Like Larry’s Subs and Taco Factory before it, Red Mango at Oak Place Apartments closed without warning or explanation. Posted on the entrance is a simple message thanking customers as well as UMKC faculty, staff and students for their patronage. The message also states that Red Mango has moved to a new location across from Target on Ward Parkway.
Associate Vice Chancellor Robert Simmons speculated possible contributing factors for the closing of Red Mango as being “whether the owner had the correct market area” and “a difficult economic environment for food service.”
Many students at UMKC feel disappointed and shocked because Red Mango has closed.
Red Mango offered a variety of flavors of frozen yogurt and other items such as fruit and protein smoothies. It also catered to the needs of those on vegan diets, with gluten-free products.
“It was one of the only healthy places to eat on campus and I liked that it took Roo Bucks,” junior Kaitlin Ohde said.
Junior Amber McCurry said she misses Red Mango’s vegan menu.
“Though I liked Yogurtini better, Red Mango was more vegan-friendly, so I would meet my friends there for frozen yogurt and now there is no place close to go,” McCurry said.
Because of its location, Red Mango was accessible to all students, faculty and staff. Several students visited Red Mango once a week and some as many as two or three times. Even students who had only visited a couple of times were surprised to learn that it had closed its doors.
“It’s going to be difficult to find a place [close to campus] to get real fruit smoothies. No other place on campus uses real fruit,” senior six-year medical student Jason Zweig said.
While students were more than willing to voice their opinions on the closing of Red Mango, the owner was not so forthcoming. Elliott Threatt refused to comment on any circumstances surrounding the closing of the frozen yogurt business.
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Administration Robert Simmons said, “Threatt is an alum of UMKC and that may be why he refused to comment; also no owner of a business wants to talk about a closing.” When asked what other businesses students, faculty and staff could look forward to, Simmons said, “Most likely food, maybe a coffee shop or bakery. It’s hard to say at the moment.”
Students would like to see a variety of businesses opened. Some suggestions include healthy inexpensive restaurants and a convenience store that is not quite as pricey as the SmartMarket located in the basement of Oak Street Residence Hall.
Concerns about the businesses are varied as well. “I’m worried about keeping business there,” sophomore Erika Martin said.
In answer to the student concern about the possibility of business retention, Simmons assures that there is a lot of interest in the surrounding community even though the rental space has not been officially placed back on the market.