Janie Weeks and Sydney Gasper have been close since they were 15 years old, when Weeks was a student at Shawnee Mission East and Gasper was at Kansas City Academy. And for as long as they’ve known each other, Weeks has had a passion for the culinary arts and Gasper has loved arranging flowers. Now, they’ve combined their talents in a new business on Johnson Drive in Mission.
Their Ad Astra Market, which made its debut in July, offers a selection of fresh grab-and-go meal items as well as by-the-stem flowers in a bright, welcoming shop.
“We’ve worked together off and on throughout the years, but this is our first retail project together,” Gasper said. “Our kids are teenagers now so we found we had a little more time and this just seemed like the right time to do it.”
Weeks, who worked for many years as a chef at the Jewish Community Center, has developed a menu that features tasty sandwiches and wraps, flavorful protein balls, and a selection of baked goods and salads. Gasper crafts floral arrangements based on customers’ preferences and also offers pre-made arrangements. The duo have already developed a strong crowd of lunch patrons from the surrounding businesses who will pick up a meal and eat it in the store or take it back to the office.
“It’s such a great location,” Weeks said. “It’s got lots of small town feel in a big city.”
The duo say they’re planning on offering both cooking and floral arrangement classes at the store in the future. They also offering catering and floral arrangement services for companies and private events.
“We’ve also got gift options that combine the two, which are great for showers and parties,” Gasper said. “You get fresh flowers plus a healthy snack or dessert.”