Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Johnson's General Stores

When new owners took over the Country Club Plaza more than a year ago, the owners of Decori on the Plaza hoped they would sign more mom-and-pop places.

“Unique shops, something that is not in every shopping center,” said Ralph Liebetrau, a partner in the home accents, gifts and holiday decor store, at the time. “If you have something at the mall down the street, why come to the Plaza? But I know the money is in the big-box retailers.”

But Decori recently closed after six years.

Liebetrau and partner Jim Scarpino said they were told two weeks before Christmas that a Verizon store would take their spot. If they relocated on the Plaza, they said they would have had to pay a “much higher” rent for a temporary space, one that they might have to vacate with only 15 days notice.

“They had been talking to other people about our location and didn’t even tell us,” Scarpino said. “They don’t care about occupancy, they just care about the dollar.”

In a statement, officials with the Country Club Plaza said: “The rents are reflective of the quality of the asset.”

They also added that they “can confirm that Verizon is not a future tenant.”

Verizon officials said they could not “confirm this location at this time.”

Decori opened as a holiday pop-up in 2010 and came back the next year at 112 W. 47th St., where it has operated year-round.

“People came to our store because of our Christmas items. When you think about the Plaza you think about Christmas,” Scarpino said.

Decori had previously operated in the Northland. Now it will return. The owners are remodeling a space at 4169 N. Mulberry Drive in The Village at Briarcliff and they hope to open there by early April.

“We’re going to be doing some higher-end items. I think it will be very positive for us and it’s a more mom-and-pop oriented center,” Scarpino said.

▪ Aldo, a retailer of high-quality footwear and accessories, has temporarily closed on the Plaza. The chain is remodeling the space at 4728 Broadway and plans to reopen in mid-March.

▪ In December, the “Nike Store at Country Club Plaza” filed for a tenant finish permit for 211 Nichols Road. At the time, Nike officials declined to comment on “rumors.”

Some consumers hoped the store, in the former Halls Plaza building, would be one featuring the latest products.

But earlier this month, the Nike website posted that it was looking for a “new Nike Factory Store coach (department manager) Country Club Plaza Kansas City Missouri,” as well as a store manager and assistant store manager for the Nike Factory Store.

Nike officials have not returned emails seeking comment on the Plaza “factory store” positions. But the website now says is looking for managers for the new “Nike Store” on the Country Country Club Plaza.

In a statement, Plaza officials said that while they are “in talks with Nike regarding a concept, it is not a Factory Store.”

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