Longtime shop L.J. Pracht Co. slated to close; executor hopes to keep it open

WICHITA — Wichita may be losing another one of its oldest retail shops.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, L.J. Pracht Co., a one-of-a-kind wrapping store that also sells jewelry making supplies at 1500 E. Douglas, is slated to close on April 25.

Owner Jim Pracht III died more than two years ago.

However, Willi Richert, executor of Pracht’s estate, isn’t willing to make the store’s closure final yet.

“What is it Mark Twain said? His passing was greatly exaggerated,” Richert says.

“Hopefully, we’ve got a couple of different people who are showing interest, and maybe we can continue. That’s been my hope from the start.”

Pracht’s grandfather opened the store on Main Street in 1923.

“It’s been an integral part of the city for a lot of years – almost 100 – and you hate to see a business like that close down,” Richert says.

“It’s a unique store that reflects a different time, but it’s still a necessary product that they sell.”

Through the years, Richert says the store has had a huge inventory and served a multitude of customers.

“You name it, if it was associated with the jewelry business,” he says.

The store also used to carry clock parts.

“Amazingly, they served pretty much regionally,” Richert says.

If sales were slow, Richert says Jim Pracht’s father, Louie, would go to the local aircraft manufacturers to sell his jewelry tools, since they were often the same tools the manufacturers needed.

“They were good people,” Richert says of the Prachts. “I think this store and this family deserve to stay open.”