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.

Read More »

Trader Joe’s in downtown Wichita? Cindy Claycomb is working on it

cindyclaycomb.jpgUPDATED — In The Eagle’s recent survey of what restaurants and retail stores Wichitans would like to see here, Trader Joe’s ranked No. 8.

A spokeswoman for the upscale grocery chain said, “Although Wichita isn’t in our two-year plan at this time, it is such an honor to be wanted.”

That’s not good enough for Cindy Claycomb.

The Old Town resident and Wichita State University marketing professor has started a Facebook campaign to try to sway the store to come here.

“A Trader Joe’s in downtown Wichita would be ideal,” Claycomb says.

While it may be dreaming to think a Trader Joe’s could come here, is it just plain nuts to think one might come downtown?

“If you put it downtown, it solves two problems,” Claycomb says.

First, it gives downtown a full-scale grocery.

“We don’t have enough residents right now to support a grocery,” Claycomb says.

Second, she says, a Trader Joe’s on the east or west sides of Wichita might tend to attract people only from those areas.

Read More »

What businesses do you want in Wichita? We’d like to know . . .

WICHITA — There are two business questions readers seem to ask more than any others.

When is Wichita getting a Cheesecake Factory?

Why don’t we have a Costco?

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods make popular topics as well.

Why aren’t they here? Are they coming?

Same with Pottery Barn. Steak ‘n Shake. Crate & Barrel. Joe’s Crab Shack. Bass Pro. Macy’s. IKEA. Whataburger.

The list goes on.

We’d like to know what’s on your list. Is there a restaurant or retail business you’d love to have here and wonder if there’s a chance it will come?

Let us know at whatwewant@wichitaeagle.com, and we’ll try and find out.

We’ll be printing what we learn in a couple of weeks.

With any luck, perhaps we can convince a few favorites that Wichita could indeed support them.