WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – This week we learned that the downtown grocery store that Wichita was promised by summer may not open at all. This news has come with some unexpected sacrifices that those behind the project say they are determined to work through. Tuesday, KSN spoke with the project managers, Phil and Michelle Hermanson about the reason behind the delay.
“It honestly was just promise after promise,” said Michelle. “We moved on the site over six months ago and Heartland Credit Union made us feel like it was a sure thing.”
Back in April, Phil and Michelle announced that downtown Wichita would have a grocery store and a coffee bar at 111 W Douglas by Riverfest. That date was pushed back and then pushed back again. According to the Hermanson’s, they had the space and investors and they fulfilled each of the underwriting requirements.
“We met with Heartland Credit Union and they were very pleasant to work with,” said Phil. ” We had a great loan officer that was very enthusiastic but they started going through changes; a new CFO and other internal movement.”
Phil says he received a call the night before the final appraisal saying, Heartland Credit Union would no longer be able to finance the grocery store.
Over the last three months, Phil and Michelle invested over $100,000 of their own money into the space, to create the grocery store and coffee bar they promised.
“I sold my wedding ring,” said Michelle, looking down at her ring finger. “I mean we really believed in this and were told it was a sure thing. We wanted so badly to do this for the downtown community and to tell you the truth, we still do.”
Both Phil and Michelle plan to continue investing in the project and showing the space to potential investors. However, they say they will need the community’s help to get the store opened by the end of the year.
“We believe in this and know that the downtown community wants this to happen so we plan to keep to our word,” said Phil and Michelle.
For a short-term solution they have started a GoFundMe page .
KSN reached out to Heartland Credit Union for a statement and has not heard back.