The lease still isn’t quite finalized, but American Freight confirms it’s the company that’s taking the former Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market space at 13th and Oliver.
“It should be at the beginning of May that we’re coming in,” says Jon Cahen, vice president and advertising director for the Ohio-based furniture company.
It’s an especially quick turnaround time.
“We’re a warehouse style, so basically all we needed is four walls and a ceiling,” Cahen says. “We’re able to move in in less than a month, really, so we’re not going to spend a lot of money with build-outs. We’re not going to put a fancy fireplace in there like some companies do.”
The 38,000-square-foot store will have “furniture for any room of your house,” Cahen says. “And we’re going to pack furniture in there.”
He says the company, which has almost 140 stores nationally, is known for its low prices on name-brand and house-brand furniture. Cahen says American Freight also sells a large amount of mattresses.
“What we really are known for … is same-day delivery,” he says. “We have a ton of stock right there in the building.”
The company also has a free layaway program.
It will be hiring about 10 employees (check “careers” at www.americanfreight.us to apply).
“This is our first Kansas store,” Cahen says. “We’re excited to get in there.”
The large available space is what attracted the company to the northwest corner of 13th and Oliver, he says.
“We’ve been looking in Wichita for a little while now.”
Cahen says this is the only store the company plans initially.
“We’re obviously just going to wait and see how this one does first.”
City Council member Lavonta Williams, whose district includes the 13th and Oliver area, says she’s happy to have any business there “as long as it is respectable for the community, and it’s something they can be proud of.”
She says furniture wasn’t the first choice for most residents, though.
“Obviously, they wanted fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Even though American Freight isn’t the grocery store some had hoped for, Williams says it’s important to fill that vacant corner.
“I’m just very, very grateful to have someone going into the building,” she says. “I’m looking forward to it.”