Skin Essentials moving from Happiness Plaza to Douglas and Oliver

WICHITA — Pam Spillman-Edmondson is trading Happiness for more space.

She’s moving her Skin Essentials shop from Happiness Plaza at 3555 E. Douglas to the center at the northwest corner of Douglas and Oliver. The new space, which will be next to Aspen Boutique, will open in early January.

Skin Essentials, which opened in 2007, has been in Happiness Plaza for three years.

“We like it here a lot, but we just have run out of room,” Spillman-Edmondson says.

Currently, she has less than 700 square feet. The new space, which will be in the former Beau Monde beauty bar location, is 1,300 square feet.

With the new room, Spillman-Edmondson says she plans to add four more estheticians for a total of eight. She says she’ll also add more natural and organic skincare lines and cosmetics on the retail side.

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Beau Monde Spa and Boutique consolidates beauty bar into Comotara space

WICHITA — Beau Monde Spa and Boutique owner Michele Wheeler is closing her makeup bar at Douglas and Oliver to consolidate her two stores into her expanded 9,000 square feet at Comotara.

“It really allowed me to put everything under one roof,” she says of the center at 29th and Rock Road.

The expanded space will have a BlowOut Bar for hair styling similar to the popular one Wheeler has had at her smaller location.

Wheeler says the move isn’t a financial one.

“It really just creates energy,” she says. Having everything in one place “creates the ultimate spa experience.”

“Wichita’s become very sophisticated and savvy in its beauty needs,” Wheeler says.

Beau Monde has many more national competitors now than when it started eight years ago. Wheeler says the fact that she brought many new brands to the market and focuses on customer service “really sets us apart from all the big-box experiences and competition.”

She says being at the center at Douglas and Oliver was great.

“Just the synergy on that corner is something really, really hard and unique to find,” Wheeler says. “It’s a great shopping environment to see women walk back and forth from store to store.”

Aspen Boutique owners James and Monica Smits also own the center.

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Aspen Traders to open in Colorado

James Smits standing in front of the future home of Aspen Traders.

WICHITA — Monica and James Smits are bringing back their Aspen Traders name, but not for their Wichita store.

The two, who own Aspen Boutique in Wichita, are opening a new store in Leadville, Colo. That’s about 30 minutes from Vail.

“We’re going to open a summer boutique,” James Smits says. “So it’ll be open from Memorial Day until Labor Day.”

So is it an excuse to have a great summer vacation home?


Actually, the Smits both are from Colorado.

“As our families have aged, we’ve kind of wanted to be a little closer, and it just puts us a little closer for the summer,” Smits says. “And it’s kind of a creative challenge.”

He calls it a “tremendous” tourist area.

“It’s a genuine old mining town dating back to the 1880s,” Smits says. “What they call a boomtown. It was actually the most prosperous mining town in Colorado.”

Their building, which is on the main street through town, was built in that era.

“It’s really quite cute,” Smits says.

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Absolute Vintage Boutique to open in former Brown’s Botanicals space

Erin Duke (from left) and sisters Emily Lee and Amy Gilman, who are opening Absolute Vintage Boutique this week.

WICHITA — When first we contacted Erin Duke weeks ago about opening a retail shop in the former Brown’s Botanicals space on Maple across from Target, she asked if we could wait to report it until she had a more firm opening date.

Customers, however, did not wait.

They saw her Absolute Vintage Boutique sign and came on in.

“Women want to shop,” Duke says. “You can’t stop them.”

Duke and her husband, Brian, are opening the shop with sisters Emily Lee and Amy Gilman, who already have been selling items through Craigslist as Sisters of the Wild West.

Absolute Vintage will sell a mix of vintage, new and consignment items, including furniture, housewares, art, clothing and jewelry.

“I would say a little of everything,” Erin Duke says. “We look for pieces that are unique.”

A lot of the furniture items will be repainted, repurposed or, as Duke likes to say, “reimagined.”

They’ll use chalk paint, which creates a vintage look, and likely will sell the popular paint — not to be confused with chalkboard paint — as well.

Lee and Gillman are west-siders. The Dukes live on the east side but weren’t hesitant about having a west-side shop, in part since it’s just off of Kellogg and easily accessible from anywhere.

“We just couldn’t pass up this darling location,” Duke says.

She says it’s been a floral shop for the last half century or so.

One former greenhouse area will have its own name — Amped Hobbies — and will be especially geared to men with a lot of items related to remote-controlled hobbies.

It also will feature what Brian Duke calls “mentiques.”

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Beau Monde to open makeup bar at Douglas and Oliver

WICHITA — Years ago, Michele Wheeler’s dream was to open a small makeup and skin-care store.

Instead, the former Blockbuster Video executive bought the much larger Beau Monde Spa and Boutique (with a popular makeup bar) at Comotara Center, remodeled and expanded it, and then opened a second location at NewMarket Square.

Now, she’s getting back to her first idea with a 1,300-square-foot makeup and skin-care boutique in the former Myoptix space at Douglas and Oliver.

Wheeler hasn’t settled on a name yet, but it will include the words Beau Monde.

“It’s the try-before-you-buy concept,” Wheeler says of the products she’ll offer.

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Mike’s Wine Dive to open in former Caffe Posto space

WICHITA — Coffee and sandwich sales weren’t enough to keep Caffe Posto open near Douglas and Oliver, but new owners are hoping wine and food will be a hit.

Jimmy’s Egg franchisee Whitney VinZant and some undisclosed partners plan to open Mike’s Wine Dive in the former Posto space by March 1.

They’re also taking the Hair Connection space next door for a total of 2,650 square feet.

That business, which is still open, lost its lease after 24 years.

“I’m really sad to see Hair Connection go,” says James Smits, who owns Aspen Boutique and bought the center three years ago with his wife, Monica.

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