The new Paramount Marketplace at the Prairie Village shopping center at 13th and Woodlawn is getting a lot of attention from both shoppers and vendors, but social media manager Carrie Wellborn knew something was up this weekend.
“All of a sudden I was getting all these requests,” she says of potential new vendors.
“I’m going to go out on a limb and say 40 at least.”
She says about 30 potential vendors stopped in the store over the weekend, too.
Finally, Wellborn says, she heard the news that Derby Antique Market is closing.
“Ah, that explains a lot,” she says she thought at the time.
Wayne Sanchez, a Wichita attorney, says he’s closing Derby Antique Market at 317 N. Rock Road in Derby at the end of the month.
“It’s just that the place was too big, and basically when Hobby Lobby came in, they took a lot of purchasing power out of the city,” he says.
In particular, Sanchez says, he lost vendors who offered a lot of arts and crafts like Hobby Lobby carries.
He says the economy was a factor as well.
“Expansion is good, but it takes time for the local purchasing power to come up to the competition for everybody to make a living,” Sanchez says. “The customers were great, the city supported the business great, but, I mean, there’s only so many dollars that can go around.”
Paramount Marketplace is having a better experience, and manager Darcie Toom says customers are telling her there’s been a void of antiques stores in that part of Wichita.
There are Paramount Antique Malls on East and West Kellogg. The Marketplace is a slightly different concept than those two. The original two have more of a focus on antiques and vintage items. The Marketplace has those items and a mix of new ones as well.
The Marketplace opened on Dec. 1, but its signs went up only two weeks ago.
“The signs were huge,” Wellborn says. “It was just nonstop people coming in.”
The store is 35,000 square feet whose previous occupant was Dillons.
Not all of the space is filled yet, but Wellborn expects it to be within a matter of months, especially with some of the Derby vendors moving there.
Toom says management would like someone to operate a cafe there, too.
Some well-known vendors are already at the Marketplace, such as Juliana Daniel Antiques, and some are on the way, such as Adrian’s Boutique from Buhler.
Wellborn says not every vendor who asks can have a space, though.
“We’re being super-picky,” she says. “We are vetting every single booth.”
Wellborn says it’s all in an effort to have a range of upscale merchandise.
“We want to keep a good mix and keep it real upscale and boutique.”