The Austin-based chain often likes to take inspiration from a locale when opening a new store there.
“We normally try to have stories behind what we do,” says Paul Jarvis, decor project manager.
Some stores are easier than others.
“If we open in, like, a suburb, it’s harder to find … obvious details,” Jarvis says.
“Wichita is just chock full of fun stuff,” he says. “I went out to Wichita with one of the designers, and we just kind of soaked it in and did a lot of research.”
“We did a lot of walking around Old Town.”
Then he gathered photos and colors “from the feel we got” and did a hierarchy of what’s important here.
“Aviation came out on top,” Jarvis says.
Kansas nature and what he calls a Native American element also were influential.
There will be some obvious references to those things and some more subtle references.
“There are a lot of yellows that we got from sunflowers and … fields and wheat,” Jarvis says.
A lot of the decorative wood in the store is reclaimed.
Jarvis also went to Rantoul, Kan., to visit Dodson International, which deals in aircraft parts.
“I wanted to find something special,” Jarvis says. “They’re a great resource.”
He picked up some old wings and propellers, among other things.
Jarvis is not saying how he’s going to use them, though.
“I kind of want them to be a little bit of a surprise when we open.”
In addition to actual aircraft parts, there will be artwork featuring aspects of aviation or patterns that can be seen from planes.
“We really kind of went all out with the details of the patterns we got from airplanes,” Jarvis says.
“There’s a lot of little details like that that hopefully people will pick up on.”
Team leader Angela Schmidt gives a tour of the new Wichita Whole Foods Market, which she’ll manage.