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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Fresh Market at Bradley Fair to open this summer

WICHITA — Construction on the new Fresh Market grocery coming to Bradley Fair is “well under way,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president of Laham Development.

There’s still no opening date, but Erickson says it will be this summer.

The North Carolina-based chain is going in part of the former Ultimate Electronics space.

Erickson says Wichitans don’t know what to expect with the upscale grocery.

“It’s like this big present that is coming, and they get to open it and enjoy it, and they really don’t have any idea how great it is.”


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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Fresh Market to open in former Ultimate Electronics space at Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Wichitans have long wanted a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s, but the city instead is likely getting a grocery store many people didn’t even know to wish for.

No one with Fresh Market is commenting yet, but it looks like the Greensboro, N.C.-based grocery chain will be opening in the former Ultimate Electronics space at Bradley Fair next year.

Ray and Beverly Berry started the company, which is now publicly traded, in Greensboro in 1982. According to Fresh Market’s website, the store was “the fulfillment of a dream” to recreate the feeling of European open-air markets.

“The small store with loose produce, vitamins, bulk foods and freshly roasted coffee in bins stood in stark contrast to conventional grocery stores at the time where foods had increasingly become industrialized and the stores bigger and sterile,” the site says.

Today, the chain has about 120 stores open or in the process of opening. The heaviest concentration of stores is in the southeast. The closest to Wichita looks to be the Fresh Market in Little Rock. Wichita’s store appears to be the farthest west the chain will have come yet.

These days, customers can sip coffee samples and listen to classical music as they peruse Fresh Market, which is substantially smaller than the average grocery store yet still seems to have a large collection of groceries from which to choose.

There’s an always-on-call meat department that’s reminiscent of an old-style butcher shop, which features sometimes hard-to-find cuts of meat. There’s a seafood department that receives up to six shipments a week.

Bulk food items include dried fruit, granola, more than 40 snack mixes and as many as 30 types of nuts.

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Ultimate Electronics to close for remodeling

WICHITA — Ultimate Electronics at Bradley Fair is about to undergo remodeling that’s so extensive, the store will have to close until about late July.

“We’re closing for a complete remodel,” says general manager Rob Robinson. “It’s going to be from ceiling to floor.”

To prepare for the space to be gutted, Robinson says, “We are shipping every single piece of everything out of the store.”

Sunday is the store’s last day in business until the remodeling is complete.

Along with typical electronics sales, Robinson is selling all the display stands in the store in preparation for the remodeling.

When the store reopens, it will offer expanded merchandise beyond its usual televisions, sound systems and appliances.

There also will be computers, software, electronic games and pool tables.

“What the owner is looking to do is to become actually a home stop,” Robinson says.

That’s going to necessitate a name change, he says.

“Instead of being Ultimate Electronics, I believe the name at some point is going to be Ultimate.”

The goal is to be reopen by the end of July, but it may take until early August. Robinson says he’ll let us know.