Firehouse Subs is first tenant at new strip center at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Slawson Cos. is preparing to start building a strip center in front of the SuperTarget at NewMarket Square later this month and has landed its first tenant for it: Firehouse Subs.

“We acquired from Target an outparcel basically in front of their NewMarket Square store that’ll be just north of the Intrust Bank … branch bank,” says Slawson’s Jerry Jones.

Firehouse Subs will be in 2,000 square feet on the north end of the 10,000-square-foot center.

Jones says two other potential deals for the center are in advance stages of negotiation. If they happen, that would leave 2,800 square feet to lease to a tenant or 1,400 square feet each for two tenants.

Firehouse Subs franchisees Dana and Troy Todd would like to do five of the restaurants in the greater Wichita area. Franchisees Megan and Andrew Reece opened Wichita’s first Firehouse late last year at Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock Road.

Dana Todd says NewMarket Square is a great place to open Firehouse.

“It’s a well-established area, and it seems to be continuing to grow.”

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Sleep Number to open at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — A new Sleep Number store is opening at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road this summer.

The 2,500-square-foot store will open in the former Verizon Wireless space in the same center as Bella Luna Cafe.

Verizon expanded to part of the University of Phoenix’s former space. That’s in the same building as Kay Jewelers and Scottrade.

Sleep Number is part of Select Comfort Corp. of Minneapolis.

April Reed of Slawson Cos. handled the deal.

Look for more information closer to the store’s opening.

Verizon Wireless converts NewMarket Square store to Smart Store

WICHITA — The newly expanded Verizon Wireless at NewMarket Square opens Thursday with a new concept.

“We are opening what we call a Smart Store,” says spokeswoman Brenda Hill.

“We’ve really completely redesigned the customer experience inside the store,” she says. “Now the way the store is organized is … really focused on the way that customers use wireless.”

Only 100 of Verizon’s 1,700 stores across the country have this concept so far, and this will be the first one in Wichita and second one in Kansas.

“This is a big deal for us to have one of the first,” Hill says.

She says an employee called an experience specialist will greet customers when they enter the store.

“A lot of times customers come in the store, and they really don’t know what they need,” Hill says. There’s a lot “that they don’t know wireless can help them with.”

She says that might include ways to save money on home energy or devices to measure fitness goals.

The store will have four major zones to cater to various needs.

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Verizon Wireless to expand at NewMarket Square and Tallgrass Centre

WICHITA — Verizon Wireless is expanding two of its Wichita stores, which both happen to be at Slawson Cos. properties.

The chain has a new store under construction at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road, where there has been an expansion boom of late.

“We’ve had a lot of stores over the last couple of years that have expanded,” says April Reed, who handled the Verizon deals.

That includes expansions by Maurices, Personally Yours, Hallmark and Starbucks.

“We’ve been on a roll in terms of tenants expanding,” Reed says.

Verizon currently has 2,500 square feet in the same building as Bella Luna Cafe. In the first quarter of 2014, it will be moving to 5,200 square feet and taking most of the University of Phoenix’s former space. That’s in the same building as Kay Jewelers and Scottrade.

“It’ll be an updated space,” Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Hill says of the store.

Reed says there are 1,400 square feet of the former university space left to lease.

At Slawson’s Tallgrass Centre development on the southwest corner of 21st and North Rock Road, Verizon is expanding as well.

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G.J. Gardner Homes Wichita to open at the Shops at Tallgrass

WICHITA –  Wade Wilkinson has been building homes in El Dorado, Wichita and Augusta since 2000, but he wants to expand his Wichita business so he’s moving his office here and rebranding his company.

Wilkinson Construction will now be G.J. Gardner Homes Wichita in the Shops at Tallgrass at 21st and Rock Road.

“It’s essentially a sales office,” Wilkinson says of the 2,250-square-foot space in the retail center.

Wilkinson had been looking online for new estimating and scheduling software when he discovered the Australian-based G.J. Gardner franchise.

“That’s exactly what I need right there,” he says he thought.

There are more than 1,000 floor plans with marketing materials included, and Wilkinson says the G.J. Gardner warranties are better than anything he could offer on his own.

“I really, really liked it,” he says.

By having space at the Shops at Tallgrass, Wilkinson says customers can stop in and select from displays for things such as kitchens, granite, carpet and tile.

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Blue Balloon salon to open in the Shops at Tallgrass in memory of husband

Kayme Pumphrey with her children Madden (left) and Addison, and her late husband, Bryan, who is the inspiration behind Blue Balloon.

WICHITA — Kayme Pumphrey owns a successful employment agency in Chicago and had no plans to open another business until personal tragedy struck.

Pumphrey’s husband, Bryan, died unexpectedly a year ago.

“It’s been a rough year,” says Pumphrey, who is raising their children Addison, 6, and Madden, 4.

“Trying to sort of get through that is very hard without family,” Pumphrey says.

She decided to move home to her native Wichita, where family can help her.

“It just sort of seemed like the only option for us.”

The move did give her a business idea, though.

“It was very apparent to me that there were lots of luxuries that I was sort of used to having that we didn’t have here,” Pumphrey says.

