Carrie Rengers

Hermanson reluctantly starts GoFundMe page for downtown grocery

Phil Hermanson says it’s only reluctantly that he’s started a GoFundMe page for the Wichita Market, a grocery store he plans to open next month at Century Plaza.
Phil Hermanson says it’s only reluctantly that he’s started a GoFundMe page for the Wichita Market, a grocery store he plans to open next month at Century Plaza. The Wichita Eagle

It’s not the route he wants to go, but former state Rep. Phil Hermanson now has a GoFundMe page for his new Wichita Market and other associated businesses he plans to open at Century Plaza at 111 W. Douglas.

“I wasn’t really too keen on that idea,” Hermanson says of asking for money.

“We were working with a credit union, and they kind of backed out at the last minute,” he says. “We were assured that everything was going to be fine. At the very end, they didn’t want to proceed with it.”

Hermanson says if someone gave a lot of money, he would be happy to arrange it as a loan.

“It’s not like I want free money.”

In addition to the grocery store, which Hermanson had hoped to get open in time for the Wichita River Festival, he plans to open a convenience store called the Downtown Express, a coffee bar and specialty food business called Michelle’s Coffee Bar & Specialty Foods, a catering business called ICT Catering and a venue that hasn’t been named yet.

“We’ve got everything ready,” Hermanson says. “We’ve done so much of the ground work. We could be up and running very quickly.”

He has done most of the remodeling work at Century Plaza himself.

“The operating costs right now is what’s killing us,” Hermanson says.

He has a tentative opening date set for Sept. 5.

“We’re by no means giving up,” Hermanson says.

“We just have such a passion for downtown,” he says. “I don’t see this thing ending as a strike out.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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