Archive for Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grocery store to close its doors

Jane Ferris shops Wednesday around what’s left on the shelves at Wolf Creek Marketplace, 15256 Wolf Creek Parkway. Empty shelves, clearance baskets and a somber mood are all that remains as the grocery store prepares to shut down following disappointing sales since its opening in July 2009.

Jane Ferris shops Wednesday around what’s left on the shelves at Wolf Creek Marketplace, 15256 Wolf Creek Parkway. Empty shelves, clearance baskets and a somber mood are all that remains as the grocery store prepares to shut down following disappointing sales since its opening in July 2009.

February 24, 2010

After only seven months in business, Wolf Creek Marketplace is closing its doors.

The 44,000-square-foot Basehor supermarket with its lighted howling wolf décor opened July 17, 2009, and will see its last customers this weekend.

Operating manager Kevin Barclay said the store didn’t have an exact closing date but would most likely not stay open past Sunday. The marketplace didn’t have enough shoppers to keep it afloat in such a grueling economy, Barclay said.

“We just didn’t have enough traffic,” Barclay said Wednesday. “The people in Basehor really supported it, but we didn’t have enough traffic from the outlying areas, I think because Basehor isn’t really a destination shopping area.”

Barclay cited lack of development along Wolf Creek Parkway and the absence of the store’s planned second access point off 150th Street as additional reasons it needed to shut down.

“To me, a lot of it is that street that never went in,” Barclay said. “You know, you’re driving along and thinking, ‘Oh I missed my turn.’ You should have another turn, but instead, I’m forcing you to take that one turn. Then it becomes a hassle. I really think that hurt us.”

The store was a much-awaited, highly requested business in Basehor, and Barclay along with Benchmark Management owners Ed McIntosh and John Bell fought for more than five years to make it happen.

But the grand opening was both a little too late and a little too early, Barclay said.

“We were about two years too late getting it in because our projections were from years ago before the economy bottomed out and the rooftops stopped building up,” Barclay said. “And we were about two years too early for this Cerner Corporation to go in at The Legends. With that coming in, those jobs and people moving here, this area’s just going to boom. It was a huge culmination of things that caused this closing.”

Basehor Mayor Terry Hill expressed his sadness Wednesday about the demise of the grocery store, but said he was optimistic the building could be reused or a new store could open in the city.

“I’m very disappointed,” Hill said. “I think the community supported it, and the city is disappointed it didn’t survive. We’re looking forward to the possibility of a new supermarket coming and being successful. The community needs it.”

Shoppers taking items off the store’s now sparse shelves to place in nearly empty carts tell the same solemn story of Wolf Creek Marketplace’s collapse.

“I’m really sad,” Basehor resident Jane Ferris said. “The residents of the city waited a long time to have our own supermarket. Whether it was because of the economy or whatever else, I don’t know, but all of us are really sad.”

As Barclay looks around at what was a bustling business just seven months ago, he can still find a few reasons to smile.

“I was blessed with a wonderful crew,” he said, adding he has already sent lists of his staff to other stores in the state to help everyone find jobs. “They worked really hard. And I need to thank all the people who did support us. That’s what I will miss the most, all the people who came in who we got to know by name. I’ll sure miss them.”

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