Ben and Dave

Ben Wine (left) and Dave Eames, owners of Local Foundery and Fossil Forge Design are enjoying some big moments since beginning their partnership in 2015

Local Foundery re-opening in new location on Friday

Business is booming for the duo behind two local companies operating out of downtown Lee's Summit.

Dave Eames and Ben Wine, co-owners of Fossil Forge Design and Local Foundery are enjoying some unprecedented success and attention since launching their partnerships in the past 6 years.

Local Foundery will have a grand re-opening on this week (Friday, Aug. 27) after moving from its original location on Market Street to the east side of the tracks and a new more centralized spot on Third Street in the former Summit Sports location. 

“We are ready to go and we are excited for this week,” Eames said. “We will be close to Oktoberfest and the middle of festivals and the apartments opening shortly after that and then Christmas. If we can get through the next few weeks, it will be downhill the rest of the year.”

The move from Market Street has been coming for a while but the relocation will allow the retail store to be closer to their other business, which Wine says will be a big bonus for both ventures.

The store sells a variety of items from wallets, candles, t-shirts, hats to coffee from local companies, with the aim of helping support local businesses and the maker movement around the area.

There are also things that the two pick that provides plenty of vintage collectables

“We have expanded our sphere with really cool things from across the country and mixed in with fun grab-n-go gifts,” Eames said. “Ben and I love picking vintage stuff, like Apple advertisements, stuff like that. We will have a lot of cool seasonal stuff. We will have Chiefs, college and high school and vintage stuff we mix in and people will get a kick out of. We buy things that are aesthetically pleasing or decorative or trigger memories; we have a lot of glassware from out-of-business restaurants or stuff that is Lee’s Summit or Kansas City centric."

They'll also have some cold drinks and snacks available for sale. “People can come in and spend one or 50 or 100 bucks,” Eames said.

The two companies navigated the initial shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and were closed for nearly two months. Despite that, both businesses ‘kept their head above water’ and have started to flourish.

“Getting the shop close to the workshop means we can have both offices in the building and it is convenient to streamline it,” Wine said. “We never thought we’d leave the (Market St.) location unless something like this popped up.”

The Fossil Forge business has been working on a couple big projects this summer. One was the historic Topsy’s Cafe sign in Concordia, where an anonymous donor paid for the sign to be restored and re-hung above the long-time downtown restaurant on Main Street.

The other large project is the creation of eight neon signs as part of a larger mural showcasing historic Route 66 for the Uranus Fudge Factory in St. Robert, Mo. The mural will hang about 40 feet from the iconic roadway that helped connect the country.

“It is kind of a dream job,” Wine said of the largest piece of work done in the shop’s history. “He wants a (Route) 66 sign and an advertisement and we sent some concepts and he loved them and wrote us a check.”

The long drive allows time for some picking as well, which turns into more merchandise to sell at the Foundery.

That, in essence, is both what they do and who they are — do one project and then turn it into something else.

Last week, Wine was on Facebook Marketplace and found some display racks they were interested in buying. He drove an hour to get them and asked the seller what else they had. He came back to Lee’s Summit with his pickup full of items ready to go into the store.

The two met in 2014 when Wine was part owner of Main Slice, a local pizza shop also located in downtown, and started doing projects together the next year.

“We are in a good spot and we've got really talented young guys working with us,” Wine said. “We are not necessarily worried about growth for growth's sake. We want to do projects that make us happy to come to work everyday and that is pretty cool.”

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