Carrie Rengers

Reuben Saunders Gallery to move to former Traditions Design Gallery space

Reuben Saunders Gallery owner Reuben Saunders is moving his gallery to the former Traditions Design Gallery space at 3215 E. Douglas. Traditions owner Robin Van Huss, a neighbor who is leasing Saunders the space, calls the gallery a “perfect fit” for the area.
Reuben Saunders Gallery owner Reuben Saunders is moving his gallery to the former Traditions Design Gallery space at 3215 E. Douglas. Traditions owner Robin Van Huss, a neighbor who is leasing Saunders the space, calls the gallery a “perfect fit” for the area. The Wichita Eagle

Ever since news hit that Piccadilly Market is leaving Piccadilly Square at Central and Rock Road and the Sprouts grocery chain is moving in, friends and customers of Reuben Saunders’ nearby gallery have been asking him where he’ll be moving.

“I’ve been getting about 10 calls a day,” Saunders says.

Over in College Hill, Traditions Home owner Robin Van Huss has been fielding her own calls ever since moving her Traditions Design Gallery from 3215 E. Douglas to the 15,000-square-foot Traditions Home space across the street.

Now, Saunders and Van Huss can respond to all those queries with one answer:

Reuben Saunders Gallery and Saunders’ Artworks framing business are moving into the former Design Gallery space, which is just east of Hillside.

“I love the idea of being in the Douglas Design District,” Saunders says.

Though he’s happy in his current space, Saunders says, “I’m sort of an island out here in terms of the art world.”

For instance, on the Final Friday circuit, Saunders says he’s more of a destination for people to drive to than simply pass by in the greater downtown area with other Final Friday stops.

“Being part of that Design District puts you more into the art world,” Saunders says. “I do look forward to the prospect of being part of Final Friday in a little more obvious way.”

Van Huss says her goal has always been to have her store under one roof.

Designer Marion Alley had been running the Traditions Design Gallery until his retirement in February.

“I absolutely wouldn’t have done anything with that building until Marion was ready to retire,” Van Huss says.

She says she always had an art gallery in mind for the space, though. Her Overland Park Traditions has a gallery next door, and Van Huss says the two work well together.

When Van Huss called Saunders to see if he was interested in her space, he asked her, “Did you know I was going to have to move?”

“No, I didn’t,” she said “Do you?”

Van Huss says she was thrilled.

“Of course Reuben has such an amazing reputation,” she says. “It was a perfect fit.”

Saunders is working with Ted Farha of Farha Construction to get the 3,200-square-foot space ready.

It’s bigger than his current 2,200 square feet, which is going to allow Saunders to have space in the back for his framing business without having it be in his gallery space.

“I’ll truly have an art gallery again like I’ve had before,” Saunders says. “That’s just wonderful for me.”

The business, which Saunders opened in 1978, has had several locations through the years.

“I was not planning on making another move at my stage in life, but this is a beautiful old building,” Saunders says.

He’ll move into the new space in January.

Though Saunders still has a couple of more art openings planned for this year, this Final Friday is his last one in the current space.

“I really think the customers I’ve known and had for years will follow me wherever I go,” Saunders says. “I certainly hope so.”

Van Huss owns several buildings in that area.

“I’m always so careful about what I like to put in College Hill.”

She calls Traditions and Saunders’ gallery “a great union.”

Saunders says he agrees.

“I can’t wait to be there.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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