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Inspiring Conversations with Mollie Lothman of Mclain’s Market

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mollie Lothman.

Hi Mollie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
McLain’s Bakery has been a staple in Kansas City since 1945. We (my family) had the opportunity to buy it in 2014. At that time, there was one location in Waldo. We were very familiar with McLain’s, being customers ourselves through the years. We loved the cup cookies, and I had even gotten my own wedding cake there! When we took over we felt there were a few opportunities immediately to capture a larger customer base.

Adding a coffee bar, expanding to breakfast sandwiches and a small menu of lunch offerings, as well as overtime continuing to expand the cake, pastry, and cookie product lines. Being from a large family ourselves we also wanted to make sure it was a place where families, friends, kids, large groups, etc., could get together and enjoy coffee and sweets while making memories.

We currently have five locations and have expanded our company to being made up of McLain’s Bakery, Mclain’s Market, and Sway Coffee Roasters.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
This makes me laugh as I feel like most “small business” owners have been put through the wringer in the last eighteen months. The short answer is no. Although I am more proud of what we have become through the struggles, than through the easy times.

For the first couple of years, I worked another full-time job and would put in extra hours at the store whenever I could. My brother spent countless hours taking on the majority of the growth and problems the first few years. In those early years, we had to earn the trust of every single customer who walked through the door as they were a little suspicious of these “new owners.” When holidays or weekends came we would call all our family and friends and spend late nights trying to bake off enough for the next morning, to turn around and work the counter all day.

In hindsight, we have lots of great memories made but there is no sugar coating small business.
Covid added another layer of challenges but happy to say that I think we have made some really great adjustments and changes to our stores that make things better in the long run for customers. We owe all the success of McLain’s to our amazing employees and customers.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We are a local, family-owned, Bakery and Market in the Kansas City/Lawrence area. We specialize in fresh-baked pastries, made-to-order breakfast sandwiches, fresh salads, delicious cookies and cakes, and an extensive coffee bar, serving coffee roasted by our own sister company, Sway Coffee Roasters.

We have five locations in the Kansas City/Lawrence area. We are proud to be a place that serves great food and drinks and always provides space for people to gather and enjoy life’s moments. Whether that be for a breakfast meeting, lunch date, Saturday morning family outing, or a quick stop on the way to work to grab a box of pastries to share with the team.

Our Employees and Customers are what makes McLain’s so special. We work hard to pay well, treat our staff with integrity, and love getting to be a part of their lives. We hope this is passed on to our customers through our wonderful staff.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
We have learned to continue to embrace being agile and flexible. Things have changed so many times over the last eighteen months. The restaurant industry has been hit so hard and we are so thankful for our employees and customers continuing to show up and work hard and support us.

Also, that people really enjoy walk-up windows and drive-thrus. All of our stores currently have one of the two and we have no plans of getting rid of them!

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.mclainskc.com
  • Instagram: @mclainsbakerykc @mclainsmarketkc @mclainsmarketlawrence @swaycoffeeroasters

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