The Furniture Mall of Kansas will open a 10,000-square-foot retail outlet in downtown Topeka by the end of the month.
The new space is being remodeled in the mall’s distribution center at 140 S.E. Jefferson, located at the north end of the former Hallmark facility, said Jess Bundy, project manager.
“It’s going to be an outlet, which is brand-new furniture, a showroom for things at outlet prices, close-out purchases, and then also we will have a scratch and dent area here as well,” she said.
Bundy said the 10,000-square-foot space doesn’t impact the furniture mall’s presence at West Ridge Mall.
“We just wanted to be over here for people who like to shop in downtown and maybe not go over to the mall,” she said. “We’re looking to service a different customer in a different part of town.”
The new retail space will be staffed by eight employees, Bundy said, which includes some new positions and some transfers of people who already work for the company.
Charles Scott will manage the new location, which is scheduled for a minor remodeling to include paint and other updates before it opens on Sept. 30.
Scott has been working at 140 S.E. Jefferson, where the company opened on Fridays and Saturdays to sell furniture that was discounted, customer returns and even some things that were “gently” used. Now, those items will be moved to the back of the area and in the front, newer items at low price points will be brought in for sale. The new store hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The target market we’re going for is people on a budget,” Scott said.
The development of new stores like this one is “thrilling” for Vince Frye, president and CEO of Downtown Topeka, Inc. The furniture store’s announcement comes soon after the announcement that Pennants, 915 S. Kansas Ave., will open next year featuring a restaurant, bar, beer garden, bowling lanes and a retro arcade. In addition, Topeka businessman John Federico purchased a run-down building at 106 S.E. 8th Ave. with the eye toward revitalizing it.
“This is exactly what we were expecting when we had the redevelopment project and the private sector partnering to revitalize downtown,” Frye said. “We knew it wasn’t going to happen immediately to see some of these properties full. The exciting thing was, we’ve had 25 to 30 buildings purchased downtown since that announcement, all in the hands of local developers, and now we’re seeing the fruits of that.”
The announcement that the Topeka City Council would fund infrastructure improvements was in December 2012, Frye said.
In recent months, Frye said more buildings off of Kansas Avenue have been selling or drawing investor interest.
“I’m confident that we’ll see things moving towards the river,” he said. “This is what we knew was coming and it’s truly exciting to see.”