She still owns the employment agency but also decided to open Blue Balloon, a hair salon and playroom for children that will open in the Shops at Tallgrass at 21st and Rock Road in late September.

“It’s actually done in honor or in memory of my husband,” Pumphrey says.

“It’s just a nice thing for me to be able to put my energy into and obviously carry on his memory for me and for our kids.”

Her husband’s favorite color was blue.

“It’s just very much him,” Pumphrey says. “And balloons go to heaven.”

The shop’s design will include a mural with photos of the couple’s 2006 trip to Africa and feature things reminiscent of the trip, such as a plane and two open-air vehicles for children to sit in as they have their hair done.

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Hugs & Hissyfits owner to open Smallcakes, A Cupcakery, at the Shops at Tallgrass

WICHITA — Wichita finally is getting Smallcakes, A Cupcakery. It’s just coming three years after founder Jeff Martin planned, and he’s not the one bringing it.

Lexi Bruner is opening the cupcake business in the Shops at Tallgrass at 21st and Rock Road where her Hugs & Hissyfits also is located.

“I like to stay busy,” Bruner says of opening the second business.

“We have a big family, so it keeps lots of people in my family busy.”

When Martin first shared his hopes for opening in Wichita, he had only two Smallcakes sites in the Kansas City area and was a veteran of the Food Network’s first season of “Cupcake Wars.”

Since then, he’s franchised the business – there are 25 open now, and there should be 40 by the end of the year – and had more national television exposure.

“We went from, like, zero to 60 so fast,” Martin says. “I’m really busy now. … I couldn’t do any more stores myself.”

Bruner says she considered a few different franchises before selecting Smallcakes.

“The others were just very corporate,” she says. “They were nice, but we just liked Jeff’s personality. He cares, and he wants to be involved, and he’s still really excited about what he does.”

Martin says he started the business in 2008 in a tough economic climate.

“The way we did it was very simple, and we just kept it that way,” he says.

“It’s very cheap compared to … these other franchises. … You don’t have to sink a bunch of money into a Smallcakes.”

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Slawson Cos. prepares to build next phase of NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize

UPDATED — Slawson Cos. is preparing to build a new addition to NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

“Obviously, we’ve had a lot of success out there, and the businesses that have located out there have done well,” says Slawson broker Jerry Jones.

The new 12-acre area will be just north of the Super Target along Maize Road.

“That has kind of changed the landscape a little bit,” Jones says of Sam’s.

Zoning for this phase of NewMarket Square is approved for 160,000 square feet, though Jones says there’s not room for that much construction. Nor will there be room for any big box or junior anchors. What there will be is a series of two-story buildings with retail on the first floors and offices on the second floors.

“We’re introducing something new to the market,” Jones says. “We think this is the right time and right place for it.”

The offices will have entrances in the rear of the buildings. Slawson broker April Reed says that way businesses can have the exposure of NewMarket Square, but employees won’t have to compete with shoppers for parking spaces.

Reed says there are a lot of amenities, including shopping and dining, that would make it attractive for companies to locate their offices at NewMarket Square. She says it’s ideal to “maximize your lunch hour.”

Jones says that part of NewMarket will trend more to upscale retailers, which he thinks is a niche that’s not currently being filled in that area.

Before 2013 is over, Jones says, “There will be some construction out there for sure. If nothing else, utilities.”

More likely, though, he says there will be at least one building built. With the first retail building, Jones says he wants to also build a freestanding, full-service restaurant near the front of the development. Jones and Reed are looking for a multiunit operation that doesn’t conflict with restaurants already at NewMarket.

“That narrows it down quite a bit,” Jones says. “We’re going to be quite selective.”

There’s only one other area left to develop in NewMarket. That’s just west of T.G.I. Friday’s, where there’s room for about 35,000 square feet.

Jones says ideally they’d like to develop both areas at the same time, but it will be “wherever the tenants come first.”

 

 

 

 

Starbucks to expand at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Starbucks is expanding its space at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

No one with the company is sharing details, but April Reed of Slawson Cos. confirms it’s happening.

Starbucks, which has been at NewMarket since 2003, currently has 1,500 square feet. It’s expanding into the 1,475-square-foot space Cartridge World left last summer.

Slawson has done exterior work to get the new space ready for Starbucks.

“One of their concerns was that each of those storefronts had its own distinct look,” Reed says. “They wanted to make it look like it was one cohesive space.”

The coffee chain is now in the design and permitting phase.

“They’re shooting to open in May,” Reed says.

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Furnish My Nest won’t open at Shops at Tallgrass after all

WICHITA — In March, Have You Heard? reported that Chance Shipman was going to open Furnish My Nest to sell furniture, accessories and lighting in the Shops at Tallgrass near 21st and Rock Road.

The store never did open, though, and it appears it never will.

“Yes, he did sign a lease and has not been seen or heard from since,” says April Reed of Slawson Cos. “That’s kind of the bottom line of it all.”

She says she’s tried reaching Shipman numerous times and received a text from him about family and funding issues.

“I don’t know what his situation is because he was not communicating with us about it,” Reed says. “He just never fulfilled his financial obligations.”

Shipman couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.