News Columns & Blogs

Ken-Mar Family Drugs to close after almost 40 years to make way for Walmart

WICHITA — After almost 40 years of being a thriving part of the neighborhood around 13th and Oliver, Ken-Mar Family Drugs at Providence Square is closing to make way for a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

"Man, I hate to see them go out of business. Wow," says Stanette Hawkins, who worked at the drug store in the 1980s. "I just can't believe that."

Owner and pharmacist Darrel Steinshouer is rather surprised himself.

The landlord "sent me a letter. You got 60 days to get out."

Saturday is the last day in business.

"It's a loss," Steinshouer says. "It's just been part of my life."

He and his pharmacist wife, Sylvia, and their store have been integral to people's lives in that area through the decades after they opened in 1972.

"It's amazing because everybody has a story," says Carla Eckels, a reporter with KMUW, 89.1-FM.

Eckels used to work for Ken-Mar Family Drugs and says four generations of her family have shopped there.

The Steinshouers "just really have helped people in this community," Eckels says.

"This one little lady came in and said, 'Darrel, can you give me my white pills?'

"Now, there are thousands of white pills, and he went right on back. It was amazing. I just went, 'How in the world?' "

The Steinshouers are residents of College Hill, but their lives have revolved around the 13th and Oliver neighborhood.

"I actually know the people in this community better than where we live," Sylvia Steinshouer says.