WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Retailer Toys R Us is announcing the closure of at least 180 stores across the country. One of those will be the location adjacent to Towne West Mall. The location for Babies R Us on the east side will remain open, according to media reports from NBC News.
Leaders at Towne West Mall remain strong and upbeat on the future. When asked if the Babies R Us West location closure could hurt traffic numbers in the area, the mall released the following statement to KSN.
“Retail brands come and go and that has always been the case in the retail industry. When a store closes in the community it provides an opportunity for new retailers to come to Wichita. At Towne West Square, our more than 95 national and local tenants are focused on delivering a dynamic experience for our guests. By providing a mix of things to do and things to buy, with the new addition of Bosley Tire & Wheel, Towne West Square continues to deliver a combination of retail, services, dining and entertainment options, as well as activities and events to keep shoppers engaged and returning often.” – Caitlin Kozak, Marketing Director of Towne West Square.
And, while there are some “for rent” signs around Towne West Mall, there are some new businesses as well.
Bosley Tire just expanded a couple weeks ago, and chose part of the old Sears location at Towne West Mall.
“This is a good fit for us. We like the traffic here,” said Caleb Bosley, manager of the Bosley’s Tire at Towne West. “We have been here about three weeks and we like it. I feel like we’re actually going to bring business more over to Towne West because having a consistent flow of people to our shop to get their tires and wheels put on… it should bring a lot more to the mall because while people are waiting for their tires and wheels they sometimes say, hey, could we go by the mall.”
Wichita city council member, Jeff Blubaugh, says the area is ready for growth.
“When 235 and Kellogg is done, we are in for some major changes here,” said Blubaugh. “This area is planned for very large growth. We’ve had one of the largest investments in Wichita in a very long time. $400 million to complete this 235 and Kellogg transformation, almost half a billion dollars and the businesses along Kellogg Drive? The corridor (businesses) have really been planning.”
Blubaugh says he expects to have a “major announcement” in about 10 days for the area.
“A lot of people say this area looks a little tired, it looks a little worn out,” says Blubaugh. “I think there’s going to be a huge opportunity for more retail and hopefully this will flourish into what they wanted Towne West to be. I don’t know that it ever quite performed the way Towne East did and the way they anticipated it would. We have to be business-friendly and work with businesses.”
Bosley Tires, meanwhile, says business is good, and they welcome any changes.
“We just think this is a good fit, and there really is good traffic in the area,” said Bosley. “We thought it would be a good place. We are open for business.”
Babies R Us management at corporate Toys R Us did not offer an official comment for this story.