About Kansas’ Post Rock Opportunities Foundation
The mission of the Post Rock Opportunities Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, is to provide market places for the work of Kansas artists, craftsmen and food producers and to promote tourism into the region. The Kansas Department of Commerce designated Kansas Originals as an official Tourist Information Center for the region.
The idea for the Foundation was developed by a small group of people in north-central Kansas. By networking together, they found a way to improve the economy and make use of all the hidden talent buried in the homes and farms of the area.
Once their goals were established, they presented a proposal to the National Committee on the Self-Development of People of the Presbyterian Church. This group sent a member of their committee to the area, where he visited shops, viewed the towns, the proposed site, and the conditions. On his evaluation and recommendation, the Post Rock Opportunities Foundation received a grant. Additional money was borrowed to construct a 3,000 square foot building near Wilson at the junction of Interstate 70 and K-232 highways on the Post Rock Scenic Byway.
Kansas Originals Market opened on August 1, 1991. By the end of that year, there were five part-time employees and 174 members with merchandise in the Market. By mid-1992 it was obvious the facility was going to have to be enlarged.
With a Kansas Department of Commerce Tourism Attraction Development Grant and a loan from the Rural Electric Association, the building was nearly doubled in size.
In the thirty years since the Foundation became incorporated, dedicated people from thirteen counties have served on the Board of Directors. Volunteers play a large role in the success of the Foundation.
The Post Rock Opportunities Foundation currently has four full-time and seven part-time employees operating in two locations. More than 1850 artists, craftsmen, and food producers from across Kansas have had merchandise in Kansas Originals since it opened. By providing the opportunity and resources to have established specialty stores sell their merchandise, the Foundation has enabled many farm families, elderly and retired workers, disabled, and women who are supporting themselves and their families to receive income. Approximately 250 are represented by the Foundation at any one time.