Dubbed the “store to explore,” Riverside’s Red X just celebrated its 70th birthday and after surviving both fire and flood in its colorful history shows no signs of slowing down.
Located at 2401 NW Platte Road in Riverside, Red X has been known by generations of Northlanders as the place to get groceries, fireworks, lottery tickets, liquor and more, all while checking out the unique collections and decorations amassed by its founder E.H. “Ed” Young.
Still family owned after all these years, Ed’s son Zeke Young took over management of Red X in 1999 after the death of his father.
“Like my father always said, Red X is the home of high water, hot fires and low prices and by the grace of God and the creditors we’re still here,” said Zeke Young of his family legacy at Red X.
The store opened as a gas station in 1948 and last month held a special event to celebrate its anniversary. Over the years, the store has faced many challenges — destroyed by flood in 1951, 1952 and 1993 and fire in 1957 — and has always come back stronger.
Before the rise of QuikTrip, Red X started selling convenience items along with its gasoline. The grocery items proved a big seller and Red X soon expanded into both a general store and tourist attraction. Antiques, live animals, collections of eyeballs, teeth and countless curiosities were displayed alongside merchandise. Over the years Red X was home to a race track and even a miniature amusement park, which Zeke Young said holds many fond memories for him.
Red X has survived, in part, due to this uniqueness, according to Zeke Young.
“We’ve built a base that just keeps coming back,” he said of the Riverside community and Red X customers. “We’ve always had a great relationship with the city. It’s been great growing up together.”
The statement is not just lip service, as Ed Young is known not only as founder of Red X, but also as one of the founding fathers of Riverside.
“Red X has been a destination and mainstay in our community for 70 years,” said Riverside mayor Kathy Rose. “They have played critical roles in providing a sustainable sales tax revenue that support the city services we provide.
“More importantly, Red X is owned and operated by a family that has been involved in the community, with the Riverside chamber and a multitude of non-profit organizations that has created a legacy that will never be forgotten.”
While the community existed for more than 100 years before its incorporation, Riverside is one of the younger cities in Platte County. In 1951, Young got wind of the news that Parkville and Kansas City were both considering annexing Riverside. Gathering with other community members, including attorney Vic Panus and fellow business owner Ferd Filger, Young became one of the first appointed aldermen of the new City of Riverside.
The elder Young served for decades on the Riverside board of aldermen and as mayor of the city he helped create.
Ed Young also helped found Riverside’s parks department as it was his $5,000 donation that gave the fledgling department its jump start. His name lives on E.H. Young Riverfront Park, near Argosy Casino, built on land he donated to the city. Starting this winter E.H. Young Park will undergo development into a destination park to rival Parkville’s English Landing.
The Young family has also long supported local charities and community groups, including the Bell Road Barn Players and Park Hill South High School.
Red X still supports the community through military appreciation Mondays, senior discount Tuesdays and other special events, including assistance for the Riverside Police Department’s Special Olympics program.
Zeke Young said Red X is striving to move forward as the retail landscape changes.
“We’re looking at ways to expand our service and make things better,” he said, adding that several future projects are in the works.
The store is known for wine and liquor tastings — both public and through its Red X Wine Club — and hosts many special events throughout the year. The store is currently collecting coats for the Riverside Fire Police Athletic League (FPAL) and will host the Jim Beam Bourbon Tour on Wednesday, Dec. 12 with Sports Radio 810 broadcasting live from the store.
Santa Claus will also pay a visit to Red X on Saturday, Dec. 15.
More information is available at riversideredx.com and on the Red X Facebook page.