You may not know it, but there is an Italian cookie war underway in Kansas City.
DiCapo Foods is so fed up with what they call politics at the City Market they’ve decided to sue. It all heads to court July 11.
Owner John DiCapo says there’s no love for any of his cookies at the City Market and after years of rejection, and he’s had enough.
“How could you deny me the right to sell these wonderful Italian cookies on the weekends at my City Market. It’s just not fair. I’m not going to put up with it," DiCapo said.
But, he may have to. The City Market has a vendor board which decides who gets space. DiCapo gets none.
"I pay all my taxes. How can you deny me? That’s my City Market, not their City Market," DiCapo said.
Here’s the rejection: Your application was not approved because it would violate a policy of the City Market against farmer’s market vendors that would sell products that directly compete/duplicate products of year-round City Market tenants. In your case, your Italian holiday and wedding cookies are in conflict with Carollo’s Italian Grocery and Deli.
"The cookies they sell come from New York. These are Kansas City, made in Kansas City," DiCapo said.
DiCapo calls the city’s response weak and says he doesn’t buy it.
Competition happens all the time at the City Market. Vegetable vendors have permanent storefronts and steps away there are daily vendors selling the same thing.
City Market patrons can buy pasta inside Carollo’s, and they can also buy it from a vendor who sets up a temporary stand every weekend. It’s same situation for cookies. There’s a storefront called Bloom Baking and Yumilious who all sell cookies too.
So, DiCapo wonders what’s really going on?
"Why would they single DiCapo cookies out? Is it personal? What’s happening?" DiCapo said.
DiCapo gave it one final try this year. He applied and didn’t even list Italian cookies. He offered to bake cowboy cookies and sesame pecan. He was still rejected.
KCTV5 News reached out to both the city and the people who manage the City Market. The city declined, citing the pending lawsuit.
The City Market says they follow rules to make things fair and this was a case of bad timing.
They say there is no more room for retail food vendors.
"How can they keep DiCapo out? We’ve been here a 100 years. We built this city," DiCapo said.
The lawsuit is really about shaming the city. A small claims court judge can’t force the City Market to include DiCapo, but the judge could award the company up to $5,000 in damages.
DiCapo hopes some attention will force the city to explain what he considers cookie discrimination.
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