Wednesday, November 09, 2011


The National Archives at Kansas City will host author Brian Burnes on Thursday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m. for a discussion of his book The Kings of Cut-Rate: The Very American Story of Isaac and Michael Katz. Burnes will be available to sign copies of his book after the discussion. A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the event.

Burnes tells the story of Isaac and Michael Katz, who changed forever our definition of the drug store. Sons of immigrants, they started with a fruit stand in Kansas City’s West Bottoms. In 1914 they acquired two cigar stands downtown and turned them into drug stores. But that was just the beginning. Isaac, who walked with a limp and quit school at age 14 to sell newspapers on the railroad, hardly had a moment when he was not innovating. They expanded to two stores, four, then eight. Other druggists filled prescriptions, but Katz began stocking cameras, cosmetics, clocks, shirts, pets and the best selection of discounted smokes, beer and whiskey in town. They treated customers like kings. By 1970 they had 65 stores throughout the Midwest and annual sales of more than $100 million. “Let’s go to Katz” had become a refrain.

Copies of The Kings of Cut-Rate: The Very American Story of Isaac and Michael Katz will be available for purchase via The Kansas City Store onsite. For more information or to make a reservation for this free event call 816-268-8010 or email us here.

About the author
Brian Burnes is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and received his bachelors in journalism from the University of Missouri, and master’s degree from the University of Kansas. He has been a reporter at The Kansas City Star since 1978 and was named history reporter in 1993. He is the author of several books including Harry S. Truman: His Life and Times; Walt Disney's Missouri; and Great Plains Originals.

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota available for public access. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us here.

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