JC Penney’s Wichita stores are ‘operating with fewer layers of management’

WICHITA — A source says there were layoffs at both JC Penney stores in Wichita Monday and that it appears to be mostly managers who were affected.

The Plano, Texas-based company will confirm only that it is “operating with fewer layers of management.”

“We are unable to provide specific details on how the restructuring impacts jcpenney stores on a local level,” wrote spokeswoman Sarah Holland in an e-mail.

The company has stores at Towne East Square and Towne West Square.

“The Company’s new approach to pricing, promotion, merchandising and the customer experience has simplified our business and removed a lot of the process-oriented work that was previously required,” Holland wrote.

“These changes are essential to helping us achieve our long-term goals. Over time, we expect that the likelihood for new and more enriched job opportunities will develop as our business grows. We would not have moved forward with these difficult decisions if we did not believe it was absolutely necessary for the future growth of our Company.”

Beau Monde Spa and Boutique to expand at Comotara Center

WICHITA — Michele Wheeler began contemplating expanding her Beau Monde Spa and Boutique at Comotara Center more than a year ago.

With the entry of six new national competitors in the market, though, she figured she better wait before she made the investment.

She’s not waiting anymore.

“I just decided that it was the right time,” Wheeler says.

She’s adding 2,000 more square feet to her almost 6,000-square-foot space at the center at 29th and Rock Road. That’s where Eccentricity was before moving to part of the former Olive Tree Bistro space.

“I knew we had a great clientele,” Wheeler says.

Still, it was daunting when a new Sephora opened at Bradley Fair and two more opened within JC Penney stores. There also are two new Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance stores, which are at NewMarket Square and Eastgate Plaza, and a Bare Escentuals at Towne East Square.

“I had to wait kind of wait and see what was going to happen,” Wheeler says. “We just had to stay true to our game and let everybody go check it out.”

She thinks Beau Monde has continued to do well in part because customers have “gotten behind that ‘shop local.’”

Also, she says, “It’s a little more personal attention when you come in here.”

In addition to the spa, Beau Monde offers makeup and skincare products.

Wheeler was prompted to finally take the extra space for a couple of reasons.

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Bare Escentuals is the lastest beauty-supply store on its way to Wichita

WICHITA — It’s apparently going to be a beautiful year in Wichita.

Bare Escentuals is the third new beauty-supply store on its way to Wichita.

In late December, Bradley Fair announced Sephora is coming to its shopping center this spring.

Last week, Eastgate Plaza announced Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance is coming to the center at Kellogg and Rock in early summer.

Bare Escentuals, which Have You Heard? first reported was eyeing the market last summer, will open in Towne East Square in March.

“It’s a very cultlike cosmetic company,” says David Friedman, a real estate consultant to Bare Escentuals.

“Women are really into it.”

The company sells skin-care products as well, but it’s best known for its bareMinerals line of makeup.

“Oh, my god,” Friedman says. “It’s so popular.”

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You don’t say

“Boy, everyone around here seems to think you’ve got a lot of management potential. Do you know what that means? It means you haven’t done a damn thing yet.”

Sheplers CEO Bob Myers, quoted in a story on SmartBrief.com, about a JC Penney district manager’s talk with him from 20 years ago

Noodles & Co. coming to Towne East Square

WICHITA — The Colorado-based Noodles & Co. chain has signed a deal for a second Wichita restaurant, this time at Towne East Square.

“We just got it signed,” says Angel Rogers, Towne East’s director of marketing and business development.

The first Noodles will open in December at 3300 N. Rock Road across from Subway.

The Towne East Noodles, which will open in March, will locate in the former Elementz space on the southeast end of the mall. It will be at a mall entrance between Von Maur and JC Penney.

Since it will have an external entrance, the 4,813-square-foot restaurant also will have a patio.

The chain sells all kinds of noodle dishes including the more exotic, such as Pad Thai, to the more everyday dishes, such as mac and cheese.

Small noodle bowls are $4.25. Regular-size bowls are $5.25. Protein costs $2.25 more, and there are 14 fresh vegetables from which to choose.

There also are soups and salads.

Noodles has about 250 restaurants nationally and is rapidly expanding.

We’ll keep you posted on more possible Wichita sites, including potential west-side Noodles locations.

Cheap-O Depot to open in Delano

WICHITA — More people than not are looking for bargains these days, and Ron and Ellen Bailey think they have some to offer.

They’re opening Cheap-O Depot in 2,100 square feet at Maple and Meridian in Delano.

They’ll sell discontinued items, overstocks and store returns from places like Wal-Mart, Kmart and JC Penney.

“We go through a reclamation company,” Ron Bailey says.

That could result in a range of items as varied as tools, toys and bedding.

Ron Bailey used to be a dairy manager for Dillons. He says he wanted his own business because he’s “just tired of working for corporate America.”

Ellen Bailey used to have the Dig This garden boutique in Delano.

The Baileys plan to open Cheap-O Depot June 1.

‘Til We Meet Again custom casket store to open at Towne West Square


WICHITA — Nathan Smith wants to talk about his new store, but first he has a few questions.

“Are you ready?” he says of the new business at Towne West Square.

“Are you sure you’re ready? Is Wichita ready?”

His business, ’Til We Meet Again, will sell custom caskets and urns.

“It’s very specialized, very unique,” Smith says. “You can personalize it however you want.”

That could be with such things as a college-themed casket or one decorated with motorcycle memorabilia. There’s a whole service-oriented line, such as for firemen and members of the military.

The business is a switch for Smith, who has been a sales-and-marketing consultant across the country for the last 16 years.

“I was tired of the travel and tired of relocating my family,” he says.

He’s long had the idea for this company.

“I drew my first custom casket in a meeting — a very boring meeting, obviously.”

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Shesha Tobacco Shop to open Tuesday at Towne West Square

WICHITA — A new tobacco shop is opening in Towne West Square Tuesday.

Mary and Maher Gerges are opening Shesha Tobacco Shop near JC Penney.

“My husband’s just always wanted a place over there,” Gerges says.

She says their small space is where another tobacco shop was a few years back.

“He just decided that would be the perfect place for it.”

They’ll sell a variety of tobacco, including cigars and tobacco for hookah water pipes.

There will be a few odds-and-ends items, too, like mints, gum and incense.