Cato apparel and accessory shop to open in Wichita and have as many as three stores

WICHITA — Cato, an apparel and accessory shop for women and girls, is coming to Wichita with what looks like will be three stores.

So far, the North Carolina-based chain is confirming only one Cato, which is going in the former Senor Tequila space at Pawnee and Broadway.

There currently are Catos in Derby, Newton and El Dorado.

The Pawnee and Broadway Cato, which will open in November, will be Wichita’s first. Leisa Lowry and Cristi Howell of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

Cato Corp. also owns Versona Accessories, which opened in this spring at Bradley Fair.

Expanded, remodeled Amy’s Hallmark to reopen on Saturday

WICHIA — Amy’s Hallmark, which has been closed since Tuesday, is celebrating its grand reopening at Bradley Fair on Saturday with additional space and lots of new merchandise.

“The whole inside of our store is completely redone,” says store manager Matt Bikus.

The store has expanded from about 3,500 square feet to 4,200 square feet. Bikus says Hallmark is taking part of the former Franklin Covey space. Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry took the rest of it.

“We knocked an entire wall down to expand the store,” Bikus says. “We’ve got some awesome new card lines and awesome new gifts.”

He says the store has doubled its stationery line.

“Stationery is a big one for us.”

Bikus says there’s a 25 percent increase in cards, too.

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Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry, College Hill Cleaners open in new Bradley Fair stores

WICHITA — Two of Bradley Fair’s original tenants, Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry and College Hill Cleaners, are now open in their new homes at the east-side development.

They moved to make room for Loft, formerly known as Ann Taylor Loft, which is now under construction.

When the jewelry store and cleaners opened at Bradley Fair in 1990, they were in the original 28,000-square-foot building there. Now, the development has a large mix of local and national tenants in 280,000 square feet.

College Hill Cleaners owner Fred Ortiz says his new store, which is between Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza and Sami Halaseh Salon, is “absolutely beautiful.”

He says its granite counters, tile floors and 24-hour drop box make it his best store yet.

“Without a doubt.”

Randy Cooper’s is now in a larger space next to Amy’s Hallmark, which also is remodeling and expanding.

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Loft to open this fall at Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Finally, Bradley Fair can reveal the reason behind its game of musical chairs, business style.

Loft is coming to the center at 21st and Rock Road this fall.

“We have been working with them for quite some time,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

“It’s been one of our most-requested stores,” she says. “We do listen, and we do appreciate when our customers give us their … input on what stores and restaurants they would like for us to have at Bradley Fair.”

Formerly known as Ann Taylor Loft, the women’s clothing store is something of a hipper younger sister to Ann Taylor. There are 500 of the stores nationwide.

The store will locate between Talbots and Bella Luna Cafe where Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry and College Hill Cleaners are vacating.

Randy Cooper’s is moving to where Howard’s Optique used to be. Howard’s moved from its freestanding space to new space between Sephora and Jason’s Deli in the first round of moves to prepare for Loft.

College Hill Cleaners is moving to where Origins used to be.

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Beth Tully to open second Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates in Overland Park

UPDATED — Beth Tully is taking her second step toward what she perhaps only half jokingly calls world domination.

The Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates founder is opening her second store, this time in Overland Park’s Prairiefire development on West 135th Street between Nall and Lamar avenues.

“We’re going to think of Wichita as the hub and that this is the first spoke in the wheel,” Tully says.

Yes, that means she’s already thinking of other potential regional stores, though none is in the works yet.

“I think you only double the complexity of a business once, and this is it,” Tully says.

The idea, she says, is to create a template that can be reproduced.

“We’re basically going to do kind of a tweaked version of our lounge here,” Tully says of her Bradley Fair store.

Tully and her husband, Jay, opened their Wichita store in 2005 in Siena Plaza at 37th and Rock Road and then moved to Bradley Fair in 2009.

Tully says she has long thought about a second store.

“The honest truth is probably in our first year of business, way when I shouldn’t have been have been thinking of having a second location,” she says.

She knew that “as a really baby business” she couldn’t realistically do a second store then.

“We’re kind of a sophomore business now,” Tully says. “We’ve finally gotten over the hump.”

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Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry and College Hill Cleaners to move within Bradley Fair; new national retailer coming soon

WICHITA — The latest round of musical chairs — business style — is almost over at Bradley Fair.

“The first piece of the puzzle was moving Howard’s Optique, which we did at the end of last year,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

Howard’s moved from its freestanding space to new space between Sephora and Jason’s Deli.

Now, Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry is moving into the freestanding building that Howard’s left. Amy’s Hallmark shop already is there.

Cooper’s impending move has been one of the worst-kept recent retail secrets, but now that it’s happening, she’s eager to talk.

