By Mark Thomas
Kevin Bryant was one of the three founding members of the Mid America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, along with Dan Nilsen and Catherine Kelly. In the beginning, Bryant says, they thought they would have the organization up and running in six months.
“It took us a little longer than what we expected,” he says with a smile.
But in May 2012, the group launched after about 18 months of work. Now, Bryant says, “We’re nearly 400 members strong in almost six years” and still getting new members each month.
The chamber wants to provide programming that offers real benefits, he says. For the future, they are looking at more programs for corporate members relating to their LGBT employees and possible block advertising for small businesses.
“It really has just been a phenomenal for our community, not only the LGBT community, but our straight allies. They are a big force, with big involvement,” he says. “… A lot of LGBT people want to spend their money in LGBT businesses and with their straight allies. We’re really seeing it pay off.”
Bryant works as a real estate agent with LocateKC, which is affiliated with ReeceNichols.
“We formed a team called Locate about five years ago. We have six members, all top producers. We do all sizes and all price ranges. The advantage for us is we have people on the team that are in all different aspects of life. I have a big gay clientele, of course!” he says with a laugh.
Bryant has lived in Kansas City for 22 years.
“I originally worked with my parents growing up. We had a greenhouse business that was part of a co-op in Arkansas. We sold to Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and others. Once I got divorced, I went to work for the co-op. I ended up servicing 26 Lowe’s stores and driving 500 or 600 miles per day.”
Opting for a less-hectic schedule, Bryant says, “I opened up a little garden shop in City Market for a couple of years. Then I got my real estate license and have been going full-on with that since then.”
Most of LocateKC’s business comes through referrals. The company deals with a full range of properties: new construction, condos, and single-family and multi-family homes.
“It’s a very interesting market right now,” he says. “It’s low on inventory. We have buyers that are looking, and we’re working hard on finding the right house for them.”
Asked about trends, Bryant says: “ The condo market has really picked up in Kansas City and is doing very well right now. We’re seeing a lot of people moving from the suburbs back in to the central part of the city. We have a lot of people that have second homes in the metro. Kansas City is very unique in that. You can have a big home an hour away and have a condo on the Plaza.”
Where does he expect the next “hot” area of the city to be? “The new area will be the Troost corridor with the revitalization,” he said. “I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more activity that way. It’s amazing what’s going on in the Northland as well. The new housing communities are exploding.”
At home, Bryant and his partner have two dogs and a cat. “My family is in Arkansas; my son is in Kansas City,” he says. “We travel. We got to Mexico quite a bit. It’s nice to get away for a week at a time. But we’re always reachable.
“It’s amazing how our world of real estate has changed in the last five years. I can write a contract from anywhere, as long as I have WiFi.”