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Kansas City's Richie Cherry has big dreams for his 'Good Ass Pickles'

African American man in black beanie and square glasses smiling and holding open a jacket revealing a T-shirt with Good Ass Pickles written on it. He's also wearing a pendent with a portrait of a young man.
Courtesy of Good Ass Pickles
Ritchie Cherry, owner of Good Ass Pickles

Cherry grew up loving pickles but couldn't find what he liked when he moved to Kansas City. So he started making them and now sells them online, at barbershops and coffeeshops and on social media.

Ritchie Cherry has good friends to thank for his latest business venture, Good Ass Pickles, he shared.

After trying his sweet and spicy garlic pickles during the pandemic, he said, they encouraged him to sell them — with one friend even buying him a case of jars to fill.

Group of young people holding jars of pickles outside
Courtesy photo: Good Ass Pickles
Customers at one of Good Ass Pickles popup sites

“They all just started me off, like, ‘Hey, you have to make these; people in Kansas City love pickles,’” he recalled. “I’m from Illinois, by the way, so I know we grew up loving pickles; we grew up with candied pickles and stuff like that. But I just wasn’t privy to that coming in here.”

Cherry — who moved to the area to be closer to his son and for a job with Kansas City Public Schools where he is a recruitment and retention coordinator — started by making about one case (12 jars) of pickles per week and quickly expanded to five cases, he noted.

“Eventually it just became a thing,” he added. “The community started to gravitate to Good Ass Pickles.”

He sells the jars for $10 and $15 in gourmet flavors: regular, hot, hot and garlic, spicy and garlic, sweet and garlic, sweet and spicy garlic, sweet and hot garlic, plus Kool-Aid flavors.

“The flavors are different and they’re enriched with love,” he said.

Order menu with list of all the flavors of pickles
Courtesy of Good Ass Pickles
Good Ass Pickle menu

Cherry sells his pickles (also known as Grade A Pickles) via social media — for delivery or pickup in Independence — at barber shops, and local pop ups, including Black Drip Coffee’s Octoberfest.

“But it’s word of mouth with my pickles,” he continued. “I get a different customer every day saying, ‘Hey, man, I found your pickles at this place. I found your pickles at this place.’ And that’s gratifying.”

For the future of Good Ass Pickles, Cherry shared, he has a grand vision in the next few years for a pickle truck and is hoping to apply for grants to make that vision a reality.

“I just want to take your mind back to when you were a child, right?” he explained. “You would go outside and you would hear the bomb pop man coming down the street in his bomb pop truck. Well, I envision that same thing by having this pickle truck that will go into the neighborhoods and tantalize people’s taste buds with a variety of pickles.”

But Cherry — who has a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling — isn’t just in the pickle business. On top of making Good Ass Pickles and recruiting and retaining educators, he also founded Boxout Stress, where he provides counseling and boxing classes.

“I do a lot of team building throughout the community,” he said. “I just wrapped one up with Synergy. I did one with the KC Current. Boxout is all things stress management and we want to focus on six areas of anybody’s life to help them overcome the adversities that they face.”

This story was originally published by Startland News, a fellow member of the KC Media Collective.

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