Carrie Rengers

Longtime youth group to move to Clifton Square

Clifton Square is going to be a good fit for Wichita Young Life, says metro director Matt Shepherd, back right. Others involved with Young Life include, from front left, Ashley Coltrane, Blair Hanning, Bethany Bastain and Lori Hartline and, from back left, Brock Glenn, Seth Lindberg and Andrew Calderwood.
Clifton Square is going to be a good fit for Wichita Young Life, says metro director Matt Shepherd, back right. Others involved with Young Life include, from front left, Ashley Coltrane, Blair Hanning, Bethany Bastain and Lori Hartline and, from back left, Brock Glenn, Seth Lindberg and Andrew Calderwood. Courtesy photo

It’s hard to beat steeply discounted rent and ready-made pastries and bread, but Wichita Young Life has grown so much that it’s leaving its home at Great Harvest Bread Co. near Central and Woodlawn.

“We’ll miss our friends at Great Harvest,” says Matt Shepherd, Young Life’s metro director. “They have been really good to us.”

The organization, which is a Christian youth group that has been active in Wichita since 1956, is moving to Clifton Square, 3700 E. Douglas, in June.

The group will have six offices and training and conference rooms in almost 1,700 square feet on the second and third floors of the former Bloomhaus space where the new Tory Brooke Salon opened on the first floor this week.

Shepherd says the group looked at corporate space in east Wichita and downtown that was great but then found Clifton Square.

“Our staff fell in love with Clifton Square,” he says. “We think people will come visit us there.”

He says it’s a place where kids, parents and Young Life leaders will feel comfortable.

“We want kids and leaders to feel like, hey, this is a place you can come hang.”

Jake Ramstack of InSite Real Estate Group and Stephanie Wise of John T. Arnold Associates handled the deal.

Young Life has programs for middle, high school and college students as well as students with disabilities and teenagers who are expecting or parenting children. It is involved with 19 schools. Shepherd says much of the group’s work is done away from the office and in places where its 2,400 kids are.

But when they come to the office, he says, Clifton Square is a good fit.

“That comfortable, you-are-welcome atmosphere at Clifton Square … fits the culture of Young Life.”

He says there are a lot of other businesses at the center, such as restaurants and an ice cream shop, where it’ll be fun to meet as well. Shepherd says that can be a bit of an issue, though.

“I’ve already spent more money than I want to at Dempsey’s.”

When Young Life began working out of Great Harvest, Shepherd says, it had only about 11 employees. Today, it has a staff of 23.

He says he looked at expanding the group’s 750 square feet there, but it made more sense to move and significantly expand.

Shepherd says Young Life employees and students will return to Great Harvest for visits “to see our friends and their amazing cinnamon rolls.”

Lisa Williams-Laufer started her business out of her home three years ago to make handmade soy candles with strong fragrances. And now after being picked up by Whole Foods she will have her grand opening Saturday in Clifton Square. (Video by Ferna

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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