Fred Ortiz sells six College Hill Cleaners

UPDATED — Fred Ortiz has sold all of his College Hill Cleaners stores.

“After 39 years, I thought it was just enough dry cleaning for me.”

He started in the business working for someone else in 1977 and then opened his own College Hill Cleaners in 1988.

His first store was at 4618 E. Central. At the chain’s peak, Ortiz had nine stores, seven of which were on the east side along with ones in Derby and Andover.

Even as he expanded beyond College Hill, Ortiz decided to keep that name.

“I had such a good reputation there at the central location,” he says.

Bradley Fair was an early location.

“I was the second tenant at Bradley Fair,” Ortiz says.

In the last several years, he downsized to six stores.

“The dry cleaning industry just changed tremendously,” Ortiz says.

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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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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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Connie Hamilton sells Connie’s Cookies, which is moving east and changing to Connie’s Cookies Bakery Cafe

WICHITA — Twenty four years after opening Connie’s Cookies, Connie Hamilton has sold the business, but she’s not leaving.

That’s because she’s sold it to her son, Rob Smith, and his wife, Tanya.

“Everybody asks me if I’m really sad about that, and I’m not,” Hamilton says. “I get to go back to doing what I like.”

That’s making cookies instead of handling paperwork.

“I’m still going to be every bit as present as I’ve ever been.”

Except that won’t be in the Sweetbriar shopping center at 21st and Amidon.

The Smiths and Hamilton decided to move the shop to Reed’s Cove Plaza on East 21st Street just east of 127th Street where Knolla’s Pizza used to be.

“We have no visibility over here, and things have changed,” Hamilton says of the current location. “When we first moved in here, we didn’t need visibility.”

Though holiday sales still are strong, Hamilton says the rest of the year has become more of a challenge.

“Nowadays, everybody is opening a bakery,” she says. She says many bakers operate out of their homes.

“It has really, really eaten into our everyday sales,” she says. “We had to look at what’s wrong, and we decided what was wrong was where we were located.”

She and the Smiths initially only considered moving downtown or to Delano.

“We had every intention of staying central,” Hamilton says.

Then Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, who handled the deal for the Reed’s Cove space, suggested that center.

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