signing on the dotted line. Still it appears the longstanding Flea Market building will be replaced with a spanking new, in all likelihood, orange-accented edifice.
Out with the Flea Market’s highly regarded burgers and do-it-yourself food ordering and pickup system. In with Hooters’ hot wings and wait staff hotties.
If the deal goes down, Kleb says.
“It’s a business, you know,” Kleb says. “I’m 62 years old, and I’m ready to retire.”
Still there’s no shortage of locals tossing darts Kleb’s way. A haphazard consortium of Cowtowners bemoans 1) the restaurant’s passing, 2) the demise of the flea market, 3) the dozing of a quaint, old building, 4) the addition of a chain restaurant to the area, 5) that of all the chains, it has to be Hooters — the joint whose very name represents a thinly disguised reference to breasts and/or 6) all of the above.
OK, OK, so Hooters has an airline and only serves beer and wine, not hard liquor. So some folks take their dates, mates or kids there. But it is hard to dodge Hooters’ name bullet.
Kleb understands the controversy but says he thinks the restaurant will be a good fit for Westport.
“There’s a huge amount of sentimentality in it for me — I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into it since 1979,” he says. “But I’m 62, I’m tired, and I would never do anything that I didn’t think was good for the whole neighborhood. These are qualified, good people — professional —and they’ve got a great reputation.”
There you have it.