Category Archives: Retail

You don’t say

“I apologize for being kind of a sappy father.”

Bicycle X-Change owner Michael Scanga on his daughter, Michelle, being pictured in Cosmopolitan’s September issue and quoted as saying, “It’s the best when somebody asks where I got a dress or top, and I can say, ‘Oh, a little shop in Kansas.’”

Sara Lee Bakery Outlet to move to Lexington Square

WICHITA — A new Sara Lee Bakery Outlet is opening on the west side, and the one at 2536 S. Southeast Dr. is closing.

“We’re basically moving that store over to the new site,” says retail sales manager Ray Christ.

The store will open in about a month at Mike Hampton’s Lexington Square at the southwest corner of Maple and Maize.

The outlet, which is owned by Mexico-based Bimbo Bakeries, sells baked goods such as bread and cakes. It carries a number of brands, such as Sara Lee, Rainbo and Oroweat.

“We’re naming it Sara Lee because that’s a recognized brand here in Wichita,” Christ says.

The company operates as Bimbo in Topeka, which is where the Wichita products are made.

Christ says if he says Bimbo here, Wichitans “look at you cross eyed. What’s Bimbo?”

“It hasn’t really spread down here to Wichita yet.”

Until about a year ago, Bimbo had a Rainbo Bakery next to the Sara Lee Bakery Outlet on Southeast Drive.

“We closed the bakery just because it was old, rundown and not worth investing the capital to put new equipment in there,” Christ says.

The company then put the property up for sale, and it sold more quickly than expected.

Christ says the Sara Lee on Southeast Drive has to close Sept. 22.

“We’re trying to keep everything progressing as rapidly as possible so there’s not any lost time, if any.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

There’s a second Sara Lee in the Indian Hills Shopping Center at 13th and Meridian.

Christ says an east-side outlet is possible in the future as well.

At Lexington Square, where Sara Lee will join Yoder Meats and Ultimate Avon Beauty Center, Hampton owns Rolling Hills Wine & Spirits.

He says he’s always joked about having beer, beef and beauty at the center.

“And now we’re going to be able to say bread,” Hampton says. “I thought it was kind of funny.”

You don’t say

“I have separation anxiety.”

– Wichita resident Pat Hysko, who says she’s lost without being able to buy gifts at Barrier’s and then shop for wrapping at L.J. Pracht Co. after decades of shopping at the now-closed stores

Hibbett Sports to open in Goddard Sept. 13

WICHITA — The new Hibbett Sports opening in Goddard should be ready for business on Sept. 13.

“It’ll be a big deal to the town,” says Brad Walton, Midwest real estate manager for the Birmingham, Ala.-based company.

Hibbett sells athletic footwear and apparel and hard goods for sports such as basketball, baseball, football and soccer.

Walton says where Wal-Mart – which also is in Goddard – has more lower-priced items, Hibbett’s carries more medium-to-high-priced items.

The chain has stores in Hutchinson, Derby and Pratt.

“Typically what we do is a little bit more isolated,” Walton says of where the company chooses to locate.

“Pratt is kind of what we like to do.”

That’s what he calls an isolated market with “limited or no competition.”

The chain likes markets where there generally aren’t stores such as Academy Sports and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“We try to go where we’re needed,” Walton says.

The 5,000-square-foot Goddard store is opening in Goddard Plaza at 19931 W. Kellogg, which is near Kellogg and South 199th St. West.

“Goddard to us is a really fast-growing market with a lot of potential,” Walton says. “It’s the growth potential and trying to get ahead of the growth potential.”

The chain currently has 950 stores and will have more than 1,000 by the end of the year.

Walton says he’s considering other Kansas markets as well.

“Newton, Kan., is a great market we’d like to be in.”

Walton says he had a deal in Wellington, but it fell through. He says it make take a few years, but he hopes deals happen there and in Newton.

For now, though, the Goddard store will be it.

“It’s going to be a good store,” Walton says. “Hopefully these people won’t have to drive all the way into Wichita to get their sporting goods.”

Ultra Modern Pool & Patio will have new west-side warehouse

WICHITA — A storm last summer is leading to a new warehouse this summer for Ultra Modern Pool & Patio.

Co-owner Rita Rowlen says “it just looked like a tornado had hit” her west-side warehouse after a “92-mile-an-hour wind came straight through” and “it took off the entire roof” along with a wall.

“It just took the wall and rolled it over like a domino,” she says. “The garage door was just all crinkled up.”

The 8,000-square-foot warehouse at 1501 S. Tyler was full of more than $1 million in hot tubs and patio furniture.

“It was raining cats and dogs that night,” Rowlen says.

She says she and her employees spent hours packing 40-foot storage units with the products.

“We just lined them up. Boom, boom, boom.”

Then they had to unbox them in a dry place and inspect them and then sell the merchandise at a discount. Otherwise, Rowlen says, “We would have had empty stores.”

However, she says they might have chosen that with the benefit of hindsight.

“The excess workload was unbelievable.”

Now, a new 8,000-square-foot warehouse under construction at the site of the west-side store at 8100 W. Kellogg should allow for more efficiency than the old one, Rowlen says.

“We’ve kind of had to jump through some hoops with the city of Wichita to get permitting,” she says.

The new warehouse is being added to an existing 5,000-square-foot one.

“We had to really kind of think out of the box,” Rowlen says.

She expects it to be built by fall, “and we should be smiling a lot more.”

L.J. Pracht Co. closing sale starts Sept. 2

WICHITA — Willi Richert, executor of Jim Pracht III’s estate, said in April that he’d let us know the fate of the late businessman’s L.J. Pracht Co.

“I did promise I’d let you know good or bad, and unfortunately it’s bad,” he says.

