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Spa on growth spurt

04/28/2012 5:00 AM

04/28/2012 7:28 AM

Michele Wheeler began contemplating expanding her Beau Monde Spa & Boutique at Comotara Center more than a year ago.

With the entry of six national competitors in the market, though, she figured she better wait before she made the investment.

She’s not waiting anymore.

“I just decided that it was the right time,” Wheeler says.

She’s adding 2,000 square feet to her almost-6,000-square-foot space at the center at 29th and Rock Road. That’s where Eccentricity was before moving to part of the former Olive Tree Bistro space.

“I knew we had a great clientele,” Wheeler says.

Still, it was daunting when a new Sephora opened at Bradley Fair and two more opened within JC Penney stores. There also are two new Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance stores, which are at NewMarket Square and Eastgate Plaza, and a Bare Escentuals at Towne East Square.

“I had to kind of wait and see what was going to happen,” Wheeler says. “We just had to stay true to our game and let everybody go check it out.”

She thinks Beau Monde has continued to do well in part because customers have “gotten behind that ‘Shop local.’ ”

Also, she says, “It’s a little more personal attention when you come in here.”

In addition to the spa, Beau Monde offers makeup and skin care products.

Wheeler was prompted to finally take the extra space for a couple of reasons.

“We are so out of space,” she says. She says she also thought “You know, I need to snag it before someone else does.”

The new space will allow a BlowOut Bar for hair styling similar to the popular one Wheeler has at her location near Douglas and Oliver.

Also, Wheeler will be able to create a better space in which male clientele can relax before or after treatments.

“I didn’t have a great men’s relaxation room … that I was proud enough to market,” Wheeler says.

The expansion also will create more room for a women’s locker room and relaxation area.

Wheeler says spa parties are a big trend, so there will be more space for those as well.

Conco Construction is the contractor. The company supplied Wheeler, who is not necessarily known for sticking to a design decision, a pink hard hat that says “Audibles allowed.”

“I’m not kidding,” she says. “I can change my mind at any time.”

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“Oh, tell me about it … ”

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Carrie Rengers first reported these items on her blog. Be among the first to get her business scoops at blogs.kansas.com/haveyouheard.

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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