Category Archives: Normandie Center

Fit For A Queen and New 2U Kids to open where Thick Girls was supposed to be

WICHITA — The new Thick Girls shop had a rather thin existence, you might say.

Owner Tina Sidelnik planned to open the business in her family’s former Not Just A Cop Shop space near Central and Hillside, and she’d been collecting clothing for the plus-size store for some time. She never opened, though.

“Things just weren’t meant to be, and that’s just how it goes,” Sidelnik says.

Instead of opening, Sidelnik decided to sell the clothing she’d collected along with remaining items from Not Just A Cop Shop.

“It was basically a garage sale,” she says. “One big, gigantic garage sale.”

Pia Schwamman, owner of Fit For A Queen, shopped at that sale and began talking to Sidelnik about her space.

“She offered me her place,” Schwamman says. “It’s move-in ready for me.”

Schwamman’s store, which is a plus-size consignment shop for men and women, currently is at 1545 S. Meridian.

“Where I’m at right now I truly am a destination,” Schwamman says.

She didn’t need all of Sidelnik’s 6,000 square feet, so New For You – Kids Resale Shop is moving into half of it in the back of the building. Owner Dalila Stevenson, whose store sells maternity and children’s clothing, is changing the name of the shop to New 2U Kids when she moves.

Stevenson previously had been at Central and Emporia in 1,500 square feet, then she moved to 6,000 square feet at 126 N. West St.

“You know, to be honest with you, bigger is not always better in this kind of business,” she says.

Stevenson says she was able to fill the store but not move enough merchandise.

“It’s just still not … cutting it.”

Schwamman and Stevenson each will have 3,000 square feet at the new building. Since she’s downsizing, Stevenson says she’ll no longer be able to sell children’s furniture, “which I’ll miss, but that’s OK.”

There will be a French door between the two shops “so people can go venture from store to store without going out,” Stevenson says.

Look for both stores to open in early August.

Meanwhile, Sidelnik is going to concentrate on her family’s Twizted Confections in Normandie Center.

“We’re going to be focusing on expanding the bakery,” she says.

Sidelnik says there are now some popular bierocks and sandwiches on the menu, “which keeps us pretty busy at this point.”

Lawrence Photo to leave downtown after 125 years for move to Normandie Center

WICHITA — After 125 years in the greater downtown area, Lawrence Photo is leaving.

“When you leave the core area of the city that you’ve been in for 125 years … it’s a tough decision to make,” says owner Paul Hudson.

He’s moving the store from 401 E. Douglas to Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.

“I thought it was just the sweetest intersection of the city,” Hudson says.

That’s because Normandie is home to the Twizted Confections and Sweetly Scrumptious bakeries.

“And then I’m going to round it out with Whole Foods on the healthy side,” Hudson says.

He also likes that the Seafood Shop and Yoder Meats are there, and Great Harvest Bread Co. is nearby across Woodlawn.

“I don’t have to drive to go to the grocery store ever again,” Hudson says.

“I like the neighborhood, and it still has a neighborhood feel. The demographics are right there.”

The business started in 1877 as Lawrence Drug Store and was located downtown where the Intrust Bank parking garage is now. Hudson says in 1888 owner Charles Lawrence signed the first Kodak dealership west of the Mississippi with George Eastman of Eastman Kodak.

In more recent years, Hudson has expanded his business to include custom framing along with printing.

“It’s a major portion of business,” he says. “We’re certainly wanting to expand that framing and printing.”

At the new space, which is in the 3,000 square feet where Pathfinder Birkenstock used to be, Hudson will begin having photography classes. He says he’s been getting a lot of requests for them.

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Banh Mi Ngon Bakery & Deli to open at Normandie Center

WICHITA — A “delicious” new Vietnamese deli is opening in Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.

Banh Mi Ngon Bakery & Deli – “ngon” means “delicious” in Vietnamese – will open later this week or next week following its final inspection.

“I think we do the best Vietnamese sandwich,” says Annie Vu, who owns Glamour Nail near the restaurant.

“I cook for my employees sometime,” Vu says of her nail salon workers. She occasionally lets customers have a bite of her food, too, and she says many people have told her she should open a restaurant.

Vu wasn’t interested in doing that, but her husband, Peter Nguyen, was.

They’ll make their own bread for their signature banh mi sandwiches along with the pate that goes on them.

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Howard’s Optical to consolidate two stores

WICHITA — Howard’s Optical is consolidating two of its stores with “one big, giant move.”

So says vice president and co-owner Linda Charmchizadeh.

The stores at 1650 S. Oliver and in Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn will consolidate at 5405 E. Central, which is just west of Central and Edgemoor.

“We’re going to have more of a … street view,” Charmchizadeh says. At Normandie, she says, “Not a lot of people can see us.”

Friday is the last day for the stores to be in their current spaces. They reopen in the new space on Monday.

