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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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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Hallmark expands at NewMarketSquare

WICHITA — Hallmark is expanding its presence at NewMarket Square.

In August, the chain will go from about 3,000 square feet to about 4,800 square feet.

“We’re very excited we’re going to be able to expand and grow this location,” says Cliff Sallee, a Hallmark district manager.

“We’re going to be able to get more product lines (and) more cards in the store.”

Sallee says the remodeling that will accompany the expansion will create Hallmark’s first advanced design in Wichita. It will feature maple trim, new fixtures and updated carpeting.

“It’s our very polished … store concept that we do,” he says.

Hallmark is taking the space Personally Yours will be vacating when it expands and moves across the parking lot this summer.

April Reed of Slawson Cos. handled both deals.

Sallee expects the expansion to take less than a month. The store may have to close for about a week during that time, but then it’s back to business.

“This has been a great market up here.”


Hallmark to sell Wichitan’s greeting card nationally

WICHITA — Self-described “Hallmark junkie” Julie Conner is now an official Hallmark card creator.

As Have You Heard? reported earlier this summer, Conner is the Wichita resident who won an online Hallmark competition for a card she created.

Now, Hallmark has chosen that card to produce and sell in Walmart stores nationally.

Conner also won an additional $250, which is what she won for the online portion of the competition.

She calls it “a drop in the bucket to what they’re going to make off of it      . . . but it’s still cool.”

“For people like me who just want to have the notoriety of having written a Hallmark card . . . excitement is part of the reward.”

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Pioneer Balloon worker wins Hallmark card contest

WICHITA — Julie Conner does a lot of writing in her day job in the marketing department at Pioneer Balloon, but she may have a future as a greeting card writer, too.

Conner entered a Hallmark contest to write a caption for a birthday card. She’s one of 39 winners nationally and now has a chance to have her caption turned into an actual card.

“I’m hoping that maybe it will be one of those,” Conner says.

Even if it’s not, she’s thrilled to have won and receive $250 for basically making fun of her husband, Chris.

Conner snapped a photo of her husband on the teacup ride at Walt Disney World. His eyes were closing, which made him look as if he were about to be ill.

She used the picture with the caption: “Now that you’re older, it might be best to avoid the spinning rides. Hold on tight and have a great birthday!”

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Gessler Drug Co. to leave Normandie and open two new stores

It looks like Wal-Mart’s possible move to Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn is forcing at least one longtime business to leave earlier than planned.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, says Hal Schwarz, president of Gessler Drug Co., who hopes to open two new stores after moving out of Normandie in August.

Schwarz was manager of Gessler when it moved to Normandie in 1965.

“It wasn’t that long ago,” he says. “I still see people I saw that first year.”

But a while back, he decided to go month-to-month on his lease instead of renewing it.

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