Marshalls may be narrowing its list of possible east-side sites for second store

WICHITA — It was late 2011 when Have You Heard? broke the news that Marshalls most likely would be coming to Wichita.

Since then, the Massachusetts-based discount retailer opened a Marshalls in the former Borders Books space at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

A deal to open in Regency Lakes at 21st and Greenwich didn’t work out, but local T.J. Maxx employees are telling customers that Marshalls is still looking on the east side and has narrowed its decision to two or three sites.

Parent company TJX Cos. owns Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, which is in Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock and in the Westgate Market shopping center at Kellogg and Dugan.

It looked like TJX at one point also considered opening its HomeGoods concept in Wichita, but that no longer seems like an imminent possibility. At least not as much as an east-side Marshalls.

No one at TJX is sharing details on possible Marshalls sites yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

Marshalls may open in east, west Wichita

UPDATED — With any luck, by this time next year, shoppers in east and west Wichita will have two new Marshalls stores to shop at.

It looks like the Massachusetts-based retailer is working on two possible deals here.

Parent company TJX Cos. owns Marshalls and sister store T.J. Maxx, which is in Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock and in the Westgate shopping center at Kellogg and Dugan.

Marshalls is similar to T.J. Maxx. Marshalls is known for carrying designer clothing and homeware at discount prices — “never pay full price for fabulous” is the current tagline — though shoppers often have to wade through merchandise to find those deals.

No one with TJX returned calls for comment, and no one else involved in the deals is talking.

Sources, though, say here’s what’s in the works:

On the west side, Marshalls is considering locating at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize. The former Borders Books space is the likely new home.

On the east side, the retailer is negotiating at Regency Lakes at 21st and Greenwich.

There’s about 50,000 square feet between World Market and where the new Cabela’s is going to open in 2012.

One retailer could take the entire space or it could be divided.

There’s also a pad site available in front of Cabela’s.

Landmark Commercial Real Estate is marketing the project.

It looked like TJX’s HomeGoods concept was briefly considered for Regency Lakes, but it sounds like that’s now off the table.

This isn’t the first time Marshalls has appeared close to a deal here, so there’s still a chance it may not happen.

We’ll let you know.

New Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage store comes full circle with its Wichita roots

WICHITA — The new Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has a Wichita connection dating to the 1800s, but even co-president Kemper Isely wasn’t fully aware of it until the Colorado chain started preparing to open here.

The store opens the day before Thanksgiving in the former Borders Books space at 1715 N. Rock Road.

Isely’s parents, Philip and Margaret Isely, started the chain as a regional grocery in 1955. Philip Isely is a Montezuma, Kan., native. Kemper Isely knew that, but he didn’t realize his great uncle William Henry Isely’s importance to Wichita State University.

At the April 1973 dedication of Isely Lane at WSU, then-president Clark Ahlberg praised Isely and Nathan Morrison, who was president of Fairmount Institute, which became Fairmount College – the forerunner of WSU.

“Were it not for Dean Isely and for his colleague, President Morrison, who came in the following year, we might not now be enjoying this beautiful campus with its enduring and encompassing educational advantages and facilities,” Ahlberg said, according to a transcript of his speech.

Henry Isely

The transcript says Isely began his career at Fairmount in 1894 as a history and political science teacher. He became principal within a month.

“The story is told that immediately following his arrival in Wichita with his wife and youngster, Merrill, he heard that Fairmount Institute … was to be closed,” Ahlberg said. “With Merrill in his arms, he pleaded with the trustees to preserve Fairmount.”

Ahlberg said Isely was “the stabilizing force and the academic leader at the college.”

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Hey, what’s going on there . . . ?

UPDATED — There are several pockets of activity that have readers wondering what’s going on. Here’s an update — or, in some cases, a reminder.

– There’s more construction happening near where the new LongHorn Steakhouse has been built in front of the Lowe’s near 29th and Maize, but it’s not for another restaurant or shop.

It’s simply an extra parking lot behind the steak house, which will be opening soon.

– Colorado-based Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage is close to opening in the former Borders Books space at 1715 N. Rock Road.

The grocery will open Nov. 23. The chain’s first Kansas store opened Nov. 11, 2010, in Lawrence.

The store sells organic produce, gluten-free products and offers nutritional education and counseling.

What shoppers won’t find is anything with high-fructose corn syrup, sugar substitutes or hydrogenated oils, among other things, which — as a spokeswoman puts it— makes studying labels a little easier.

Right at Home, which offers in-home care and assistance, has moved just down from where it’s been in the shopping center on the northwest corner of 21st and Ridge.

The business this week moved into the former Ruthie’s Hallmark space, which offers more room.

– Finally, except for Chick-fil-A questions, the most popular question we’ve heard lately is, “What’s that building by the McDonald’s at 21st and Rock?”

Laham Development is building a new retail center at Tallgrass Plaza, which is at the northeast corner of 21st and Rock Road where a BP filling station used to be.

Vitamin Shoppe is the first announced tenant for the 6,200-square-foot center. Look for an announcement on the second tenant soon.

Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage will be a full-scale grocery store with a deli

UPDATED — The new Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage that’s coming to the former Borders Books space at 1715 N. Rock Road will be a complete grocery store in addition to a vitamin shop.

“A great many of our customers do just that — they only shop for groceries at our stores,” says co-president Kemper Isely.

“We offer our products at everyday affordable pricing.”

The Denver-area family business started in 1955. When it opens here Dec. 13, the Wichita store will be the company’s 51st.

The chain used to be called Vitamin Cottage.

“Since we sell more groceries, we changed our name,” Isely says.

He says the company sells only 100 percent organically grown produce and fresh and frozen meat that is hormone and antibiotic free. Also, he says, there’s a line of frozen natural foods in addition to 100 percent organic produce and bulk items.

“We do it a little bit differently,” Isely says of the bulk items.

They’re prepackage to avoid contamination, he says.

“We also refrigerate all our nuts and seeds and flours that can go rancid.”

The store will be 24,000 square feet. About 1,500 of that will be for a seminar room, which Isely says nonprofits can use for free.

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Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage coming to the former Borders Books space

UPDATED — Colorado-based Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has signed a 10-year lease for the former Borders Books space at 1715 N. Rock Road.

The chain, which is in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, has been in business since 1955. It has new stores coming to Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Scott Harper of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal locally.

Look for more information soon.