Gessler Drug Co. to relocate from Normandie Center to Lincoln Heights Village area

gessleraugWICHITA — Gessler Drug Co. is heading home.

So says Hal Schwarz, who is relocating the store from Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn to where AAA Kansas used to be next to Il Vicino near Douglas and Oliver.

That’s one corner over from where Gessler first opened in Wichita in 1938. Watermark Books & Cafe is there today.

Schwarz says Gessler was one of the original anchor tenants in what became Lincoln Heights Village in 1949.

When he recently was looking for new space, Schwarz says the 4,300-square-foot location he found “just stood out far and above anything else we had seen.”

Gessler opened at Normandie in 1965 and is moving in part because a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market is negotiating for space at the center, which is forcing something of a game of musical stores.

That’s OK with Schwarz. He’d been contemplating opening a smaller pharmacy in the area and a larger store somewhere north or east (which he’s still looking for).

As he told Have You Heard? last month, his timetable was suddenly moved up because of the impending Wal-Mart deal.

The retailer is going to be taking some of the Whole Foods space, and Whole Foods is moving into the Gessler space.

“We had to be flexible,” Schwarz says.

He was prepared to take temporary space and open a small pharmacy until finding a more permanent location.

“Instead, we found something that we feel like was (worth) doing a multiple-years lease,” Schwarz says. “I really think we’ll be there for some years.”

He likes that he’ll be able to have a drive-through, which customers have been requesting.

Gessler’s will close at Normandie at 9 p.m. Aug. 14 and reopen in the new space Aug. 16.

“Ready or not,” Schwarz says, “Sunday at noon.”