Friday, December 21, 2007

Raytown Meets Chic!

I drink coffee nearly everyday. I guess you could say I'm a coffee addict, but I only feel that way whenever I drink more than one cup. I really think it's about the taste because I'll drink a delicious cup of decaf joe anyday just to enjoy the rich taste of coffee. One of my favorite places to visit is Benetti's and luckily it's in Raytown. Instead of making the trek to the Broadway Cafe in Westport like I used to, I can now ride my bike to get probably the best cup of coffee in the metropolitan area.
Often when people think of Raytown, they think of a backwards, redneck, hick town. I've heard it called Rat-town on several occassions...and not just by my mother. I love living inRaytown and I was so excited when I came back from Egypt this summer to see a chic coffee shop in town. It is located in heart of the old downtown district in Raytown. I think the owners have done a fantastic service to the community by locating on Blue Ridge Blvd right near the High School. Not only does Benetti's offer good coffee, they support the arts. The exhibits at Benetti's have been very interactive and community focused. It almost seems that they have a different exhibit each week. Local artist support is essential to boost the quality and self-esteem of this community.
I frequent Benetti's about once a week and the very first time I stepped in the door I was greated by Aysia, who I once had a class with at Longview and for whom I've developed pictures for. This girl is by far the anti-thesis of the characteristic Raytowner. She is bright, talented, loves to travel and has good taste in...well probably everything. Her photographs, which I have seen many of, prove that she has great artistic talent. And besides, she works at Benetti's, by far the coolest place in Raytown. Most importantly, Aysia has been a resident of Raytown for about 19 years. After being homeschooled through the elementary years and attending private schools during middle school, she enrolled at Raytown High School her freshman year. For many, High School offers four years of absolute torture, others come into themselves, and for others it is a only the jumping off point to their futures. Regardless of how one experiences those years, they are most definitely turbulent. Students becomes so wrapped up in their social lives that they don't always see the important roles that High Schools play in a community. High School students frequent Benetti's in large numbers after school. The coffee shop is supported by these teenagers and in turn Benetti's offers an unique atmosphere for after school socializing. They may not consciously see the effort the owners have taken to provide a more upscale establishment, but they are absorbing this quality subconsciously. Hurray for Benetti's for offering sophistication!
If I didn't have a job, I would definitely want to work at Benetti's. Aysia agrees that their high quality service was what attracted her to seek employment with Benetti's...along with the fact that they roast their coffee beans on site. As a customer she was excited to support a local business of high caliber and after talking to the manager, she realized that the place was the right fit for her and that she wanted to join the Benetti's family. I don't blame her! Anytime I have been to Benetti's, I have felt that sense of family and I appreciate it that Ben always acknowledges me and I feel that he truly appreciates my business. Benetti's offers a venue that feels like home and is doing a superb job or offering a contemporary venue for Raytowners to visit. According to Aysia, the shop has attracted people from all over Raytown and from the surrounding areas. The customers to her feel like neighbors and they reflect the diversity found in Raytown.
In a town where businesses were once hesitant to open its doors to a diversified clientele, Benetti's is reversing that attitude. It is an attitude that many in this conservative town are starting to embrace. Maybe Raytown can one day be the type of town that will provide a true integrated community. This town is on the verge of something spectacular and Benetti's must be credited with its impending revival...

Special thanks to Aysia Scheerer for her contribution to this post. Also be sure to visit Benetti's on the web: