Category Archives: Retail

Super Car Guys opening third dealership in former Joe Self Used Cars south-side space

UPDATED — Ride Auto Group, the company behind two Super Car Guys dealerships, is adding another one.

A third Super Car Guys will open where Joe Self Used Cars has been on the northwest corner of Pawnee and Broadway.

“We’ve always had expansion in mind,” says Aaron Wirtz, who handles marketing and media for Super Car Guys and Subaru of Wichita.

“The Super Car Guys brand is something … we feel like is very strong and very well developed,” he says. “It’s not something that we’re franchising out by any means, but it’s something that lends itself well to growth. … It’s ready to be plugged in.”

The change is effective Wednesday.

“We’re going to try to start selling cars today,” Wirtz says. “The signs are going up. We’re not wasting any time.”

Super Car Guys is taking over Joe Self’s inventory.

“We want to reach out to all different types of customers,” Wirtz says.

That will include used cars and trucks for retail customers and those who need special financing.

“We’ve been finding some success with lifted trucks right now,” Wirtz says of the raised trucks.

The dealership will undergo some cosmetic work while it’s open in order to look like other Super Car Guys dealerships on the east and west sides.

Wirtz says the dealerships are “specifically and intentionally planned to reflect our culture of openness and transparency.”

“It’s something we’ve devoted a lot of thought to.”

The former Joe Self space doesn’t have the Super Car Guys look.

“Right now there are a lot of offices and things like that,” Wirtz says. “It doesn’t feel as open.”

Super Car Guys has more expansion plans for the future.

“We definitely want to get things … started correctly for this location before starting anything else,” Wirtz says.

Joe Self says he may have expansion plans later as well.

“It’s a good possibility we might, yes,” he says.

“We’ll look at other possibilities that we might expand to.”

He has Joe Self Chevrolet Cadillac BMW. In addition to selling new cars, Self sells used cars as well. He says if he expands, it likely will be to sell more used cars elsewhere.

Self says the Super Car Guys had been looking for a south-side site for a while.

“We wish them well,” he says. “They do a good job.”

Wirtz says there’s a lot around the dealership, including a Walmart on the opposite corner.

“We’re excited about the amount of traffic that goes through there,” Wirtz says.

“It’s just really a beautiful intersection.”

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.”

’Til We Meet Again closes at Towne West Square; company still in business

UPDATED – It’s a reluctant Nathan Smith who shares ’Til We Meet Again’s latest news.

“I don’t want to tell you the news,” Smith says.

He and business partner Traci Smith-Cone have closed their store at Towne West Square, though they still have three stores elsewhere and plan to add more to sell custom caskets, urns and memorials.

“We are looking to continue to grow and all of that stuff, it’s just the Wichita market … everything slowed down, especially after Christmas,” Smith says.

“The Wichita store, like, just fell off the face of the planet. So we had to make some decisions pretty quick.”

Smith says he and Smith-Cone are now trying to determine if Towne West was the issue or if it’s Wichita in general.

“The traffic’s just not there in that mall,” Smith says. “The mall’s lost a lot of people, and they’re continuing to lose more people.”

Read More »

Al’s Old & New Book Store to be first tenant at Block One retail center

booksWICHITA — The new retail center attached to the parking garage at Block One has its first tenant, and it may be an unexpected one.

Anita Siemer is going to move her Al’s Old & New Book Store from Delano, where it’s been for almost six decades, to the new downtown development.

Slawson Cos. is handling leasing at the 8,400-square-foot center. Slawson broker Jerry Jones says if he could create a list of what he wants at the center, he’d “put a book store right at the top of it.”

“We just feel really good about it,” he says.

So does Siemer, even though she never wanted to move.

The New Covenant United Methodist Church purchased Siemer’s space along with another space next door – at 1710 and 1712 W. Douglas – in order to expand. In April, Siemer expressed concerns about having to move due to cost.

“I can find cheap, crummy spaces in … parts of town that would be scary for after dark, and I can find expensive, nice places here in Delano and downtown, but you know, having to pay so much – like three times as much as I currently pay – I don’t think that’s really looking like it works for me right now,” she said at the time.

Now, she says Slawson Cos. has “gotten creative to make it so I could come into the space really in better shape than anything I found in Delano.”

Read More »

Retail center coming to 21st and Amidon

WICHITA — The intersection of 21st and Amidon continues to get a makeover.

The gas station at the southeast corner is being demolished to make room for a small retail development.

“We’re just going to do a little mini shopping center,” says Larry Cook of Cook Construction.

“We’ve got two really great tenants that are going to go in there,” he says.

Cook says he can’t say who the tenants are just yet.

“We’re real, real close,” he says of the deals.

Read More »

Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates adds to ESPY swag bags

The Cocoa Dolce boxes that will go in ESPY gift bags have a special high-five wrap just for the sports awards.

The Cocoa Dolce boxes that will go in ESPY gift bags have a special high-five wrap just for the sports awards.

WICHITA – Beth Tully has had opportunities to include items from her Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates in swag bags, such as for the Grammys and Emmys, but she would have had to pay for the privilege.

Tully, who owns the shop in Bradley Fair and the new one in the Prairiefire development in Overland Park, didn’t think it would be wise to spend thousands on the hopes that a few famous people might get to know and like her chocolates.

“I mean, it’s crazy,” she says of what it costs.

Now, though, Tully has been invited to include her products in some giveaways for ESPN’s ESPY awards.

“It was really serendipitous,” Tully says of an Internet search leading to her website.

She’s now donated gifts of chocolates and gift cards for 150 bags that will be given in conjunction with the awards. Other companies that have included gifts in the bags include Fitbit, TiVo and Foxwoods.

“This is the first time that we’ve done anything at that level,” Tully says of the number of bags.

Read More »

Longtime roaster returns to Spice Merchant

roasterWICHITA — The more than 40-year-old coffee roaster that used to be the Spice Merchant’s mainstay is back in the store, which is on East Douglas about four blocks east of Washington.

Three years ago, owner Bob Boewe purchased a new, more environmentally friendly roaster from the U.S. Roaster Corp. in Oklahoma City. The company then tried to sell his old roaster.

“They could never really get a buyer,” Boewe says.

So he had the company refurbish and modernize it so he could use it as a backup at the store.

Boewe says his new roaster had an issue once, and he had to go a week and a half without it.

“We prevailed on a friend of ours in Oklahoma City who’s a roaster,” he says.

Boewe says he’d prefer to have his own backup because the new roaster has so many intricate parts.

“If one little part of that dies, you’re just dead in the water,” he says. “It could happen to anybody. It’s just a fact of life.”

The only way Boewe says a store such as his should be without a backup is if “the guy who built it lives next door to you.”

He says the refurbished roaster is at the store and waiting to be hooked up.

“We now have two beautiful red roasters on the floor.”

Ashley Furniture HomeStore-Wichita to open in former Sportsman’s Warehouse

UPDATED — More than four years after Sportsman’s Warehouse closed its east Wichita store, a new business is opening there.

Ashley Furniture HomeStore-Wichita will open at the site in One Kellogg Place, which is just east of Kellogg and Greenwich, this fall.

“It took me two years to get this building bought,” says Jay Storey, president of Wichita Furniture.

In addition to being an Ashley Furniture licensee, Wichita Furniture is the parent company of Furniture on Consignment.

Storey says the 55,000-square-foot building at One Kellogg Place had gone through a couple of different holding companies that purchased it with a bundle of other buildings.

“Their business was to lease properties, and we wanted to own property,” Storey says. “We’re here to stay.”

Storey opened his first Ashley Furniture store near 21st and Maize Road in 2002.

“There was a need out there that we filled,” he says.

Read More »

Fred Ortiz sells six College Hill Cleaners

UPDATED — Fred Ortiz has sold all of his College Hill Cleaners stores.

“After 39 years, I thought it was just enough dry cleaning for me.”

He started in the business working for someone else in 1977 and then opened his own College Hill Cleaners in 1988.

His first store was at 4618 E. Central. At the chain’s peak, Ortiz had nine stores, seven of which were on the east side along with ones in Derby and Andover.

Even as he expanded beyond College Hill, Ortiz decided to keep that name.

“I had such a good reputation there at the central location,” he says.

Bradley Fair was an early location.

“I was the second tenant at Bradley Fair,” Ortiz says.

In the last several years, he downsized to six stores.

“The dry cleaning industry just changed tremendously,” Ortiz says.

Read More »

QuikTrip planning two more Gen 3 stores

WICHITA — Bel Aire is two blocks shy of getting its first gas station.

QuikTrip has filed a permit for a new store at 35th and Oliver. Bel Aire begins on the northeast corner of 37th and Oliver.

“We’d like to get a QuikTrip or something like that,” says City Manager Ty Lasher. “We’d take anything.”

He says it’s not like there aren’t convenience stores in the area, though.

“They’re all very close.”

Mike Thornbrugh, spokesman for Tulsa-based QuikTrip, says the company has filed permits for the Oliver store and one near K-96 and North Ridge Road.

“We would like to go there, yes,” he says. “There’s still a ways to go where I’d have dates.”

When they do open, the stores will be Generation 3 stores, which is the chain’s latest prototype with kitchens and full-service counters for food and drinks.

Read More »