Developer works to bring Costco to Wichita

07/25/2012 9:43 PM

08/05/2014 6:50 PM

There's good news and bad news when it comes to Costco and its prospects for coming to Wichita.

The good news is that businessman and developer Tom Devlin wants to help bring the discount chain here.

He contacted a friend of his who has developed more than 50 Costcos.

The friend contacted Costco.

Costco said it wants to be in Wichita.

Here's where the bad news comes in, though.

The retailer apparently can't come yet because there's not a distribution center close enough to support stores here.

Devlin was ready to help with that, too.

"I was willing to do anything because I think Costco is a terrific retail company, and they'd be terrific for Wichita," he says. "They're great merchandisers, and they know they'll do well in Wichita when they get here."

Devlin has been told Costco believes Wichita could support two of its stores — just like competitor Sam's Club has a store on either side of town.

Devlin suggested about four sites for the chain to consider.

"I wasn't even trying to sell anything I owned," he says. "I was just trying to get Costco to Wichita. I didn't care where they went."

If he were to take a gamble, Devlin says he'd bet Costco will be here no later than five years from now, but most likely within three.

"So, we'll have to be patient," he says.

"I tried."

In time for summer

More than a year ago, Braum's closed on a deal for new space at 1261 S. Rock Road, near Harry.

Now, the company is beginning work on the store.

It'll be similar to the one on Seneca near Douglas that opened last month and the one near 21st and Amidon that opened last year.

Like those stores, the new one will be 5,756 square feet with a drive-through and a Fresh Market grocery area.

"That's our largest model," says spokeswoman Andie Schwab .

Braum's has been replacing older stores with the newer model. The Rock Road store is new, though, and not replacing another store.

Leisa Lowry, a broker with J.P. Weigand & Sons , represented Braum's in the deal, and Weigand brokers Grant Tidemann and his son Bradley represented the seller.

The new store is slated to open in late June.

You don't say

"We're just kind of looking at what to do."

Terry Hacker on how he and his brother, Larry , are repairing vandalism and readying the former Mama Deaux Seafood House space on the west side for a possible new business

About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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