Echo Hills developer Mike Loveland tells Park City chamber he’ll have “something of significance” to announce soon

WICHITA — Mike Loveland is quiet to the point of silent about his deals, and it wasn’t much different Wednesday when he agreed to speak to the Park City Chamber of Commerce about his Echo Hills project.

“You said a whole bunch of stuff without saying anything,” one attendee said to Loveland on his way out the door.

Loveland did share one little-known detail about the 80-acre project northwest of Interstate 135 and 53rd Street North in Park City.

“I was looking for a site for a nighttime golf course,” he said of how he first started looking at the land around 2000.

He said it then occurred to him what an incredible retail site it would make. Loveland says it took a while, but he closed on the land in 2010, which he says wasn’t a great time to start attracting interest.

“I wish I could have made it go faster,” he said.

“In ’12 they started talking again,” he said of potential retail tenants.

Loveland said he’d been close to a big deal for an anchor tenant.

“I‘m not saying who it was,” he said. But he added that “Cabela’s beat ’em to the punch” when it announced it would open at Regency Lakes in Wichita.

Loveland said he’s now close on another possible anchor tenant, which he thinks he has an almost 90 percent chance of landing, along with another one that he thinks is a 50-50 chance.

“Those anchors have such an effect,” he said of attracting smaller tenants.

He expects to announce “something of significance” within a month.

“We’re really close. I wish I could tell you who they are.”

Loveland said attracting major retailers to that area is a battle similar to what Derby once faced.

“You had to beg people to come down to Derby, Kansas,” he said.

That, of course, changed in a big way with retailers such as Lowe’s, Target and Kohl’s opening there.

“That’s what I’m in hopes of here in Echo Hills,” Loveland said.

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Knork Flatware expands Bed Bath & Beyond presence to 650 stores

WICHITA — Newton-based Knork Flatware has landed a deal to sell its products in 650 Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

“It’s obviously going to impact sales substantially for us,” Knork president Tom Carson says. “It’s probably our largest retail account for a box store.”

The company began working with the chain in 2008.

“Bed Bath & Beyond started as a test,” says Knork vice president of marketing Lacy Simon.

Initially, the flatware that features its signature knife and fork in one utensil — a Knork — was in only the Wichita Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

“It’s just built from there,” Simon says. “The product sold very well.”

The number grew to 200 before jumping to 650, though Carson notes there are many more Bed Bath & Beyond stores than that, and he’d like to be in all of them. Knork is on the chain’s bridal registry as well.

“That’s done very well for us, too,” Carson says.

“I like to get Knork anywhere there’s heavy bridal,” Simon says.

There are 200 Dillard’s stores that sell Knork.

“Right now, Dillard’s is exploring the opportunities to expand, and that might be a possibility for spring 2013,” Simon says. “Macy’s is looking at a test for next fall.”

Target and Kohl’s also carry Knork online but not in their stores. Simon says Knork’s extensive manufacturing process makes it more expensive than other flatware lines sold in those stores.

There are now about 50 Knork products and $2 million in annual sales for the company, which started in 2004 with one product that Wichita resident Mike Miller created.

“It was kind of gadgetry,” Carson says. “A fork that cuts like a knife.”

The issue was “just overcoming some of the consumer skeptics of the new kind of unfamiliar product,” Simon says.

“It was quite a struggle at the beginning.”

It sometimes still is.

“It is truly such an experiential product,” Simon says. She says the goal is always to put the product into someone’s hands.

“You’ve really got to put it in your hands to experience the functionality of it,” Carson says.

Starting out, Carson says the company sold direct to other businesses.

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Menards finalizes deal for Derby store

UPDATED — Menards, the Wisconsin-based home improvement chain, has finalized its deal for a store near the southwest corner of East Patriot Avenue and Buckner Street in Derby.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Grant Glasgow of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

Glasgow and colleague Jeff Englert represented North Derby Investments, which sold 46.13 acres to Menards.

Marty Gilchrist and Grant Tidemann of J.P. Weigand & Sons represented Menards

The deal, which was in the works for a couple of years, closed Sept. 28 for an undisclosed amount.

“We recently purchased 50.63 acres in Derby, KS and if everything goes as planned, we hope to build a new Menards store on this property some day,” Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott said through an e-mail. “We are still in the initial planning stages and no final decisions have been made just yet.”

The total number of acres includes a residential property Menards purchased as well.

Glasgow says he’s not sure when construction will start or when to expect the store to open.

“They weren’t able to share that with us yet.”

This makes the third Menards that will open in the greater Wichita area.

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PB&J Auction and Oddities to host first auction Saturday

WICHITA — A new auction house debuts in Wichita Saturday.

“Tomorrow’s the big day,” says Josh Ricketts.

He and Dick Challacomb are opening PB&J Auction and Oddities in Delano at 1600 W. Douglas. That’s across from the Wichita Fish Co.

“We just wanted to raise the bar a little bit and have an auction house that has more antiques … more unique and odd things where you can come in and enjoy a fun environment,” Ricketts says.

PB&J, which his 8-year-old daughter, Reagan, helped name after peanut butter and jelly, will sell new and antique furniture, early 20th-century memorabilia, medical memorabilia and antique advertising.

The company also will handle major estate sales and offer certified appraisal services.

Ricketts says PB&J also will offer consultation on antique pieces for free.

Auction previews will be every Saturday at 10 a.m. Auctions will follow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Ricketts has been a manager at Kohl’s and JCPenney for the last 15 years.

Challacomb has Dick’s Junque & Treasures at 53rd and Seneca.

Ricketts says he wants people to know PB&J is a safe and reliable auction house.

“We’re going to make sure you understand what you’re getting when you walk out the door,” he says.

The important thing, he says, is that people come in and “know it’s a friendly place.”


Kohl’s on West Kellogg to remodel

WICHITA — In February, Have You Heard? reported that it looked like the Kohl’s store at 3561 N. Rock Road would undergo extensive remodeling.

No one with Kohl’s would comment, but there was a building permit for $910,000 for that address.

Now, there’s a permit for remodeling for the same amount at 6900 W. Kellogg, which is the west-side Kohl’s address.

So far, there’s still no comment from Kohl’s.

Kohl’s on Rock Road to remodel

WICHITA — It looks like the Kohl’s store at 3561 N. Rock Road is going to undergo extensive remodeling.

Rio Grande Investment has filed a remodeling permit for $910,000 for that address.

No one with Kohl’s is commenting at this point, but a spokeswoman says she’ll tell us more when she can.

Industrial Uniform and Logo Depot to move

WICHITA — Industrial Uniform and Logo Depot are moving for the first time since 1965.

“I’m sure we’ve paid for the building about eight times, but it’s part of doing business,” says Jeff Johnson, who bought the business (it’s all one company) last fall with partner Brian Burrus.

The company manufactures and distributes workers’ garments and sells embroidered and screen-printed apparel and promotional products.

It’s been in 38,000 square feet at 906 E. Waterman.

As of Sept. 28, it will be leasing new space a half mile away at 902 E. Indianapolis in a building with not quite 20,000 square feet.

“We didn’t buy one, darn it, because I sure tried,” Johnson says.

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