Old RV no longer parked at Wal-Mart

After a year of looking at this camper, shoppers at the 13th and Oliver Wal-Mart won't have to see it anymore.

After a year of looking at this camper, shoppers at the 13th and Oliver Wal-Mart won’t have to see it anymore.

WICHITA — Ah, the power of the press. It may be even bigger than Wal-Mart.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Have You Heard? reported on an old RV that management at the Wal-Mart at 13th and Oliver has been unsuccessful moving for almost the entire year the store has been open.

“Man, that would be a perfect little travelin’ trailer,” says Wichita resident Kelvin McClish.

So he went to see the store’s manager on Thursday, but the camper already was gone.

“I guess it just took putting it in the paper,” McClish says.

It appears that’s the case.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Betsy Harden says management had been trying to find someone to tow the camper with no luck.

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You don’t say

Wal-Mart may want this RV to disappear from in front of its store near 13th and Oliver, but note how the camper's colors match the store's.

Wal-Mart may want this RV to disappear from in front of its store near 13th and Oliver, but note how the camper’s colors match the store’s.

“They would love to have that camper gone.”

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Betsy Harden on an old RV, which management has had no luck getting rid of, that’s been parked for about a year in front of the chain’s store at 13th and Oliver

Wink Hartman Sr. and Hartmoor Investments sue Casey Bachrodt over Gardner land

WICHITA — Wink Hartman Sr. and his Hartmoor Investments have sued Casey Bachrodt over land they purchased together in a retail area in front of the Walmart in Gardner.

According to the suit, which was filed in Sedgwick County District Court, the two formed BRIC Gardner in 2008. The entity borrowed $1.95 million from Security Savings Bank, which the suit says Hartman and Bachrodt personally guaranteed.

The suit says that “BRIC Gardner was not an income producing enterprise,” so Hartman, through Hartmoor Investments, and Bachrodt made capital contributions to BRIC to pay the loan.

The suit says that beginning in August of 2010, Bachrodt started failing to make necessary capital contributions and Hartmoor Investments made up the difference, which was almost $360,000.

With interest, Hartman and Hartmoor are now seeking more than $410,000 under the operating agreement.

Hartman’s attorney declined comment on the case. Bachrodt didn’t return calls to comment.

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.

Reunion planned for former David’s and Rusty’s Outdoor Sports employees

WICHITA — Without the aid of an alumni association or anything else, some organizers are trying to find past employees of David’s department stores and Rusty’s Outdoor Sports stores for a reunion.

The two longtime Wichita companies – Rusty’s grew out of David’s – had hundreds of employees at multiple stores over many decades.

“It was like a big family,” says Greg Woodburn, who was a manager for both businesses. “It wasn’t like what retail is now – big conglomerates and box stores.”

He says David’s was sort of the Wal-Mart of its day, and though it was known for sporting goods, it sold a little bit of everything.

Woodburn says it was “kind of like a small company and a large company at the same time.”

“I haven’t worked for David’s for 35 years, and people still remember me from David’s and the Rusty’s stores,” he says. “That’s just where people shopped. That was the place to go.”

Woodburn says David’s “used to run crazy ads” for deeply discounted items.

“There’d be hundreds of people in the parking lot before we even opened.”

There’s a Facebook page to sign up for the reunion, which will be Nov. 2 at Abode Venue.

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Medicine Shoppe sells to CVS

WICHITA — After two decades in business, the Medicine Shoppe on West 21st Street a half mile west of 21st and Amidon is closing.

“It really was such perfect timing because I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete against the big three there,” owner Ricky Tejeda says of Dillons and Walmart, which are already at the intersection, and the new CVS that opens on the northwest corner on Sunday.

“The piece of the pie is just getting smaller and smaller.”

Tejeda says CVS bought his business.

“Yeah, they did because they didn’t want to open up with zero prescriptions,” he says.

CVS also offered him a job, which he’ll take, though Tejeda isn’t sure how long he’ll stay.

