Bradley Fair and Fresh Market confirm the grocery store is coming in 2012

UPDATED — Bradley Fair developer George Laham now confirms what Have You Heard? reported last month:

The Fresh Market grocery chain is coming to the former Ultimate Electronics space in 2012.

“The shopping center is just a perfect fit for our concept,” says Drewry Sackett, Fresh Market’s manager of public relations and community relations.

Laham, president of Laham Development, began looking for a specialty grocery store to bring to Wichita even before Ultimate Electronics closed.

In recent years, Wichitans have been hoping for a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

“After looking at the Fresh Market, this was the clear choice,” Laham says.

“The only reason they’re not saying, ‘We want Fresh Market,’ is because they don’t know it,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

The Greensboro, N.C.-based chain has about 110 stores either open or opening soon, and this one will be the farthest west.

Sackett calls Wichita “a really solid Midwestern market that supports our growth into that region of the country.”

The chain is heavily concentrated in the southeast, which Laham says is why most Wichitans aren’t familiar with it.

Laham says as he began looking for a specialty grocery store, he looked throughout the industry before choosing Fresh Market.

“They are clearly a market leader,” he says.

Sackett says, “Our stores are a little bit different, certainly, than a traditional grocery store.”

She says the store is a warmer, more intimate atmosphere with classical music playing, freshly brewed coffee awaiting customers and floral arrangements greeting them at the door.

“You can see across the entire store, and that really sort of lends to that feeling of a more intimate setting,” Sackett says.

“It’s very much a European market,” Laham says. “It’s like being in Italy at an open-air market.”

The 22,000-square-foot space will be fairly compact to navigate.

“That’s kind of the beauty of it,” Erickson says.

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Southeast corner of Central and Oliver ready for development, including a restaurant

WICHITA — It’s been a long time coming, but developer Christian Ablah has acquired an entire city block on the south side of Central near Oliver and is preparing the property for development.

“I’m just basically preparing this for future development,” says Ablah, a broker with his family’s Classic Real Estate.

“I’m just trying to clean up the area,” he says. “The project’s taken a lot longer than I thought it ever would.”

Ablah is close to a deal with a restaurant that would go in the former Dillons store on the southeast corner of the intersection.

There’s talk that it could be a certain Mexican restaurant looking to expand.

“I can’t do the guessing game, but I can tell you it is a sit-down restaurant,” Ablah says.

Part of his demolition of nearby duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes is to make room for parking for the restaurant.

“All the demolition will be complete in a couple of weeks,” Ablah says.

He says any new development will complement what Nathan Toubia is doing with his Bocconcini Italian Eatery next to the former Dillons.

Ablah hopes to close on the restaurant deal in a couple of weeks, but he’s working on other leases as well.

“There’s a lot of demand right now for office — large office space — as well as retail,” Ablah says.

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Ageless Medspa to open in former Healing Waters space

UPDATED — Medical aesthetician Lynne Silver is opening a new medical spa in part of the former Healing Waters space next to Il Vicino on East Douglas.

“It’s kind of a branded place,” Silver says. “It was already set up for someone to go in there.”

Ageless Medspa will have 1,850 square feet, which is less than what Healing Waters had.

Healing Waters is now at Bradley Fair.

“We’re focusing more on the lasers and aggressive skin care,” Silver says.

She won’t offer massages, though she will have what she calls a signature facial.

The medical spa will specialize in laser rejuvenation.

Silver, who formerly worked at Spa Md at Innovative Vein, has hired her former coworker there, Kasia Matthews, to be her laser technician.

“We’re very lucky to have her.”

In addition to laser rejuvenation, Silver will offer laser hair removal, Botox and derma fillers, chemical peels and microdermabrasion via a hydra facial.

Silver plans to open in about three weeks and be fully operational by the end of June.

Initially, she looked at opening on the east side but decided against it.

“There are seven med spas in a one-mile radius,” Silver says. “Midtown really is pretty wide open.”

Also, she says, “The College Hill people are really loyal to their area. That’s another big reason we chose to go there.”

Brian Riordan steering Riordan Clinic to financial health

riordanWICHITA — The founders of the new Vis Clinic told Have You Heard? last week that they left Riordan Clinic (the former Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International) in part because of an increased focus on business and a decreased emphasis on patient care.

