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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New Sam’s Club should open next summer

WICHITA — When it comes to big box news, it’s hard to beat the excitement about the new Costco coming to Kellogg and Webb Road. There’s still plenty of interest, though, in the new Sam’s Club that will open not far from the northern part of NewMarket Square.

According to a spokesman for the Arkansas-based retailer, the new Sam’s will open in 136,000 square feet at the northeast corner of 29th and Maize Road next summer.

This will make the ninth Sam’s in Kansas. The new store will hire about 175 people. Sam’s and sister company Walmart have almost 20,000 employees in the state.

The new Sam’s will have a fuel center and a pharmacy.

Look for a specific opening date closer to next summer.

DSW may be coming to NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Except for maybe Pottery Barn or Anthropologie, there’s one retail request more Wichitans seem to have than most. That’s for a DSW store, and now it looks like a very real possibility that one may be coming here.

DSW, or Designer Shoe Warehouse, has almost 400 locations nationally. The cavernous stores carry women’s, men’s and children’s shoes, boots and sandals. There are some accessories, such as purses, as well.

Employees at Kansas City-area DSW stores are informing customers that a DSW is coming here, though no one with the Ohio-based company returned a call for comment.

Not all the DSW store clerks are saying where the new store is going, but there are indications it likely will be in the new addition at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road. The 12-acre area, where site work is under way, will be just north of the SuperTarget along Maize Road.

Though it sounds like a deal isn’t finalized yet, the fact that retail employees already know is a good sign. We’ll keep you posted.

Panera Bread franchisee Randy Simon working on drive-throughs

WICHITA — More than one diner has bemoaned the lack of drive-throughs at Wichita’s Panera Bread restaurants, but Randy Simon would like to change that.

The franchisee is working with neighbors and the city to add a drive-through at his Panera at 1605 N. Rock Road, which he thinks he might be able to do by February.

Panera has retrofitted about 90 of its stores with drive-throughs. The first was in Missouri several years ago, and the chain tested it for a couple of years before expanding to other Paneras.

Simon says his first drive-through retrofit was eight months ago in Independence, Mo.

“It has increased the sales and not distracted from the execution of the concept.”

He built his Derby Panera with a drive-through, but Simon now has to figure out a way to make the additions work at his other Paneras.

He’s talking with his landlord at his Panera near Central and Hillside.

“There seems to be just a little glimmer of a possibility that we could do something with that store,” Simon says. “Basically, it’s almost like creating a second restaurant.”

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Knolla’s Pizza Maize to open this fall

WICHITA — Several years after first considering a restaurant in Maize, pizza proprietors Dan and Ruth Knolla are opening a restaurant there.

“Over the last few years, it’s been built up quite a bit,” Dan Knolla says of the area. “There’s quite a bit … more traffic.”

Their Knolla’s Pizza Maize will open in late October or early November in the Hampton Lakes Retail Center at 4041 N. Maize Road.

The Knollas already have Knolla’s Pizza Cafe on West Central between Ridge Road and Tyler. Other relatives own other Knolla’s restaurants.

Several Knolla children now work for their parents’ business, and that’s the Knollas’ inspiration for a second restaurant.

Dan Knolla says he hopes to attract potential diners from the NewMarket Square and Lowe’s area closer to 21st and Maize Road.

“There’s so much that’s been built there in the last few years.”

Knolla’s will be on the south end of the 11,500-square-foot center, which Dan Knolla says has a tower on it.

“It’s a nice little design.”

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Rylee & Reece Kids Boutique and Party Place moving to Maple and Ridge Road

WICHITA — Rylee & Reece Kids Boutique and Party Place is moving – again.

When Tiffany Garner and her mother, Lynette, bought the children’s shop in early 2011, they moved it from Comotara Center on the east side to NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

Now, they’re moving to the center at the northeast corner of Maple and Ridge Road.

“We have found a bigger space,” Tiffany Garner says. “We’re able to lower our overhead. It’s just going to give us a bigger opportunity for the store.”

