Daily Archives: Jan. 4, 2013

You don’t say

“We now have perhaps a bike lane, perhaps a smart car lane, perhaps a no pick-up lane. Waiting for instructions.”

– An e-mail from Jane Deterding of Citizens Bank of Kansas on what she calls the “unique” new lane markings at 135th and 21st streets

Despite sign to the contrary, T.J. Maxx isn’t coming to New Leaf Plaza

WICHITA — Shoppers in the 21st and Amidon area had brief hope that T.J. Maxx is coming to the intersection. A business in the area even had a sign saying so, but it’s not true.

“It speaks to a need or a demand at that intersection that’s probably not being fully fulfilled,” says Scott Harper, a broker with Landmark Commercial Real Estate.

“We have contacted them,” Harper says of T.J. Maxx. He was courting the store for New Leaf Plaza at the southwest corner where a Walmart Neighborhood Market is but says he “didn’t really get too far with it.”

Harper says that soft goods retailers such as T.J. Maxx like to cluster together.

“At the moment, that’s a little bit of a challenge for the intersection,” he says. Harper says it’s only one of a couple of intersections in the city with three grocers.

“I think soft goods are under served at the intersection,” he says. “A lot of them aren’t overly attracted to grocery-anchored centers.”

He says grocery stores are a draw for fitness centers.

“That’s why it’s good for Planet Fitness.”

The franchise opened in New Leaf Plaza last year, and Harper says it’s convenient for people to pop into the grocery store after their daily or weekly workout routine.

“Or, in my case, once-a year routine.”

Connie Hamilton sells Connie’s Cookies, which is moving east and changing to Connie’s Cookies Bakery Cafe

WICHITA — Twenty four years after opening Connie’s Cookies, Connie Hamilton has sold the business, but she’s not leaving.

That’s because she’s sold it to her son, Rob Smith, and his wife, Tanya.

“Everybody asks me if I’m really sad about that, and I’m not,” Hamilton says. “I get to go back to doing what I like.”

That’s making cookies instead of handling paperwork.

“I’m still going to be every bit as present as I’ve ever been.”

Except that won’t be in the Sweetbriar shopping center at 21st and Amidon.

The Smiths and Hamilton decided to move the shop to Reed’s Cove Plaza on East 21st Street just east of 127th Street where Knolla’s Pizza used to be.

“We have no visibility over here, and things have changed,” Hamilton says of the current location. “When we first moved in here, we didn’t need visibility.”

Though holiday sales still are strong, Hamilton says the rest of the year has become more of a challenge.

“Nowadays, everybody is opening a bakery,” she says. She says many bakers operate out of their homes.

“It has really, really eaten into our everyday sales,” she says. “We had to look at what’s wrong, and we decided what was wrong was where we were located.”

She and the Smiths initially only considered moving downtown or to Delano.

“We had every intention of staying central,” Hamilton says.

Then Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, who handled the deal for the Reed’s Cove space, suggested that center.

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