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Barefoot Beach Bums: Always on Island Time

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Statistics show that 30 percent of the United States population travels to the lower latitudes each year during our colder months. Whether it’s catching a cruise on the ocean or catching some rays on the beach, Americans love to leave the cold behind and head south.

Those impressive numbers bring a lot of warmth to Mark and Lynn Gould, owners of Barefoot Beach Bums. Their KC-metro store helps customers find their “inner beach” by transporting them to an island way of life just by walking through the front door.

“Ninety percent of our business comes from people going on vacation or taking a spring break adventure to the south,” shared Mark. “Barefoot Beach Bums is here to provide the beach attire and home decor to allow people to express their love of the beach or lake. It’s apparel for vacations and home decor to remember where they’ve been and what they’ve done while they’re away from home.”

Enjoying Island Style
Barefoot Beach Bums is a tropical lifestyle company built on the coastal island way of life, community and charity. The company is always on island time, incorporating the global love of a carefree barefoot beach bum lifestyle. Barefoot Beach Bums strives to encompass every aspect of tropical living from music, apparel, sports, gear or travel. “Whether you are on a beach, tailgating or in your backyard, be with us on island time,” commented Lynn. “Live just as you are in Barefoot Beach Bum style. It’s the island way of life, any time.”

Even though this company is home-grown and based in Kansas, Lynn and Mark have this island way of life down to a science, and they enjoy offering their wares to others on a year-round basis. “What makes us special is that we have resort wear all year long. We’re not seasonal. Maybe after Christmas you’ll start to see other stores getting their resort wear out,” noted Mark. “But if you’re going to the Caribbean, you want to shop now for what you’ll wear on the beach. You can do that at Barefoot Beach Bums.”

Move to Town Center Plaza
Barefoot Beach Bums has just opened a new location on the north side of Town Center Plaza, facing 117th Street and next door to the entrance for Macy’s. “The move to the Leawood store has been great. We’re pretty pleased with it because we’re getting a lot of traffic here,” commented Mark. “This is a good position sitting next to Macy’s because the north door is their busiest door. Customers go into Macy’s and then come here.”

When the couple first went into business in 2012, they simply wanted to create and sell their own Barefoot Beach Bums T-shirts. But at the urging of their attorney, the pair decided to expand their product line. Given that encouragement, Lynn and Mark added many more items and began selling their wares in booths at county fairs and other community events. Eager customers urged them to open a store.

In 2014 they set up their first shop in the historic area of downtown Parkville, Missouri, which was very successful. In November, Mark felt that the future for Barefoot Beach Bums was bright enough that he could leave his job at Cerner after a 15-year career. In June 2015, the couple opened their second storefront in Oak Park Mall. In 2016, Lynn and Mark decided to focus solely on a shop in Town Center Plaza.

Keep the Sand in Your Shoes
Coupled with the new location, an on-line website offers shoppers the opportunity to bring home the beach by purchasing beach house décor, handbags and totes, jewelry, beach and sun gear, apparel and their trademark Barefoot Beach Bums T-shirts and Twisted Tropics T-shirts. A special offering is the fantastic selection of swimwear consisting of bikinis styled for either a hot tropical vacation or a relaxing day at the lake. You can choose from sets or separates to customize your fit with a Barefoot Beach Bums style that sets you apart from all the other sunbathers.

“We offer a variety of beach-themed apparel and décor such as mirrors with seashell-like frames, hand-painted metal art pieces from Haiti, candles with scents such as Sea Spray and Simple Breeze, and wooden signs with such sayings as Life’s Better on a Pontoon or What Happens at the Lake Stays at the Lake,” offered Lynn. “We have seahorse bracelets and starfish earrings. Our handmade jewelry is gorgeous and our shark tooth necklaces and bracelets are very popular.”

While some may think it’s odd that a beach store is located hundreds of miles from the nearest body of water, Lynn and Mark see it as a golden opportunity. They’re pleased to deliver fantastic beach and resort wear, accessories, home decor, barware and more on a year-round basis. At Barefoot Beach Bums, you’ll discover your inner beach on your journey to an island way of life.

Visit the shop at 5069 W 117th St, Leawood, Kansas, or shop online at