They now have about 2,000 square feet. The new space will have an additional 400 square feet.

“The party room is a little bit more separate,” Garner says.

About 60 percent of their business is through the party room. There will be additional themes for parties at the new space.

Garner says the party-room business has doubled from what it was on the east side.

She says the “west side loves us.”

“We’ve got a huge response from the west side.”

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Pier 1 Imports on West Kellogg to close

WICHITA — Perhaps not surprisingly, the Pier 1 Imports on West Kellogg will be closing.

A new west-side Pier 1 opened in NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize in late 2011.

“Following a routine review, Pier 1 Imports has made the decision to close the West Kellogg location in late summer 2013,” spokeswoman Jennifer Engstrand said in an e-mailed response about the closing.

She said the chain “continually reviews new and existing store locations, to make sure we’re operating as efficiently as possible.”

Engstrand says the company will try to place its employees from the West Kellogg store at other Pier 1 stores here. She said the chain cares about its shoppers, too.

“We look forward to serving them at our Wichita locations on N. Rock Road and N. Maize Road, as well as other area Pier 1 Imports stores.”

Marshalls may be narrowing its list of possible east-side sites for second store

WICHITA — It was late 2011 when Have You Heard? broke the news that Marshalls most likely would be coming to Wichita.

Since then, the Massachusetts-based discount retailer opened a Marshalls in the former Borders Books space at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

A deal to open in Regency Lakes at 21st and Greenwich didn’t work out, but local T.J. Maxx employees are telling customers that Marshalls is still looking on the east side and has narrowed its decision to two or three sites.

Parent company TJX Cos. owns Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, which is in Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock and in the Westgate Market shopping center at Kellogg and Dugan.

It looked like TJX at one point also considered opening its HomeGoods concept in Wichita, but that no longer seems like an imminent possibility. At least not as much as an east-side Marshalls.

No one at TJX is sharing details on possible Marshalls sites yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

Fidelity Bank expands at NewMarket Square

UPDATED — Fidelity Bank already has two branches at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road, but it’s expanding.

“That is one of the fastest-growing areas in the city,” says Al Sanchez, Fidelity’s senior vice president and director of marketing. “We are happy with the business results that we had out there.”

Fidelity has a branch in Walmart. It also has one in the strip center it owns in front of Walmart.

“It’s really more of a drive-up facility,” Sanchez says of the strip center location.

“We’re going to turn that into a full-service banking facility.”

Currently, that site is less than 1,000 square feet.

“When we’re done, we’ll be over 5,000 square feet out there,” Sanchez says.

There will be consumer and mortgage loan officers, a full retail staff of tellers and new account specialists and, for the first time in that area, safe deposit boxes.

The building has been mostly vacant for a while.

“There were a couple of businesses that decided to go elsewhere,” Sanchez says.

He says the bank is taking the entire center.

“It’s going to be much larger.”

WDM Architects is the architect, and Conco Construction is the contractor.

Look for the expanded branch to open this fall.

Massage Envy Spa to open at the Waterfront in May in space that Irvin Jacks is vacating

WICHITA — East Wichita no longer has a reason to be envious of west Wichita, at least when it comes to Massage Envy Spa.

The first Wichita Massage Envy opened in NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road in 2010.

Now, one is moving into the Irvin Jacks space at the Waterfront in early May.

It’s not clear what’s happening with Irvin Jacks, a “barber spa” for men. Owner Felicia DeSpain didn’t return calls for comment.

Massage Envy franchisee Amy Gilliland, who also owns the Lawrence Massage Envy, says she’d actually hoped to open on the east side first.

“There was just no place to go that we wanted to go,” she says of when she looked previously.

She says she’s excited about the 3,290 square feet that’s coming open at the Waterfront.

“I love how upscale it is. I love the aesthetic. I like the tenant mix. I like the landlords a lot. They’re really great.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Gilliland says Massage Envy is an affordable, approachable business that offers therapeutic massage and healthy skin facials.

The chain, which started in 2002, now has 854 stores.

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