Carrie Rengers

East-side Jo-Ann's moving to Rock Road

Ohio-based Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is moving its east Wichita store to the former CompUSA store at 3665 N. Rock Road.

"Well, you scooped me on this one," says Lorraine Schuchart , manager of public relations.

"All I know is that it's happening," she says of a move. "As we get closer, I will have more information, but I honestly don't have it at this point."

The current east-side store is in the Parklane Shopping Center at Lincoln and Oliver.

That store will remain open until the new store opens.

At more than 25,000 square feet, the former CompUSA space is substantially larger than its current space.

"It's a little bit bigger space than they typically take," says Doug Malone , a J.P. Weigand & Sons broker who handled the deal.

"They can make that extra space work," Malone says. "They'll use every bit of that space."

There will be extensive remodeling between now and when the store opens next year.

"It won't look anything like a CompUSA when they get finished with it," Malone says.

Schuchart says the store is tentatively slated to open in March.

Malone says Jo-Ann Fabric initially considered moving into the Rock Road space in 2008.

"Timing was better now."

Schuchart says business is doing well nationally, in part possibly because of the economy.

"We find that there is kind of a return to tradition, and DIY (do it yourself) is certainly a big part of that."

There's an increase in entry-level classes, such as cake decorating, sewing and crafting.

"That's indicative of new people wanting to learn," Schuchart says. "People really seem to be getting into the whole DIY phase."

All in one

Years after purchasing Brown's Botanicals at 7722 W. Maple, Brad White is moving the business to his Dean's Designs at 3555 E. Douglas, two blocks east of Hillside.

"What I'm doing is simply consolidating that location, which I currently rent, into my own, which we own," he says. "It's just an economics move.

"We can also consolidate some pricing and make it a better deal for our customer."

At one point, White says he had five different sites, each operating under different names.

"We've over the years purchased a number of flower shops that were distressed or people were ready to retire," White says.

He still operates about a dozen stores, but all from his Hillside address.

Moving Brown's Botanicals was a natural progression.

"I hate to lose my presence on the west side, but with the amount of delivery vehicles that we have, we can service it no differently than we have in the past," White says. "Really, nothing's changing."

White plans to keep the Brown's Botanicals name.

"They have a following. There's no two ways about that."

You don't say

"It would look pretty cute up there, wouldn't it?"

Two Brothers BBQ and Burger Grill owner Tom Ryan , who likes the idea of a rotating pig atop his forthcoming restaurant at Douglas and Hillside (as rumors have it), but he says not to hold your breath

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