When Kansas City was designed and built, each neighborhood had its own little retail area. Usually it was a little corner grocery, a dry cleaner and perhaps a “drug store.” In 1951, Bill McGonigle, after serving as a bomber pilot in WWII, was starting a family and trying to make a living. He was working as a food salesman, calling on local grocery stores in the Kansas City area. One of his customers was Martin’s grocery, located outside the city limits way out on 79th Street between State Line Road and the old Ward Parkway. Mr. Martin mentioned one day to Bill that he was considering relocating his store across the state line in the new development of Leawood, KS. Bill saw this as an opportunity to go out on his own and negotiated with Mr. Martin to purchase the existing business. At the time, the building was divided in half and Dittmar’s Drug Store shared the space. Bill opened McGonigle’s Food Store on May 5, 1951. He always said that he opened on the 5th and then it rained for forty days and forty nights. (it was the year of the big flood). Despite the rain and being out in the country, McGonigle’s began to thrive.
As the years went by and Bill’s family grew, the world around him kept changing. The city was growing up around him, increased competition was putting pressure on him in the form of the new “Supermarket” concept and the neighborhood grocery stores began to fail. Bill knew he had to do something to survive. All along, he had used his experience in the family wholesale meat business, Burnett Meat Company, to maintain quality. But, now, he knew that the only way he would survive was to continue to enhance his reputation and specialize in only the finest quality meats and perishables.
Over the years, his reputation continued to grow and in 1971, he bought out Dittmar’s Drugs and took over the whole building. Also around this time, Ward Parkway was rerouted and built right in front of the store. Although while it was under construction, it seriously limited access and business was tough, when it finally opened for good, it brought a whole new traffic stream to McGonigle’s and things were good for the McGonigle Family which by this time, consisted of 9 kids. All of the McGonigle Children worked at the store at one time or another but the youngest, Michael, really seemed to resonate with the business and the people.
In 1983, Mike was working at McGonigle’s and pursuing a business degree at Rockhurst University when Wendell Bishop, who was the GM at the store, was tragically killed in a house fire. Bill was nearing retirement and had become less involved with the day to day business. He had come to rely on Wendell and he approached Mike about taking over his job. In 1983, at the age of 20, Mike took over management of McGonigle’s Food Store. Three years later, Bill officially retired and Mike began the process of buying him out. In the years since then, Mike has continued to focus on the quality of his products.
Mike has worked hard to develop relationships with suppliers of quality meats, fresh produce, and gourmet goodies. Along with changing the name to McGonigle’s Market to better identify the feel of the enterprise, additional services and products have been added to the mix (see our online mentions and company profiles here- https://www.mcgonigles.com/find-us-online/. He has added Fresh Seafood, prepared foods, organic local produce when available, artisan cheeses, local bbq sauces & rubs, all the while maintaining the standards of quality that set Bill McGonigle apart from the rest of the flaggin local grocers.
View our Ribs For Kids page to learn more
Amigos de las Americas of Kansas City. For fifty years, Amigos de las Américas (AMIGOS) has facilitated transformational community service involving more than 20,000 youth Volunteers and thousands of communities in Latin America. Through their programs, high school and college-aged Volunteers jump in with head, heart, and hands to contribute to health, education, and environmental service projects. Amigos has almost 30 chapters throughout the US. The Kansas City Chapter has sent hundreds of volunteers to Latin America in their more than 35 years. You can get more information at http://kansascity.amigosinternational.org/.
McGonigle’s has supported the KC Chapter of Amigos ever since 2006 when Miles McGonigle volunteered for the summer in Paraguay. In subsequent years Molly and Kelsey McGonigle followed in their brother’s footsteps by volunteering in Paraguay and Nicaragua and all three have gone on to be involved as supervisors in following summers. McGonigle’s feels strongly that Amigos is a very important program to keep going in Kansas City. The volunteers are very effective in providing community service assistance in Latin America and in return the volunteers have a very life-enriching experience.
McGonigle’s Donation Policy
McGonigle’s Market is committed to supporting both our local and international community. We receive numerous requests for donations for charities. While we realize that they are all worthy organizations, we just do not have the budget to help them all. To help our efforts have the greatest impact, we have chosen to sponsor two local nonprofit organizations that have touched our lives. They are Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association and Amigos de las Americas of Kansas City.
Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association’s mission is to provide foster and adopted children the opportunity of a stable, caring, loving and nurturing family environment by recruiting, training, developing, supporting and motivating foster and adoptive parents.
We have been involved with MFCAA since 2003, almost since their inception. Every year on the last Saturday of April or the first Saturday of May, we sponsor and event known as “Ribs for Kids” which is one of their largest fundraisers. We feel that the work they do in our community is invaluable and we are proud to be one of their major supporters. For more information about MFCAA check out their website: www.mfcaa.org
To request donations, please click here.