Howard’s Optical, which has several more stores around Wichita, sells frames and lenses and has its own servicing labs.

Charmchizadeh says the chain will have more news later this year.

“This is our 45-year anniversary.”

You don’t say

“I’m probably the only armed baker in town.”

Bruce Reesman, who owns Smart Security and Investigations, Not Just A Cop Shop and Twizted Confections, a bakery that opened this week in Normandie Center

Twizted Confections to open in Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn

WICHITA — It perhaps makes sense that Tina and Bruce Reesman own both Smart Security and Investigations and Not Just A Cop Shop. Their newest business, though, is going to be a deviation from the security world.

The Reesmans are opening Twizted Confections, a bakery, in Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn next month.

“My husband actually has been baking for many years, and this is a passion of his,” Tina Reesman says.

The bakery will open in the approximately 3,500 square feet where Subway used to be.

Normandie also is where Sweetly Scrumptious is, but Reesman says she and her husband’s business will be slightly different.

They plan to sell pastries such as cookies, baklava, cannoli and what she calls “authentic East Coast” cheesecake and pies.

“I hate to say this, but you can taste the calories when you eat it,” Reesman says. “We don’t cut back on the butter. We don’t cut back on the sugar. What you’re eating is rich and decadent and melts in your mouth.”

Twizted Confections won’t have cupcakes or cakes.

“My husband is so incredibly talented … that when he makes cakes it’s a huge process,” Reesman says.

They’ll offer some sugar-free and gluten-free items along with some savory food, such as quiches for lunch and mini quiches for appetizers.

The bakery will have a soft opening on Election Day Nov. 6 with some donkey and elephant cookies. Anyone who shows an “I voted” sticker can have a free cookie.

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Family Christian Stores to move from Normandie Center to Eastgate Plaza

WICHITA — After more than a decade in Normandie Center, Family Christian Stores is moving to Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock Road.

“We’re actually going where we feel more of our customers shop,” says Paul Sobol, vice present of real estate for the Michigan-based chain.

Normandie is at Central and Woodlawn, which Sobol says is “not a regional shopping area.”

New stores at Eastgate, such as Ross Dress For Less, “really have a similar customer so that we feel we can reach out to more and more people,” Sobol says.

There’s also a Family Christian Stores location in NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road that’s been open for about seven years.

Nationally, there are almost 300 stores, which sell Christian-themed products, such as gifts, books, jewelry, CDs and DVDs.

“We reach out to the whole Christian community,” Sobol says.

The new east-side store will be in the former Mattress Firm space, which is about 4,000 square feet. That’s slightly larger than the Normandie space.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons and Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos. handled the deal.

Look for the Eastgate Family Christian Stores to open around Oct. 25.

It’s confirmed: Planet Fitness to open at Normandie Center

WICHITA — Last week, Have You Heard? reported confirmation of Planet Fitness deals at 21st and Amidon and near 21st and Maize and said it looked like a deal also was done at Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.

Now there’s confirmation of that, too, in the form of a building permit.

Planet Fitness has a permit for $550,000 at the center.

 

Planet Fitness signs two new deals

WICHITA — There are deals for two new Wichita Planet Fitness sites, though the chain still isn’t talking about its plans here.

Have You Heard? previously reported that the company is working on locations in the former Star Lumber space at Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn, at Marina Lakes at 21st and Amidon where a new Walmart Neighborhood Market is and also at the 21st and Maize area.

Since then, Scott Harper of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons finalized a deal for the Marina Lakes space.

On Friday, Tidemann and Landmark’s Nick Esterline finalized a deal for the former bowling alley space at 2350 N. Maize Road. That’s where Countryside West Lanes closed in 2007.

It looks like there may already be demo work going on at the possible Planet Fitness space at Normandie.

Planet Fitness isn’t the only new gym coming to the city.

Gold’s Gym International also has been working on sites here. In fact, it appears it was negotiating for some of the same space Planet Fitness nabbed.

Earlier this year, Have You Heard? reported that a Gold’s deal at Harry and Rock may already be done.

Both companies are being similarly silent. We should hear something from them soon, though.

 

Planet Fitness coming to Wichita with at least three gyms

WICHITA — Gold’s Gym International isn’t the only new fitness chain coming to Wichita.

Planet Fitness is finalizing deals for three locations as well.

In fact, the two chains have been jockeying for some of the same spaces.

No one with Planet Fitness is talking just yet, but it looks like the company is working on locations in the former Star Lumber space at Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn, at Marina Lakes at 21st and Amidon where a new Walmart Neighborhood Market is and also at the 21st and Maize area.

The website for Planet Fitness describes its gyms as fairly basic.

“We don’t have any salespeople, and we don’t bother with all the extras like juice bars and childcare that drive up costs and can make a gym membership seem more like a car payment.”

Look for more news on the deals in the coming weeks.