There’s no doubt that the retail market is changing nationwide. Sears, Payless, JC Penney, Radio Shack, and Gander Mountain have all announced store closings and these numbers are steadily increasing. Big box retailers have been struggling and are opening smaller footprints. We will begin seeing less big box anchored shopping centers and more restaurant and grocery anchored centers which aren’t hurt by the internet and are a way to draw the customer in. How are the retailers changing? Investing in technology and creating a top-of-the-line “in-store” experience for the customer is how retailers will stay relevant. Brokers are starting to see a major increase in tenant build-out costs to bring in customers and create connections with them.
Despite the store closings, we have continued to experience an active retail market in Wichita and the surrounding areas. Starting in the NE quadrant, Charming Charlie announced their store which is currently under construction at Greenwich Place along with Stein Mart which is set to open later this year. Athleta recently announced a new store opening at Bradley Fair. H&M also confirmed they will be opening at Towne East Mall. Five Below, a national discount retailer will be opening several new locations and Sketchers Outlet just opened on west Kellogg. Wichita’s very first AMC Theatre is also under construction in northeast Wichita, which will bring some competition for Regal Theatres who just purchased the Warren Theatres.
Derby has seen steady growth as well. A local developer recently purchased land next to Braum’s for a 14,000 SF retail center and the Field Station Dinosaur Park is currently under construction near the northwest corner of Rock Road and Patriot Avenue.
The restaurant market has continued to expand with multiple new concepts. In east Wichita, Zoe’s Kitchen, now under construction in front of Whole Foods, is anticipated to open this fall. Blaze Pizza, Texas Roadhouse, and Eat Fit Go are all under construction on north Greenwich Road. Kneaders Bakery & Café and Fuzzy Taco are both under construction on north Rock Road.
In west Wichita, Andy’s Frozen Custard recently opened on west 21st Street and Hurricane Grill & Wings, which is under construction at 13th Street and Tyler Road, will be operated by a local franchisee that has plans for several in the Wichita area.
Wichita has continued to support our local restaurants as well. Ziggy’s Pizza opened their second location out east, Oak & Pie opened earlier this year on Greenwich Road, and HomeGrown is now open at 29th Street and Maize Road.
What about the CBD? For the last year we have finally started to see growth in our downtown area. Construction is moving along on the new Hilton Garden Inn along Douglas and it was announced that a grocery store would be opening in the Century Plaza building. Union Station now houses several new restaurant concepts including: Funky Monkey Shaved Ice, Noodles to Go, and 8 Below (a rolled ice cream shop). A local developer has also announced his plans for Wichita’s first urban retail development using shipping containers along east Central just west of Hillside. His plans are to create an urban outdoor food court with some retail, all constructed with cargo containers.