Fidelity Bank’s new RISE Car Park at 320 S. Market is about to add a new tenant — a unique business with an “Instagram-able” vibe that is part trendy plant shop, part entertainment venue and part educational facility.
In May, Heather Giesen plans to relocate her GROW Giesen Plant Shop, which she’s been operating as a startup in the 500-square-foot incubator space at Janelle King’s Cleveland Corner, to a 3,200-square-foot space on the ground level of the car park. The shop will be on the southwest corner. GROW Giesen Plant Shop will open in May on the southwest corner of the ground floor of Fidelity Bank’s new RISE Car Park. Courtesy SHELDEN ARCHITECTURE
The unusual business will not only offer succulents, cactuses, and tropical houseplants for sale — along with fun pots and plant-related merchandise — but it will also include a martini bar called Botanic that will offer plant-themed cocktails and munchies like pickle platters, hummus boards and popcorn flights. The shop will also have a do-it-yourself space where customers can assemble their own terrariums, succulent wreaths and more, a lounge where Giesen and her staff can teach new “plant parents” how to best care for their house plants, and a soil bar where customers can have their plants potted while they shop. The lounge and DIY areas also will be reservable for events like birthday parties, showers, and meetings. GROW will also have an outdoor patio where shoppers can relax, sip on their drinks, and soak up all the greenness.
GROW Giesen Plant Shop should open in May on the ground floor of the Fidelity Bank’s RISE Car Park at 320 N. Market. The shop will include a bar where people can enjoy plant-themed cocktails and munchies. Courtesy SHELDEN ARCHITECTURE “When you walk in, you should feel elevated,” Giesen said. “You should feel fancy. You should feel like you belong.”
GROW is the second tenant Fidelity has announced for the retail space on the main level of its car park, which opened a year ago and is the first part of a $51 million expansion project that will eventually include a new 10-story, 135,000 square-foot office tower at 100 E. English.
In December, the bank announced that Nick Korbee and Amanda Luginbill, owners of the new First Mile Kitchen restaurant at Bradley Fair, would be adding a restaurant called First Mile Cantine, which is on track to open this spring. It will serve breakfast and lunch and also will offer a mini market stocked with fresh produce. The car park, which still has more retail space to fill, also has a rooftop urban farm called Rise Farms, which has 5,000 square feet of space and will grow fresh vegetables and herbs in raised beds.
Heather Giesen is the owner of GROW Giesen Plant Shop, which is preparing a move to a bigger space on the ground level of Fidelity Bank’s RISE Car Park. Giesen said that she and her husband have long been plant collectors, and in 2019, they built a little greenhouse in the back yard of their home in Pratt. She started offering plants at pop-up events in Pratt, and she’d always sell out her inventory. After her daughter was born in 2019, Giesen and her husband started bringing her to appointments in Wichita and realized that the city didn’t have many shops that specialized in house plants and fun merchandise. Eventually, she learned about King’s small business incubator space called The Garage, which is next to The Workroom at 156 N. Cleveland, and she applied to be a tenant. She’s been operating her shop out of that tiny space since August of 2020. Interest in house plants has been spiking since the pandemic, Giesen said, and many big cities have trendy plant shops that offer extras like DIY project spaces, plant classes and even bars. But she hasn’t seen one that brings all those elements together in one space and says her new business will be a draw for Wichita. “GROW is creating an experience for downtown Wichita,” Giesen said. “I’m very confident in the fact that this is going to bring tourism to Wichita because plant people go to find plants. They go to cool spots.”
Melissa Knoeber, Director of Culture and Talent for Fidelity Bank, said that she’s excited about the growth in and around the car park, which hasn’t always been downtown’s most exciting area. Now, with the addition nearby of the WSU Tech Culinary school and Sudha Tokala’s new downtown medical school, both at Broadway and William, the area is becoming energized. “This part of downtown has really never gotten the love that it’s ever deserved,” she said. “When you talk about this space, from Douglas to Kellogg and from Main to Broadway, it’s always been more industrial and corporate. And so, to have all of these different, really great entities that are coming in, it’s very exciting.”
Article by Denise Neil from the Wichita Eagle