Lenexa Public Market

Perhaps counterintuitively, placemaking has less to do with the physical space and more to do with the people. Collaboration with stakeholders is key to placemaking strategies.


City of Lenexa

Project Type


About this Project

The 11,000-square-foot Lenexa Public Market is owned and operated by the City of Lenexa as part of a civic campus including City Hall, Rec Center, Library, and outdoor seasonal space, including a farmer’s market. During her six-year tenure as market manager, Carmen Chopp worked in collaboration with City Council and staff, tenants, other stakeholders, and outside organizations to support and amplify the unique character of the market to create a sense of community, ultimately getting the market to full capacity before leaving to pursue her passion of community development and creative placemaking. The following case studies illustrate Carmen’s ability to create memorable spaces.


Armed with strategic planning, project management, and an unwavering dedication, Carmen was instrumental in bringing the acclaimed Cosmo Burger to Lenexa Public Market. On September 2, 2022, the market’s fifth anniversary, the distinguished Kansas City burger joint opened its second location, thanks to Carmen’s persistent efforts. From lease negotiations to project mediation, Carmen navigated the complexities of the project with ease. Her profound understanding of restaurant infrastructure enabled Cosmo Burger to double their grilling capacity, enhancing the dining experience for patrons. Celebrating community and fostering a spirit of collaboration, Carmen’s tireless efforts culminated in her being honored with the first burger off the griddle. The journey wasn’t just about project completion, but an emotional investment that left a lasting impact on all involved.



Journey through the transformative story of Alejandra de la Fuente, owner of the Mexican eatery, Red Kitchen. With no previous experience in the food industry, Alejandra began with a humble tamale stall. Carmen, the former General Manager of Lenexa Public Market, played a pivotal role in Alejandra’s leap from a side hustle to a thriving business. Carmen’s astute business coaching not only crafted the concept of the renowned breakfast burrito, but also guided Alejandra through the complexities of contracts and negotiations. Carmen’s balanced approach, compassionate leadership, and staunch feminism fostered an environment where Alejandra found her entrepreneurial voice. Under Carmen’s guidance, Red Kitchen blossomed, and her breakfast burrito was acclaimed as the Best Burrito in Kansas by Food & Wine Magazine in 2018. As Carmen departs, her legacy remains etched in the hearts of the people she empowered, setting a high bar for resilience and success.


african dream

From a dream to a thriving business, Neba Ngwa and Stella Musongong’s journey is a testament to the power of diligent mentorship and cultural expression. As first-time entrepreneurs, this couple aimed to introduce their West African culture to Kansas through their venture, African Dream Cuisine. Carmen, the General Manager of Lenexa Public Market, guided them through the labyrinth of starting a business in the U.S. Her business coaching, strategic planning, and project management skills were instrumental in transforming their food pop-up into a tenant space in 2021. Carmen encouraged them to retain their unique cultural touch while translating their vision into a successful business. Her suggestions for marketing, promotion, and menu extensions significantly boosted their sales. Neba and Stella, who started their journey with a pop-up food stand, now have a fully developed booth, and are close to hiring their first employee. Carmen’s leadership style continues to inspire them and has left an indelible mark on their business journey.



A Brand new public market, coming soon to a Northern Kansas City Region.


Related Projects

Red Kitchen

Carmen’s mentorship transformed Alejandra’s humble tamale stall into Red Kitchen, an acclaimed Mexican eatery, celebrating a journey from novices to culinary success. READ MORE

African Dream

Carmen’s mentorship guided Neba and Stella’s African Dream Cuisine from a dream to a thriving business, celebrating their West African culture in Kansas. READ MORE


Strategic planning and dedication led to the successful launch of Cosmo Burger’s second location at Lenexa Public Market, leaving a lasting community impact. READ MORE