CEO Brian Riordan, son of the late clinic founder Hugh Riordan, wasn’t immediately available for comment Friday but is now.

Patient care has “always been a focus, and we’ve never done anything to diminish that or sacrifice it,” Riordan says. “In fact, it’s improving.”

He is, though, paying “more attention to nickels and dimes.”

Without that, Riordan says, the clinic would cease to exist.

“We have reserves, but the operating loss is substantial,” he says.

Riordan won’t discuss specific numbers, but since he took over in January, he says, the clinic is “much, much improved” financially.

“We had a huge loss in 2009. We’ll have a much smaller loss in 2010.”

By next year, Riordan thinks the clinic will no longer be losing money, “which is kind of a miraculous recovery from 2009.”

One step toward financial wellness was to convert the clinic’s restaurant to a smoothie bar, which has been an unpopular move with some.

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Five former Riordan Clinic employees to start Vis Clinic

Chad Krier and Rebecca Kirby of Vis Clinic.

Chad Krier and Rebecca Kirby of Vis Clinic.

WICHITA — Five employees of Riordan Clinic (formerly known as the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International) have left to form their own clinic.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of what we were doing before,” says Jan Revard, a biochemist who handled marketing and public relations for Riordan.

The new business, which will open in a couple of weeks, is Vis Clinic.

“Vis is the healing power of nature,” Revard says.

The clinic will open in 3,600 square feet of a building south of Il Vicino and Gessler Drug Co. near Douglas and Oliver.

It will have two doctors: Rebecca Kirby, a family practice doctor and registered dietitian, and Chad Krier, a naturopathic physician and chiropractor.

Registered nurses Marsha McCray and Michelle Swift also left Riordan to form the new clinic.

Revard and Angela Krier, Chad Krier’s wife, will handle marketing and PR as well as the office and reception at the new clinic.

“It’s going to be a nutritionally based clinic,” Revard says.

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Office Park Plaza to locate at former Allegiant GMAC Real Estate building

WICHITA — After sitting empty since late 2008, the red brick Colonial-style building near Douglas and Oliver has a new owner.

Contractors Christian Shomberg and Mark Eggel have bought the building at 4601 E. Douglas, where Allegiant GMAC Real Estate used to be and Associated was before that.

The two plan Office Park Plaza, which Shomberg describes as similar to Max Cole’s Office This on East Harry.

They plan to lease office spaces, which will come with desks, phones and computers, on a month-to-month basis.

“The idea is kind of staging an office,” says Shomberg, who owns other commercial and residential properties.

Shomberg also is a national contractor who paints Pizza Huts.

Eggel has M.L. Eggel Construction.

Shomberg says since the economy began struggling, he’s found that it’s easier to lease space that’s already furnished.

“This I’m taking to the next level to having everything provided,” he says.

The 12,000-square-foot building has two stories and a basement that will all be for lease.

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Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market most likely not coming to Normandie Center

WICHITA — It looks like the potential deal for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at Normandie Center is off.

Debbie McNeal of RP Realty Partners says she has no idea what’s going on with Wal-Mart, but she’s trying to find new tenants for the Star Lumber and Whole Foods spaces.

That’s “because the owners told me to go ahead.”

Whole Foods is moving to the former Gessler Drug Co. space to make room for Wal-Mart.

Gessler had planned on moving anyway, but its time line was moved up due to Wal-Mart. It’s now where AAA Kansas used to be next to Il Vicino near Douglas and Oliver.

McNeal has 32,000 square feet to lease where Whole Foods is vacating and Star Lumber used to be.

She has another 4,000 square feet where YB Meats once was. And she has some office space north of the former Star Lumber building as well.

The only certain Neighborhood Market for Wichita so far is at Central and Maize.

Gessler Drug Co. to relocate from Normandie Center to Lincoln Heights Village area

gessleraugWICHITA — Gessler Drug Co. is heading home.

So says Hal Schwarz, who is relocating the store from Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn to where AAA Kansas used to be next to Il Vicino near Douglas and Oliver.

That’s one corner over from where Gessler first opened in Wichita in 1938. Watermark Books & Cafe is there today.

Schwarz says Gessler was one of the original anchor tenants in what became Lincoln Heights Village in 1949.

When he recently was looking for new space, Schwarz says the 4,300-square-foot location he found “just stood out far and above anything else we had seen.”

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