Carrie Rengers

New snack shop and a couple of pop-up shops close to opening following delays

Workroom owner Janelle King finally — belatedly — is on the verge of opening her new Birney’s Snack Shop and the Garage at Cleveland Corner retail incubator at First and Cleveland.

“After what has been a long construction process and just challenges, we are finally rockin’ and rolling,” she says.

King says because of the lengthy delay, Senor Munchies decided to not open at the incubator space as planned. Instead Magda Burciaga has chosen permanent space that she’ll soon open.

“The timing made more sense for her,” King says.

The application process is now open at for pop-up retailers to apply to use the incubator space for the next four months as well as another retailer to use the space from March 2020 until Feb. 2021.

King says that during the holidays, the space will be divided into two for a couple of pop-up shops “just to activate the space for right now.”

The Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation donated $53,500 for five years of support to retailers looking for a low-cost, low-risk start.

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King says one of the main challenges with opening the incubator and Birney’s was severely underbid construction costs.

“Therefore the incentive for the contractors to keep working on it wasn’t that great.”

She found new contractors who are finishing both spaces.

Fidelity Bank donated extra money to help get the incubator going, King says.

She says she also had a tough lesson in city requirements and regulations.

“To be honest, I think there was just (a) learning curve.”

King obtained a liquor license for Birney’s but then realized customers wouldn’t be able to walk with drinks through all three shops.

“To me that was the whole goal and point.”

She says she wants to make shopping and hanging out at the stores an experience, so she’s reapplied for a liquor license.

“We’re just doing it all under my JK Design umbrella company, which we think should allow that walk-through.”

King hopes to be ready by Oct. 1 for pop-up shops to start opening.

Oct. 12 is what she calls her “season-ending blowout market,” which she holds outside next to the Workroom, and she wants Birney’s to be ready by then even if it’s with a limited menu.

“It’s one of the busiest days of the year for our store.”

King says Birney’s will be the same concept as the Workroom by representing local and artisanal goods, except the focus will be on food and drinks.

There will be farmer’s market-type items such as honey, jam and salsa, and a limited menu featuring local beer, coffee and favorite foods from around Wichita.

King says she wants to expand the definition of local and art to include food and drink.

It “is really just featuring the best of all things local.”