Not quite six years after trying to bring business to downtown, Bill Jackson is closing his Abode Home .
"We've got a lot of bummed people," Jackson says. "We tried for six years and just absolutely could not make it work."
When Jackson chose to open his contemporary furnishing store just east of Old Town at 1330 E. Douglas, a lot of people questioned if the concept would work there.
A focus group, though, convinced Jackson that the store could be successful.
"They thought downtown would be a good place for people east and west to come shop," he says.
That didn't happen, though, so Jackson will close sometime in July.
"We finally had to say it wasn't going to work."
Part of the problem has been the economy, Jackson says.
He belongs to an association of furniture retailers, and he says they're all reporting poor sales.
"Absolutely none of them have made any money in the last four or five years," he says. "It's just been a horrible time in the furniture business for the last 10 years."
Nothing will change with Jackson's Furniture Options furniture rentals or his Marriott ExecuStay corporate housing.
"For now, we've got a lot of other things to focus on that are profitable... that we just need to work on and grow," Jackson says.
Also, Abode Commercial Interiors will stay in business and have a showroom in the Furniture Options building at 1336 E. Douglas. ACI will handle any issues related to products or warranties on items purchased from Abode Home after the store closes.
The experience with Abode Home hasn't changed how Jackson feels about downtown.
"We believe in downtown Wichita awfully a lot. We're a firm believer."
You don't say
"You have a very low opinion of yourselves, and you're not afraid to share it."
—Dave Brandon , a Dallas site-selection consultant hired to study Wichita's economic development effort, on one of the city's weaknesses when it comes to luring new businesses