Carrie Rengers

Popcorner to open flagship east Wichita store

The Popcorner is moving from Andover to Wichita to open a new flagship store at Preston Trails.
The Popcorner is moving from Andover to Wichita to open a new flagship store at Preston Trails. The Wichita Eagle

Popcorner owners Kirsten Bender and her father, Roger Placzek, had always hoped to expand their Andover store and warehouse.

Instead, it’s shrinking due to a Dollar Tree that’s going to open at Andover Plaza.

“Unfortunately, that didn’t really leave us with much room to operate,” Bender says. “It was pretty heartbreaking, but we’re trying to look at it with a positive mindset.”

The positve part is they’re opening a new store at Preston Trails at Central and Greenwich in October.

They’ll keep the Andover space as well through the end of the holiday season this year because so many customers come in then.

“We didn’t want them to not be able to find us,” Bender says.

The new space is 2,500 square feet, which is smaller than the 3,000-square-foot Andover space, but Placzek says it will be better configured.

“We’re going to have a lot smarter storage with our warehousing,” he says. “We started with a clean slate over there.”

The new space will feature an observation window so customers can watch how things are made.

“It’s really cool,” Bender says.

“We’re really excited to unveil this store as our own design,” Placzek says.

The reconfigured space will allow the business to expand into online sales, he says.

Adam Clements of Builders Inc. handled the deal.

Last year, Popcorner opened its first Wichita store in the same center as Jimmie’s Family Diner at 21st and Tyler.

While they wanted to enter the Wichita market, Bender says she and her father also wanted to remain in Andover. She says they wanted a corner site but couldn’t find one.

“That’s, like, the sad part about it,” she says. “We just want to convey to the Andover community … it wasn’t our choice to leave.”

She says the new site is still close to Andover.

“I think we’ll reach more people there, too.”

The plan is for an early October opening, but Placzek says it will be tight to meet the deadline.

“It’s just coming down to the razor’s edge.”

Bender says it will happen, though.

“This is going to be our flagship location … so we’re real excited about getting open before … the holiday season.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers