The east-side Ashley Furniture HomeStore-Wichita is having its grand opening on Wednesday.
The store, which is in the former Sportsman’s Warehouse space at One Kellogg Place just east of Kellogg and Greenwich, had a soft opening this weekend.
“We just opened the doors and turned the lights on,” says Jay Storey, president of Wichita Furniture.
And “just” 1,500 or so people turned up.
“It’s crazy,” Storey says. “It’s awesome. … The east side needed this.”
Storey opened an Ashley store on the west side near 21st and Maize Road in 2002, and he says it’s done very well.
However, he says, “A lot of folks don’t want to drive all the way out to the west side.”
The new store is a prototype for the Wisconsin chain.
“This is the first of its type,” Storey says. “I’ve got people from all over the world coming in to view this store before building their own.”
For instance, a licensee from New Zealand is coming in next month.
“This is what Ashley corporate wants all the HomeStores to look like in the future,” Storey says.
The store, which will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day but Sunday, is No. 544 for the chain. Storey’s west-side store was No. 86.
The fast-growing company will be up to No. 548 by the end of this week.
“We’re lucky in Wichita,” Storey says of getting the new prototype.
He says the opening is good for the city’s economy as well.
“We’ve created 50 new jobs in our marketplace – good, quality career jobs – in the last 30 days.”