Tom Waters owns Corporate Copy on the Independence Square and is also the president of the Independence Square Association.

Tom Waters owns Corporate Copy on the Independence Square and is also the president of the Independence Square Association.


1 What is the current state of downtown Independence?
I think it’s the best it’s been in 35-40 years, and nothing but success in the future. I think the economic downturn probably is the best opportunity in years because it’s a unique shopping, dining and entertainment area you can’t just find this anywhere. Everytime we’re sad a business goes down, two more take its place. We’re still on the growing edge.

2 What’s your ultimate goal for the Square?
To spread the word that this is still a great place to shop. It’s really a traditional place of Independence. For this to be successful it has to be a mix of services retail, restaurants and entertainment.

3 Why is it important to preserve and expand the Square?
So we don’t lose another single brick of history. So many have been torn down and it’s just too bad. This was the portal to the western part of the United States. So many things happened here. Also to support locally owned businesses.

4 What make the Square so special?
I won’t steal his quote, but Ken McClain said that better than everybody else, all the new shopping centers try to be what we already are: quaint stores where the owner is behind the counter. You can’t buy the history in every building here, it’s the real deal. From the shopping perspective the atmosphere and the variety between shopping and other services. You can literally shop, see a movie and go bowling all in 2 blocks.

5 What are you doing to liven up this area?
At one point in the 80s there was a probably more than 50 percent vacancy. If you go around and look now, I’ll bet it’s not even 10 percent. We’re trying to make sure all the association members are working together. When we cooperate, we get more for our money. We’re not trying to market to any place outside of Jackson County, and maybe even Independence. We’d love it if the 172,000 people try to come here.”