Loft to open this fall at Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Finally, Bradley Fair can reveal the reason behind its game of musical chairs, business style.

Loft is coming to the center at 21st and Rock Road this fall.

“We have been working with them for quite some time,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

“It’s been one of our most-requested stores,” she says. “We do listen, and we do appreciate when our customers give us their … input on what stores and restaurants they would like for us to have at Bradley Fair.”

Formerly known as Ann Taylor Loft, the women’s clothing store is something of a hipper younger sister to Ann Taylor. There are 500 of the stores nationwide.

The store will locate between Talbots and Bella Luna Cafe where Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry and College Hill Cleaners are vacating.

Randy Cooper’s is moving to where Howard’s Optique used to be. Howard’s moved from its freestanding space to new space between Sephora and Jason’s Deli in the first round of moves to prepare for Loft.

College Hill Cleaners is moving to where Origins used to be.

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Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry and College Hill Cleaners to move within Bradley Fair; new national retailer coming soon

WICHITA — The latest round of musical chairs — business style — is almost over at Bradley Fair.

“The first piece of the puzzle was moving Howard’s Optique, which we did at the end of last year,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

Howard’s moved from its freestanding space to new space between Sephora and Jason’s Deli.

Now, Randy Cooper’s Fine Jewelry is moving into the freestanding building that Howard’s left. Amy’s Hallmark shop already is there.

Cooper’s impending move has been one of the worst-kept recent retail secrets, but now that it’s happening, she’s eager to talk.

“I am so thankful that George Laham has given me this opportunity,” she says of the center’s developer.

“I probably wouldn’t have stepped out on my own and done it,” Cooper says. “It just makes it so much more convenient for our customers to visit.”

Her new space will be 4,000 square feet, which is about 20 percent more than what she has now.

“So we can grow and be a better store and offer new lines and offer more of some lines that we have,” Cooper says.

College Hill Cleaners also is moving. It’s taking 1,300 square feet where Origins used to be and will have a new after-hours box for customers to drop off items needing cleaning.

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Versona Accessories opens in Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Versona Accessories opens Thursday in 7,500 square feet next to Fresh Market at Bradley Fair.

In November, Have You Heard? reported that the store would take the last of the former Ultimate Electronics space.

Versona, which is owned by North Carolina-based CATO Corp., sells jewelry, sunglasses, handbags, scarves, belts, footwear and hair accessories.

There are about a couple of dozen of the stores nationally.

Versona joins Fresh Market, Soma Intimates and Apricot Lane Boutique as new additions to Bradley Fair in the last year.

Also, Howard’s Optique relocated next to Sephora to make room for another new tenant.

This has been a much-wanted store for Bradley Fair and a certain segment of the shopping market, and shoppers won’t have to wait much longer. Keep an eye on this space in the next week or two for the news.

Versona Accessories to open next to Fresh Market at Bradley Fair in early spring

WICHITA — Fresh Market, which opened at Bradley Fair in June, is getting a new neighbor.

Versona Accessories is taking the last of the former Ultimate Electronics space.

“Versona is a store that we have been interested in for quite some time,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

“They are in other lifestyle centers similar to Bradley Fair, and we feel they’re a great complement to our existing women’s fashion mix.”

Versona, which is owned by North Carolina-based CATO Corp., sells jewelry, sunglasses, handbags, scarves, belts, footwear and hair accessories.

Currently, there are 22 of the stores nationally.

Erickson says the quality of Versona’s merchandise sets it apart from some other popular accessory stores.

Versona will open in early spring in 7,500 square feet to the west of Fresh Market and employ about 25 people.

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Howard’s Optique to move within Bradley Fair; new retailers coming soon

WICHITA — The Howard’s Optique at Bradley Fair is moving, but not far.

In December, the store will move between Sephora and Jason’s Deli, which are also in Bradley Fair.

“The relocation of Howard’s Optique will allow us to assemble approximately 4,000 square feet of space to accommodate new tenants,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president at Laham Development.

“We have a waiting list of stores and restaurants that would like to be at Bradley Fair,” she says. “They will often wait on the sidelines until we find the right space … for them.”

When Howard’s leaves its current space, that will free up about 2,000 square feet next to the former FranklinCovey store, which was also about 2,000 square feet. A new retailer or retailers will go in the approximately 4,000 square feet.

With the Howard’s move, the more than 40-year-old store is adding more accessories and gift items.

There are six Howard’s Optique stores in Wichita. The Bradley Fair store opened in 1998 and carries eyewear from such brands as Cartier, David Yurman and Robert Marc.

Look for more news soon about what retailer or retailers may be moving into Bradley Fair.

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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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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Origins at Bradley Fair closes; deal for a new tenant is close

WICHITA — The Origins store at Bradley Fair has closed.

No one with the chain’s corporate office returned calls for comment, but an employee at the Origins counter at Towne East Square says the company may have new guidelines for keeping freestanding Origins stores open.

As Sephora and other makeup and skin care chains gravitate to locations outside of department stores, it appears Origins may be going the other way.

A representative with Laham Development, the developer of Bradley Fair, says a new deal is close for the 1,400 square feet that Origins left this week.

You don’t say

“You’re going to come back for more and give me a hug.”

Liz Massey, a sales clerk at the Sephora store that opened today at Bradley Fair, after convincing a customer that she would love a particular lotion

Sephora to open May 6

WICHITA — The much-anticipated — at least in some circles — Sephora store coming to Bradley Fair will open May 6.

The 5,443-square-foot store will have more than 13,000 beauty products with more than 200 brands.

The store is between Jason’s Deli and Gymboree and will fill the remainder of the Restoration Hardware space.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily except Sundays when they’re noon to 6 p.m.

The first 100 customers to show up for the grand opening will have a chance to receive Sephora gift cards valued at up to $100.