One Wichita city leader is calling a space that will be opening in town early next year a “circle of success.”
You may know it as the Commerce Bank’s northeast branch that’s set to close December 28. The bank is donating the building.
“I get to make all the deposits here and do all the deposits. I love this bank. I’m going to miss it,” said Sheryl Wesley.
A bittersweet farewell will be coming soon for Wesley, who has been a loyal customer of the Commerce Bank on 21st and Grove for decades.
“Ooh over 30 years. I got to know each of the tellers by name, and I got to see them rotate in and out going to different branches,” she said. “It’s been- this is like family.”
The bank building will turn into “Founders Grove” in less than two months.
The organizations taking up the space are: the Create Campaign, Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce, and Camp Destination Innovation. These are groups that will provide training and mentoring services to current and future business leaders.
“All of that coming in one spot is going to change the area, because I do believe entrepreneurship is how we change lower income communities,” said Brandon Johnson, a Wichita city councilmember.
The area has seen the loss of a QuikTrip and Walmart over the last few years. And, there were also recent concerns by residents about a Family Dollar replacing the vacant Boys and Girls Club, rather than offering a business that sells produce.
But, Johnson says after seeing so many spots close, this new space could bring positive growth.
“I think the rest of the area is going to continue to develop, and as businesses start from Founders Grove, I think that’ll help change as well. I think more eyes will be in the community.”
And, while Wesley and other Commerce customers will have to find a different bank, she is excited about the change, and the new memories it can bring.
“I did love it here,” she said. “And, I know I’m going to love the new place that’s going to be here.”
The ATM will remain at the building for anyone in the area who still needs to use it.
It will probably be moved from inside to outside the building