Ethan Allen Design Center is returning to Wichita, this time to Waterfront Plaza at the northwest corner of 13th and Webb Road where Whole Foods Market is.
“I really feel good about where our new design center is going to be,” says John Durkott, Ethan Allen’s vice president for real estate. “It is a first-class development.”
In 2007, Ethan Allen closed at 416 N. Rock Road, where it had been for more than two decades. That was an independently owned store. A Mattress Hub is in the space now.
The new Ethan Allen is a corporate store.
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Durkott says the new store will be a lot different than what Wichitans have seen from Ethan Allen in the past.
“We’ll be totally different than what they’ve ever seen,” he says.
“Our products have been dramatically changed in the last two years. They’re more relevant. They’re more fashionable. They appeal to a … broader spectrum of clientele.”
Durkott says the store will have some of Ethan Allen’s more iconic products, which he calls Ethan Allen classics.
There’s also something new called modern classics.
“We had a major introduction this past early fall,” Durkott says.
He says the modern classic line is “more of a relaxed and softer” line of furniture.
By the time the store opens, which will be this summer, a romantic classic line will be out. Durkott calls it “more of what we would call the traditional feel.”
He says the 7,200-square-foot store, which will be next to SpaRenity Nails & Organics, will have complementary design services.
It also will have soft goods, such as bed covers and wall coverings, and accent pieces and art.
“I obviously have shopped some of the competition in Wichita,” Durkott says. “There’s going to be nobody like us there.”
Ethan Allen, which has about 300 stores globally, has been examining markets where it used to have stores.
“After the financial meltdown, a lot of independent retailers just didn’t have the financial wherewithal to get through it,” Durkott says.
He says Ethan Allen is studying where it makes sense to reopen stores. He says in a lot of places, demographics have changed since past stores were open.
“A lot of those we just felt were not in the right spots anymore.”
Don Piros and Scott Harper of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the Waterfront deal.
“Where we are now is just a totally different feel and area,” Durkott says of the new store. “It kind of fits the fashionable presentation we want to make.”
He says he has “very high expectations” for the new store, and the Waterfront’s Stephen Clark II thinks he won’t be disappointed.
“I think they’ll do extremely well in Wichita,” he says. “It’s a good fit with the community culture.”
There’s 8,100 square feet left to lease in the 71,831-square-foot center.
“We’re not taking anyone and everyone,” Clark says.
“We’re being patient,” he says. “We think it’s going very well.”
Professionally and personally, Clark is happy about landing Ethan Allen.
“They’ve got a really good brand, and they’re a great national company.”
Besides, he says, “I need a few things.”