Baxter sees economic growth with influx of businesses


BAXTER SPRINGS, Ks. — After numerous businesses pack a block in Baxter Springs, the city is now seeing both more economic growth and more tourism.

From a movie theater, to a bed and breakfast, and a museum. Area business are saying now is a better time than ever to check out what the Route 66 town has to offer.

Mary Billington, Baxter Springs Historical Museum, said “So, the more we can grow. The more it creates revenue for the whole area.”

For a small town, Baxter Springs has a lot to offer.

Right on Military Avenue sits a new development full of attractions.

Jocelyn Mauntford, Event Coordinator, Decades of Wheels, said, “Our facility consists of five different businesses, we have a cafe, we also have a bed and breakfast, a car museum, the arcade that is coming in 2020, and then also a desert bar.”

Those spots are the Decades Of Wheels Museum, Little Brick Inn , Rita’s Roost, and Rita’s Cafe On The Route.

They’ve caught the attention of travelers on Route 66, coming from as far away as Europe and Asia.

“They come out from different parts of the world. So, Route 66 is a huge part of our audience. But we also have people coming in from Joplin and Baxter.”

The Ritz Movie Theater has brought some traffic to the block as well.

The theater was erected only two years ago and also serves as a popular spot for those travelling through town.

But a couple of blocks away at the Baxter Springs Historical Museum, the influx of tourists is also being felt.

Mary Billington with Baxter Springs Historical Museum said, “We really feel that Decades of Wheels and Little Brick Inn has been a great impact on Baxter Springs.”

With more things to do in town, the higher the chances of people spending their dollars there.

“Our numbers are just going to keep going up.”

As these organizations look towards the future, there are already plans to extend their reach to bring more people out to enjoy the Southeast Kansas town.

Jocelyn Mauntford, Event Coordinator, Decades of Wheels
“We’ve reached out to several travel agencies we have tours coming through that not only want to see us but also our museum and all the other stuff Baxter has to offer, so.”

The Baxter Springs Historical Museum adds they are hopeful their new partnership will help bring more attention to Route 66 and its historical context as well.

They are currently in the process of getting Route 66 recognized as a biking trail by the National Parks Service.

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