“I am so thankful that George Laham has given me this opportunity,” she says of the center’s developer.

“I probably wouldn’t have stepped out on my own and done it,” Cooper says. “It just makes it so much more convenient for our customers to visit.”

Her new space will be 4,000 square feet, which is about 20 percent more than what she has now.

“So we can grow and be a better store and offer new lines and offer more of some lines that we have,” Cooper says.

College Hill Cleaners also is moving. It’s taking 1,300 square feet where Origins used to be and will have a new after-hours box for customers to drop off items needing cleaning.

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Versona Accessories opens in Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Versona Accessories opens Thursday in 7,500 square feet next to Fresh Market at Bradley Fair.

In November, Have You Heard? reported that the store would take the last of the former Ultimate Electronics space.

Versona, which is owned by North Carolina-based CATO Corp., sells jewelry, sunglasses, handbags, scarves, belts, footwear and hair accessories.

There are about a couple of dozen of the stores nationally.

Versona joins Fresh Market, Soma Intimates and Apricot Lane Boutique as new additions to Bradley Fair in the last year.

Also, Howard’s Optique relocated next to Sephora to make room for another new tenant.

This has been a much-wanted store for Bradley Fair and a certain segment of the shopping market, and shoppers won’t have to wait much longer. Keep an eye on this space in the next week or two for the news.

Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates expanding into its first nonchocolate line: macarons

Pastry chef Kelly Peterson prepares a pan of macarons for baking.

WICHITA — If Beth Tully’s Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates was in Europe instead of Kansas, she likely would already be selling macarons.

Tully calls the French pastry a “classic European chocolatier product,” and she’s going to add it to her Bradley Fair store beginning Wednesday.

“I’m always trying to figure out what we can do in that space to make it more interesting,” Tully says.

It’s her first foray into a nonchocolate offering.

“They’re really different than most pastries,” Tully says.

She’s hired pastry chef Kelly Peterson, who used to have Velvet Cream Bakery, to help her create the macarons.

“I’m mainly the taster,” Tully says.

Peterson says macarons, which are pronounced with a long ‘o,’ have a silent “s” and are not to be confused with macaroons, are particularly tricky to make.

She says everything is mixed by hand, and a chef must be careful not to mix the meringue too long or hold the pastry bag at the wrong angle or the macarons don’t turn out correctly. The oven temperature and the amount of time the pastries sit before going into the oven must be exact as well.

Tully says she’s been seeing the pastries at specialty food shows for several years and been intrigued.

“I said, ‘Oh, my god, I’ll have to do these.’”

Then she heard how difficult they are to make.

“It’s like, ‘Bring it on, and let’s try it and see.’”

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Apricot Lane Boutique opens Thursday at Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Murphy’s law has ruled in the days leading up to the Thursday opening of Apricot Lane Boutique at Bradley Fair.

“It’s kind of weird since we’re the Murphys,” says Kami Murphy, laughing.

All is fine at the new shop, though.

“It’s OK, we’ll open,” Murphy says of herself and her husband, Mark.

“We call ourselves a mother-daughter boutique,” she says.

She envisions college-age women and their mothers shopping there, but she says, “There’s always something for everyone.”

Murphy says she welcomes everyone, including moms with strollers.

The store sells name-brand denim, fashion tops, jewelry, shoes and handbags. It also has some gift items, such as candles.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates forges new local relationships for ingredient sourcing

WICHITA – Beth Tully plans to hit a trifecta this year, and she’s already made good on her first bet.

The owner of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates has long wanted to forge more local relationships to source products and ingredients for her Bradley Fair store. She’s now accomplished that in a couple of ways.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture asked for her help with something and in return asked if she needed help with anything.

“I said, ‘Find me a … Kansas dairy that I can get fresh cream from.’”

The department suggested Hildebrand Farms Dairy, which is a family dairy farm near Junction City that Tully has enjoyed milk from in recent years.

“It had never dawned on me to even talk to them,” she says. “We buy their milk all the time because I love their glass bottles.”

Then she tried Hildebrand Farms’ cream, which she says “is unbelievable.”

“And it’s a great story,” Tully says. “It’s another cool Kansas business.”

She says she hopes to make the cream the exclusive cream she uses in her products.

“I felt really kind of dumb, honestly, that it had taken me that long to figure out they make something other than skim and whole milk. I never even connected on that,” she says. “The relationship has been great.”

When Tully lost her coffee roaster connection, she found Topeka’s PT’s Coffee Roasting Co.

“They are unbelievable,” she says. “Their coffee is amazing.”

She says there are more than 100 varieties, and the coffee bags contain guides with flavor profiles and information about what beans were used and when they were roasted.

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