Carrie Rengers

J. Crew Mercantile to open at Bradley Fair this spring

Wichita’s Bradley Fair will be getting a J. Crew Mercantile store similar to this one in Peoria, Ill.
Wichita’s Bradley Fair will be getting a J. Crew Mercantile store similar to this one in Peoria, Ill. Courtesy photo

J. Crew Group is working on opening its ninth J. Crew Mercantile store nationally, and it happens to be in Wichita’s Bradley Fair.

“We had been in discussions with J. Crew for quite some time about … opening a J. Crew store in Wichita,” says Amy Liebau, a spokeswoman for center developer Laham Development.

“During those discussions, they launched their Mercantile concept,” she says.

The company started the concept last summer to offer the classic styles it’s known for at a lower price point.

Liebau says as discussions progressed, J. Crew and Laham Development decided J. Crew Mercantile would be a good fit for Wichita. She calls it “one of the hottest new concepts in the country.”

“This is very exciting for the shopping center and for Wichita to get a national tenant like this, and I think it will continue to drive traffic to the center.”

J. Crew Mercantile will open later this spring. She says tenants such as J. Crew make Bradley Fair more attractive to other national tenants as well.

The store will be between J. Jill and Soma Intimates in the space where Brick’s used to be. Bradley Fair added extra square footage behind the former Brick’s space for a total of 5,500 square feet.

Because it’s a larger space, the store will be able to carry clothing for men, women and children, unlike some other J. Crew Mercantile stores.

Christi Royse of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal. SPT Architecture is the architect, and Key Construction is the contractor.

Liebau says J. Crew has long been a popular brand.

“J. Crew is one of the highly requested stores by our shoppers.”

She says there are a number of reasons for that.

“They’ve got product that appeals to a wide variety of people,” Liebau says. “It’s trendy, but at the same time timeless.”

The president’s children, Malia and Sasha Obama, both wore J. Crew apparel at their father’s first inauguration, and Malia Obama did at his second as well.

“There was a big media splash when that happened,” Liebau says.

She says J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, previously with the Gap, is another reason for the chain’s popularity.

There’s still space at Bradley Fair where Eddie Bauer was before moving to the former Coldwater Creek space on the other side of J. Jill last year.

“We’re hoping to have an announcement on that very soon,” Liebau says.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s space also is going to become available when it moves to be with sister concepts World Market and Buy Buy Baby at Greenwich Place, the 106-acre development at K-96 and Greenwich where the new Wichita Sports Forum is.

That will leave about 34,000 square feet at Bradley Fair, which Liebau says will leave room for “another hot national concept.”

“We expect 2016 to be very exciting for Bradley Fair.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers