Fair’s Shoe Store to close by March

WICHITA — One of the city’s oldest retail outlets is closing.

Fair’s Shoe Store in the Indian Hills shopping center at 13th and Meridian will go out of business by March.

“It has, unfortunately, been less than profitable for us over the last four years,” says general manager Andy Warren.

He says his family had planned to close Fair’s, which he thinks has been in business since the 1940s, in 2010 when it opened a New Balance and a Heads shoe store in the former Blockbuster space at 10231 W. 21st St. near Maize Road.

The family decided to keep Fair’s open and continue selling comfort shoes at a more moderate price.

“It just turned out to be a strategy that didn’t work,” Warren says.

He thinks there’s still a market for moderately priced comfort shoes.

“It’s probably being served at places like Famous Footwear, Shoe Carnival, Target and Walmart.”

Warren says the family’s other four stores are doing fine.

“The one out west has been kind of a bumpy road since they did the road construction over the summer, but it’s picking up where it left off.”

It’s official: New Balance and Heads shoe stores to open near 21st and Maize

WICHITA — Cindy Warren confirms what Have You Heard? reported last week:

She’s bringing a New Balance store to the west side along with a new Heads shoe store.

Both will locate in the former Blockbuster space at 10231 W. 21st St. near Maize Road.

“We think that the area deserves the type of service and quality that we bring to town in a shoe store,” Warren says. “We think that they’re going to be very receptive of it.”

She says she’s done a lot of market research.

“It’s a different demographic out there than it is on the east side of town,” Warren says.

Warren owns Heads Village Shoe Store at Douglas and Oliver, Fair Village Shoe Store at 2407 W. 13th St., the New Balance shoe store at 1720 N. Webb, and the Little Feet Boutique children’s shoe store adjoining Heads.

“We’re taking our Fair’s shoe store on West 13th, and we’re lowering the price point,” says Warren’s son Andy, who is general manager.

Shoes have been averaging $90-$100 at Fair.

“We’re going to try to bring that down to about $60 to $70,” Andy Warren says.

The new stores will have the higher price point with more fashionable comfort shoes.

Warren says he sells a wide range of footwear, including orthopedic shoes, boots and “a cute little gladiator sandal.”

He says proper size and comfort are his main focuses.

At the 6,000-square-foot former Blockbuster space, New Balance will take 2,000 square feet and Heads will take 4,000 square feet.

“New Balance doesn’t require a lot of space,” Andy Warren says.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal. Farha Construction is the contractor.

Construction will start in early November, and the new stores should open in early February.

“We’re doing a complete overhaul of the existing facility,” Andy Warren says.

Spangenberg Phillips Tice has created the plans.

“They’ve done just a phenomenal job,” Andy Warren says.

Expanding in the current economic climate isn’t daunting to Cindy Warren.

“You know, it should be, but at the same time, we’ve done our homework, and we feel like we’ve picked a spot that is central to the part of Wichita that’s growing very quickly. So hopefully our homework will prove out that we made a good choice.”