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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.

Fair’s Shoe Store to close by March

WICHITA — One of the city’s oldest retail outlets is closing.

Fair’s Shoe Store in the Indian Hills shopping center at 13th and Meridian will go out of business by March.

“It has, unfortunately, been less than profitable for us over the last four years,” says general manager Andy Warren.

He says his family had planned to close Fair’s, which he thinks has been in business since the 1940s, in 2010 when it opened a New Balance and a Heads shoe store in the former Blockbuster space at 10231 W. 21st St. near Maize Road.

The family decided to keep Fair’s open and continue selling comfort shoes at a more moderate price.

“It just turned out to be a strategy that didn’t work,” Warren says.

He thinks there’s still a market for moderately priced comfort shoes.

“It’s probably being served at places like Famous Footwear, Shoe Carnival, Target and Walmart.”

Warren says the family’s other four stores are doing fine.

“The one out west has been kind of a bumpy road since they did the road construction over the summer, but it’s picking up where it left off.”

Despite sign to the contrary, T.J. Maxx isn’t coming to New Leaf Plaza

WICHITA — Shoppers in the 21st and Amidon area had brief hope that T.J. Maxx is coming to the intersection. A business in the area even had a sign saying so, but it’s not true.

“It speaks to a need or a demand at that intersection that’s probably not being fully fulfilled,” says Scott Harper, a broker with Landmark Commercial Real Estate.

“We have contacted them,” Harper says of T.J. Maxx. He was courting the store for New Leaf Plaza at the southwest corner where a Walmart Neighborhood Market is but says he “didn’t really get too far with it.”

Harper says that soft goods retailers such as T.J. Maxx like to cluster together.

“At the moment, that’s a little bit of a challenge for the intersection,” he says. Harper says it’s only one of a couple of intersections in the city with three grocers.

“I think soft goods are under served at the intersection,” he says. “A lot of them aren’t overly attracted to grocery-anchored centers.”

He says grocery stores are a draw for fitness centers.

“That’s why it’s good for Planet Fitness.”

The franchise opened in New Leaf Plaza last year, and Harper says it’s convenient for people to pop into the grocery store after their daily or weekly workout routine.

“Or, in my case, once-a year routine.”

Construction begins on one A-OK Center, second one to follow with more after that

WICHITA — Construction started this week at Bruce Harris’ new A-OK Center at New Leaf Plaza at 21st and Amidon, but that’s hardly the only new thing the pawn shop owner has going on.

“Wichita’s economy is starting to come back,” he says. “This shopping center in the middle of town is going to come alive again.”

The former Marina Lakes is now home to a Walmart Neighborhood Market that Harris says is contributing to those “sparks of life coming along.”

Harris also is about to begin building a new center at 410 N. West St.

It’ll be about 19,000 square feet, and the center at New Leaf will be 25,000 square feet.

“It’s going to be a huge place,” Harris says.

His centers at Harry and Oliver and Harry and Broadway are 18,000 square feet each.

The New Leaf center will be the “same thing on steroids.”

“What we’re doing is changing the way people shop,” Harris says. “We have new, used and lease to own.”

Both new centers and his store at Harry and Oliver will have a Better Living shop, which is Harris’ new lease-to-own concept.

New Leaf and West Street also each will have an A-OK Pawn Shop, One Day Jewelry and Repair, Cricket and A-OK Financial Services, which offers check cashing, payday loans, title loans and tax services.

Harris says the New Leaf center will be the most elaborate.

“I’m going to try to make it a lot of fun,” he says. “It’ll be kind of like Cabela’s.”

What he means is he plans a lot of displays and unusual touches that will “make it a really neat retail atmosphere that you’ve never seen in the pawn industry.”

There will be a dramatic 30-foot ceiling at the entrance of the center where Harris hopes to have something fun, such as a small plane or part of a helicopter hanging.

“We’re going to try to work with the Wichita motif.”

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