The business, a one-of-a-kind wrapping store that also sells jewelry making supplies at 1500 E. Douglas, is closed and isn’t reopening except for a going-out-of-business sale.

“We did try,” Richert says of selling it.

“We had a couple of people interested in it, but it just fell through,” he says. “I would have liked to have seen it continue.”

Pracht’s grandfather opened the store, one of Wichita’s oldest, 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 said in April. “It’s a unique store that reflects a different time, but it’s still a necessary product that they sell.”

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

“You name it, if it was associated with the jewelry business,” he said this spring.

The store also used to carry clock parts.

“Amazingly, they served pretty much regionally.”

If sales were slow, Richert said 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 previously said of the Prachts.

The store’s sale, which will include supplies and fixtures, starts Sept. 2 and ends Sept. 12.

“That’ll be the end of it,” Richert says.

Though he hoped the store would stay open, Richert says he wants to “thank Wichita for supporting this family for three generations.”

Blue Swallowtail Studio soon to be without a home again

WICHITA — JoAn McGregor is once again looking for new space for her Blue Swallowtail Studio in Delano.

In July a year ago, McGregor explained that she was “really in a pickle” when she lost her lease at 1712 W. Douglas.

McGregor, who is a fused glass artist, potter and minister, then found new space at 1528 W. Douglas the next month.

Now, she says, “I’ve lost my lease again.”

McGregor says her rent is going up by 50 percent. She says there were some other issues as well, so she never stopped looking for other new space.

Her last day in business at her current space will be Aug. 23.

McGregor says she may try to set up in her garage or somewhere else if she doesn’t have a new space to move into by then.

She says that rent “prices are horribly high.”

“I’m really looking hard.”

Abuelo’s west-side deal gets inked

UPDATED — The deal for the new west-side Abuelo’s has closed.

“When we talked last, we had a gentleman’s agreement,” says Chuck Ouellette, manager of the chain’s east-side restaurant. “Now it’s all signed and delivered.”

Construction will start soon on the almost 8,000-square-foot restaurant, which will be at the northeast corner of Taft and Ridge Road. That’s south of Panera Bread and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and across the street from where Twin Peaks is under construction.

“The revitalization of the west side is growing, and that area is fantastic,” Ouellette says.

There also will be a 1,000-square-foot patio with the new Abuelo’s.

“This one’s going to be covered,” Ouellette says.

There will be a stage at the patio as well.

“So we can do some live music out there,” Ouellette says. “It’s going to be cool.”

Inside, the restaurant will feature some new design elements for the chain, including some skylight.

“The plans are in the city right now,” says Randy Simon, one of the property owners who also owns Panera and is a partner in Freddy’s.

Simon says Abuelo’s is “a higher-end concept that I think will bring … new people to the intersection.”

The restaurant should open in early spring.

Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal. Saville also is going to handle leasing on an additional 8,400 square feet of space that will be attached to the Abuelo’s space.

That could include retail or office users and possibly one more small restaurant concept, but Simon says he’d want to choose something that wouldn’t compete with the other concepts already there.

“We’d like to keep the rest of that pretty secure.”

Beauty First to consolidate Wichita stores

WICHITA — The east-side Beauty First near the southwest corner of 21st and Rock is going out of business.

“Basically, our business is stronger on the west side,” says Lee Rogers, vice president of operations. “We had an opportunity to consolidate both.”

The opportunity arose from the store’s landlord having new plans for the space.

Rogers says there’s “not much to it – just your traditional business consolidation.”

The chain’s west-side store is at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize.

“We’ve been in the community a very long time,” Rogers says. “We’re a much smaller company than we once were.”

He says the idea is to “save a few pennies and … recognize where we are in today’s world.”

Look for more information soon about a new development that will take Beauty First’s place.

Whole Foods Market will have some familiar Kansas touches when it opens

WICHITA — Whole Foods Market may be new to Wichita, but there’s going to be something familiar about the store when it opens Sept. 3 in the Waterfront at 13th and Webb.

The Austin-based chain often likes to take inspiration from a locale when opening a new store there.

“We normally try to have stories behind what we do,” says Paul Jarvis, decor project manager.

Some stores are easier than others.

“If we open in, like, a suburb, it’s harder to find … obvious details,” Jarvis says.

“Wichita is just chock full of fun stuff,” he says. “I went out to Wichita with one of the designers, and we just kind of soaked it in and did a lot of research.”

Jarvis, a Kansas State University graduate who works in Whole Foods’ Boulder office, took photos at places such as Beechcraft.

“We did a lot of walking around Old Town.”

Then he gathered photos and colors “from the feel we got” and did a hierarchy of what’s important here.

“Aviation came out on top,” Jarvis says.

Kansas nature and what he calls a Native American element also were influential.

There will be some obvious references to those things and some more subtle references.

“There are a lot of yellows that we got from sunflowers and … fields and wheat,” Jarvis says.

A lot of the decorative wood in the store is reclaimed.

Jarvis also went to Rantoul, Kan., to visit Dodson International, which deals in aircraft parts.

“I wanted to find something special,” Jarvis says. “They’re a great resource.”

He picked up some old wings and propellers, among other things.

Jarvis is not saying how he’s going to use them, though.

“I kind of want them to be a little bit of a surprise when we open.”

In addition to actual aircraft parts, there will be artwork featuring aspects of aviation or patterns that can be seen from planes.

“We really kind of went all out with the details of the patterns we got from airplanes,” Jarvis says.

“There’s a lot of little details like that that hopefully people will pick up on.”

Team leader Angela Schmidt gives a tour of the new Wichita Whole Foods Market, which she’ll manage.