There’s a new tenant for the former Rita’s Italian Ice space near Douglas and Washington downtown, but it’s not a restaurant.
Steven Speakman is opening his third Usave Cleaners there late this month.
“I’m moving it in probably the next three weeks or so,” he says.
The first Usave Cleaners opened in front of the Target on West Maple in 2008, and Speakman bought the discount business in 2014.
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He says he has “a staff now that I can rely on so now I can go expand.”
Also, the west store’s plant can accommodate more business now.
“I built it up to where it can handle maybe double the capacity,” Speakman says.
He opened his second Usave at 110 N. Rock Road a couple of weeks ago and plans a total of four or five stores eventually, including northwest Wichita and Derby.
“I need to be located all over town,” Speakman says.
“Once the volume’s too high, I can build a plant out east.”
Part of his plan to increase business is to reemphasize the VIP bags the cleaners is known for.
“I want to try to get everybody back in,” Speakman says.
Each piece of dry cleaning is $2.75, and the $30 red VIP bags give customers 30 cents off each item.
There’s also a new $50 silver bag that gives 50 cents off each item. Red bag customers can upgrade to silver bags for $20.
How well the two new stores do will impact when Speakman starts expanding again, but he says he’s eager to do it.
“The market’s right for it.”