A Manhattan company has ended a 42-year vendor relationship providing spring plants and flowers for sale at Dillons stores.
But Kaw Valley Greenhouse won't disappear from the Wichita landscape, with plans in the works to open several "parking lot stores" locally around April 1, company officials said.
Dan Parcel, retail director for Kaw Valley, said the company made a business decision that it "needed to branch out and become independent."
It will begin opening and staffing parking lot locations across the Wichita area as Kaw Valley Greenhouse.
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As of now, locations have been tentatively set along Kellogg and in Derby, but others will be announced later, Parcel said.
It wasn't clear Thursday how Dillons would respond to the loss of its plant vendor.
"While we do regret Kaw Valley's decision to move on, Dillons will continue to offer outdoor garden plants and flowers," spokeswoman Sheila Lowrie said.
Parcel called the four-decade Dillons deal "a great ride." He said Kaw Valley's business relationship with Dillons was good.
"We had no quarrels with Dillons, really," he said. "This is just a business decision. We had to decide what is best for us.
"Being an independent business gives us control of the entire process and the entire product line from start to finish. It should be a big win for our customers."
Kaw piloted its independent program five years ago in Lincoln, Neb., and Kansas City.
"It's worked well," Parcel said. "So our plan this spring is to have 50 stores in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri."