Almost five years after Kmart closed its store at 4200 W. Kellogg, a new store is going in the 105,000-square-foot space.
Jay Storey is opening his second Wichita Furniture & Mattress there, and he called this one a superstore.
“This is a big thing for that area and this neighborhood,” Storey said.
He’s been looking at the building for a couple of years, but the pandemic slowed things down some.
“And then we rekindled it starting in November and closed on the property last Wednesday.”
Storey paid $3.3 million for the building and 9 acres and will spend an estimated $7 million in renovations, which will include a new facade, parking lot and HVAC equipment, among other things.
He said he eventually hopes to put a deli or restaurant on the east side of the building where the garden center used to be.
“We want a local flavor.”
Storey said the restaurant will have its own entrance so it can be open to anyone, not just shoppers. Demolition work has begun on the building.
In addition to hiring more than 60 employees for the store, Storey is hiring more at his distribution center to handle the increase in product.
The new store will sell indoor and outdoor furniture, mattresses, rugs, home decor and electronics, 90% of which can be delivered the same day.
“We want to be able to deliver immediately to our customers,” Storey said.
The original Wichita Furniture & Mattress will remain open near 13th and Oliver as well. That’s also where Storey’s Furniture on Consignment is. That store, which no longer offers consignment but does sell factory-direct closeout merchandise, is in 10,000 square feet of the 59,000-square-foot larger Wichita Furniture & Mattress store.
Furniture on Consignment was Storey’s first brand, which he opened with $5,000 in 1989.
He also has two Ashley HomeStores in Wichita and may expand that brand, particularly with one of the chain’s outlet concepts. Storey has the Ashley license for Wichita and some surrounding areas.
All of the concepts are part of his parent company, Wichita Furniture.
Storey thinks the new Wichita Furniture & Mattress along with his existing one will be enough for the Wichita area.
With the new store, he said, “We feel like we can serve south, west and even outlining cities a little bit better.”
Visibility on a main road was a top priority in the new store.
“So there’s a lot of traffic,” Storey said.
Though construction issues may cause delays in the store opening, Storey said merchandise shouldn’t be an issue.
“Our supply chain is not as disrupted as it was.”
Storey expects to be able to open by fall or late this year with full inventory.
Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Grant Glasgow of NAI Martens handled the deal for the former Kmart space.
“It’s kind of the centerpiece,” Saville said of Storey’s business. “It’ll bring life and traffic.”
Saville and Glasgow said there are a lot of new developments in the community improvement district around the store.
Some of those projects include the Kwik Shop along West Kellogg, the Verizon store and Casey’s General Store on West Street and a face-lift for the building where Skechers and the Guitar Center are.
“There’s been a lot of fantastic things happen,” Saville said.
He said he thinks Wichita Furniture & Mattress will lead to more great things for the area since it’s bringing new life to such a large space.
“It’s been sitting dark.”
The revitalization is “going to continue to show that area is a strong area and will support further redevelopment,” Glasgow said.
Since he began considering the property, Storey said construction and labor costs have gone up 35%, but he said they’re worth it.
“You can’t replace that traffic area.”
That’s why he’s willing to spend so much renovating the building.
“When we get done inside and out, it’ll be a completely renovated new facility,” he said. “We’ll create such a destination product here.”
Article by Carrie Rengers from The Wichita Eagle.