Lawrence Photo to leave downtown after 125 years for move to Normandie Center

WICHITA — After 125 years in the greater downtown area, Lawrence Photo is leaving.

“When you leave the core area of the city that you’ve been in for 125 years … it’s a tough decision to make,” says owner Paul Hudson.

He’s moving the store from 401 E. Douglas to Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.

“I thought it was just the sweetest intersection of the city,” Hudson says.

That’s because Normandie is home to the Twizted Confections and Sweetly Scrumptious bakeries.

“And then I’m going to round it out with Whole Foods on the healthy side,” Hudson says.

He also likes that the Seafood Shop and Yoder Meats are there, and Great Harvest Bread Co. is nearby across Woodlawn.

“I don’t have to drive to go to the grocery store ever again,” Hudson says.

“I like the neighborhood, and it still has a neighborhood feel. The demographics are right there.”

The business started in 1877 as Lawrence Drug Store and was located downtown where the Intrust Bank parking garage is now. Hudson says in 1888 owner Charles Lawrence signed the first Kodak dealership west of the Mississippi with George Eastman of Eastman Kodak.

In more recent years, Hudson has expanded his business to include custom framing along with printing.

“It’s a major portion of business,” he says. “We’re certainly wanting to expand that framing and printing.”

At the new space, which is in the 3,000 square feet where Pathfinder Birkenstock used to be, Hudson will begin having photography classes. He says he’s been getting a lot of requests for them.

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Waterfront development to get new office park; Whole Foods to break ground in July

The nine lots on the lower right of this aerial map show where the newest development at the Waterfront will go.

WICHITA — Another new area of development is coming to the Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road.

“We’ve got a small office park going in east of Bonefish,” says Stephen Clark II.

There will be up to nine lots on eight acres.

“It’s all office use,” Clark says.

Primarily, those offices will be medical, but there will be some service-type offices as well, such as financial services.

The lots are for sale, and the buyers will be the builders, though each building will be in what Clark calls the upscale Waterfront style.

“We have one so far and are talking to others,” Clark says of buyers.

He says the first deal will be announced in August.

Construction will start next week.

There’s still room for retail between Bonefish Grill and the new office park, but that will come later, Clark says.

There are several other areas in development at the Waterfront.

Planning is still underway for a new Class A, high-end apartment complex across the lake from Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Waterfront. Clark says schematics are now complete.

Also, the new 5,000-square-foot home for his father’s Clark Investment Group should be ready in two months.

The company currently is in 2,500 square feet near 13th and Rock Road in the Polo Club Office Park. The new office is off of Webb Road and across from Ciao Italian Kitchen on the Waterfront’s lake.

Over at Waterfront Plaza, which is on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road, construction is close to starting on the new Whole Foods grocery that will anchor the development.

“That starts in one month,” Clark says.

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You don’t say

“It’s a sad day because Wichitans have nowhere to celebrate it. Don’t you think?”

– An e-mail from Stephen Clark II, who helped land Whole Foods, about National Cheesecake Day Monday (yes, he’s working on getting Cheesecake Factory, too, but calls it a long shot)

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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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.

Whole Foods is heading to Clear Lakes Shopping Center

WICHITA — Last month, Have You Heard? reported that Whole Foods likely was moving from Twin Lakes to Clear Lakes Shopping Center at 2315 W. 21st Street.

It’s now a done deal.

The Twin Lakes lease is up at the end of this month.

The addition of Whole Foods at Clear Lakes brings that center to 100 percent occupancy.

Scott Harper of Landmark Commercial Real Estate represented Whole Foods in the deal, and Landmark’s Austin Kinzle represented Clear Lakes.

Whole Foods to leave Twin Lakes, likely relocate nearby

WICHITA — The Whole Foods at Twin Lakes is going to be closing and most likely moving nearby.

Leah Gossett, manager of the east-side Whole Foods, says negotiations are under way for the Twin Lakes store to move to just west of 21st and Amidon near the Medicine Shoppe.

Whole Foods’ lease is up at the end of January, though it could remain there a bit longer.

Nothing is finalized yet on the closing or the move.

Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market most likely not coming to Normandie Center

WICHITA — It looks like the potential deal for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at Normandie Center is off.

Debbie McNeal of RP Realty Partners says she has no idea what’s going on with Wal-Mart, but she’s trying to find new tenants for the Star Lumber and Whole Foods spaces.

That’s “because the owners told me to go ahead.”

Whole Foods is moving to the former Gessler Drug Co. space to make room for Wal-Mart.

Gessler had planned on moving anyway, but its time line was moved up due to Wal-Mart. It’s now where AAA Kansas used to be next to Il Vicino near Douglas and Oliver.

McNeal has 32,000 square feet to lease where Whole Foods is vacating and Star Lumber used to be.

She has another 4,000 square feet where YB Meats once was. And she has some office space north of the former Star Lumber building as well.

The only certain Neighborhood Market for Wichita so far is at Central and Maize.

Gessler Drug Co. to relocate from Normandie Center to Lincoln Heights Village area

gessleraugWICHITA — Gessler Drug Co. is heading home.

So says Hal Schwarz, who is relocating the store from Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn to where AAA Kansas used to be next to Il Vicino near Douglas and Oliver.

That’s one corner over from where Gessler first opened in Wichita in 1938. Watermark Books & Cafe is there today.

Schwarz says Gessler was one of the original anchor tenants in what became Lincoln Heights Village in 1949.

When he recently was looking for new space, Schwarz says the 4,300-square-foot location he found “just stood out far and above anything else we had seen.”

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