Carrie Rengers

First local retailer to open at NewMarket Square is now closing

Sports Time Fan Shop owners Joe and Diana Ward are closing their store after 25 years in business. A closing sale starts on Friday.
Sports Time Fan Shop owners Joe and Diana Ward are closing their store after 25 years in business. A closing sale starts on Friday. The Wichita Eagle

Twenty-five years after opening, Sports Time Fan Shop is closing.

Joe Ward says he and his wife, Diana, had an opportunity to get out of their lease early and decided to take it for a few reasons.

“Well, health, family issues and retirement, and that equation equals old age,” he says. “I wish I could turn the clock back 20 years.”

Ward is 62, and his wife is 57.

The store opened in 1993 near 21st and Tyler and has been at NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road for the last 16 years.

Ward says his store was NewMarket’s first locally owned store to open in 2001.

A store-closing sales is starting on Friday. The sale includes merchandise and fixtures that will be at closeout prices.

Sports Time will close in late June.

“It’s been a great run,” Ward says.

He says KU has been a national champion in that time, the Shockers had a perfect season and a trip to the Final Four, and the Royals went to the World Series a couple of times.

“They don’t happen every day, but when they do, they’re a lot of fun.”

Ward says staff members have become like family.

“That’s been the biggest regret, having to say goodbye to them.”

He says he and his wife will miss their customers, too.

“Some of those customers have been with us since day one,” he says. “I hope a lot of them are going to have a chance to come in and say goodbye, because we’re going to miss them.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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