Carrie Rengers

Developer signs deal for west-side Menards

As expected, Wichita has landed its second Menards store. Developer Paul Jackson on Thursday signed a deal with the Wisconsin-based company to anchor his Stonebridge development at the southeast corner of 37th and Maize Road.

This follows Christian Ablah's deal earlier this month for Menards to locate at his development at K-96 and Webb Road.

"These are big, big deals," Jackson says. "It's a real shot of confidence they're opening two stores of this size in Wichita."

Jackson and Ablah were close to final deals with Menards, a home-improvement store, in late 2008 when the economy tanked.

Even though there are continual signs of improvement, Jackson says the Menards deals are still a coup.

"Big box developments are just not happening around the country right now," he says. "Most big box developers have kind of pulled in the reins and put the brakes on until the economy turns around."

The west-side Menards will be 230,000 square feet and employ about 165 people.

Menards has more than 250 stores in 12 states.

Gary Snyder of Landmark Commercial Real Estate represented Menards in the Stonebridge deal.

Ablah, who is with Classic Real Estate , also worked with Jackson on the deal.

Now that the deal is done, Jackson will proceed with infrastructure work at Stonebridge, which will be a 37-acre retail development.

"What it means for us is we can go ahead with confidence," Jackson says.

Menards likely will break ground in the next 30 to 60 days and open in the first quarter of 2011.

"That's credibility (for) people coming to look at our development," Jackson says. "It's an important turning point."

Jackson says he's in talks with a number of businesses. Once infrastructure is in place, it will allow those businesses to move in quickly, he says.

"It puts us at that stage, which is a really nice place to be."

Perfect location

When Smoothie King on North Ridge Road closed, some disappointed west-siders wondered what happened.

The owners are simply changing locations.

The new location is in the former Picture Perfect space at 8000 W. Central.

Picture Perfect recently moved to NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

Smoothie King's Gillian Gorges likes her new space for its drive-through.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

There's no projected opening date, but Gorges says the North Rock Road Smoothie King is offering catering in the meantime.

You don't say

"If our servers ever went down, toilets would be backing up all over the country."

Paul Farmer , president of Famhost (which hosts software for businesses like sewer services) and a Small Business Awards finalist, speaking at the Sunrise Scrambler Thursday