Editor’s Note: This is the 10th in a series of stories featuring The Telegram’s top 10 news stories for 2014.
From late August to mid-October, Garden City shoppers were treated to a multitude of great deals during a series of grand openings for retailers who set up shop in the Schulman Crossing development.
The story is No. 1 on The Telegram’s list of Top 10 Stories of the Year.
Cato Fashion, Petco, T.J. Maxx, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hobby Lobby, Ross Dress for Less, Bling, and Ulta Beauty all held grand openings. All but Bling were announced last year as the major tenants that North Carolina-based real estate company Collett & Associates had lined up for Phase II of the Schulman Crossing development.
The first phase of the Schulman Crossing project, Menards, opened in June 2013. Phase II, the shopping center, added more than 200,000 square feet of retail space north and west of the intersection of Schulman Avenue and the bypass.
At an Oct. 23 celebration, developer John Collett praised city leaders and staff for their cooperation and work over the past several years to make Schulman Crossing a reality.
“We’ve done probably 10 public-private partnerships around the country, but I don’t think I’ve ever had one that’s been more enjoyable — everyone working together on a common goal of delivering a great shopping center like this,” he said.
Schulman Crossing is a 180,000-square-foot shopping center. Collett said the company plans to add even more retail, roughly 40,000 square feet, in an area directly north of the shopping center, as well as adding more restaurants and shops in the eight or nine acres of property to the west over the next two to three years.
Collett also announced the signing of a new barbecue restaurant called Rib Crib.
Rib Crib, a Tulsa, Okla.-based table-service restaurant chain, specializes in barbecue and smoked meats, and is known for its spare ribs, pork spare and baby back ribs, and their bold, mild and hot sauces.
Rib Crib opened its first store in Tulsa in 1992. It now boasts 50 restaurants in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa and Florida. In Kansas, Rib Crib is located in Derby and Pittsburg. Its menu, viewable on its website, includes a variety of options such as wings, sandwiches, burgers and ribs.
“It’s a great, great little restaurant. I know you’ll enjoy it,” Collett said.
An opening date for Rib Crib has not been announced. The restaurant is planning to construct a new building on one of the Schulman Crossing lots, according to Collett staff. Another retailer, Dollar Tree, is also planning to open at Schulman but opening details haven’t been released.
Collett and Associates continues to work on signing up additional retailers and restaurants for Schulman Crossing. While they aren’t ready to make an announcement, Collett is close to signing agreements with up to four prospects.
“That’s what happens when you’ve got a great lineup of tenants like this. Deals beget deals. Good things make more good things happen,” Collett said in October.
In addition to the inline stores, Collett is looking to lease two buildings in front of the retail center, likely locations of small restaurants or mom-and-pop type establishments. Each building can house three to five tenants.
One thing that assisted the development was an extension of Lareu Street and work the city and state did to improve the intersection at Schulman Avenue and the bypass. The infrastructure improvements opened the property for development and helped attract major tenants to the shopping center.
All the tenants agreed to minimum commitments of 10 years, Collett said.
“That’s a major financial commitment. We’ve got a great lineup,” he said.
The stores are already experiencing good things. Many of the retailers corporate offices reported to Collett that they were having record sales at their Garden City stores just in the short amount of time they were open.
“That makes you happy when their bosses are telling them they made a wise decision to come to Garden City,” Collett said.
Mayor Roy Cessna said Collett’s exciting lineup of stores bodes well for continuing Garden City’s standing as the regional center of western Kansas.
“The new stores and jobs they created will be good for our economy, and for that of southwest Kansas,” Cessna said.