Unique businesses on the rise as retailers close

Wag and Whiskers Pet Hotel opens later this month

GARDEN CITY, Kan (KSNW) — There’s a shift in retail business going on in Garden City. Some long-time businesses are closing their brick and mortar stores while new, less traditional businesses are opening.

After nearly four decades, RT Sporting Goods is closing its doors.

“We can’t compete with the internet,” said owner Steve Spellman, “and we’re tired of trying quite frankly.”

Spellman says he’ll continue to sell sports equipment to schools but can no longer maintain a brick and mortar store.

Myca Bunch of Garden City Downtown Vision said RT Sporting Goods, and other retailers closing on Main Street, were instrumental in the city’s growth.

“They’ve been staples of downtown for so many years,” said Bunch, “and they’ve helped downtown Garden City transition from decade to decade.”

They’re leading one final transition. After about 20 years, The Bike Rack is also saying goodbye, but new businesses keep popping up.

One new business is a dog hotel, which will open in the next few weeks. The owner has been housing pets by appointment and is doing well even without an official launch.

“I can take five dogs right now, and I’ve been consistently full,” said owner Mackenzie Nix. “So it’s been good and fun.”

Escape the Clock opened in December and has taken off quickly.

“The reception with the community has been phenomenal, well past what we were expecting,” said Cecilia Runnion, Escape the Clock’s general manager. “Just the excitement of unique entertainment here, I think there was definitely a need for that.”

The owners of Roots are eager to open their juice bar and yoga studio this summer.

“I realized how much I was lacking that self-care here and really missing that yoga studio atmosphere,” said Alicia Gian-Maciulis, a co-owner of Roots.

It’s all part of a larger plan for garden. Roots received a $50,000 grant from the city through a program meant to help grow the downtown area.

“They’re offering services that you can’t find anywhere else,” said Bunch about these unique businesses downtown, “and I think for a large part, people are looking for an experience downtown.”

Bunch says development funds still remain for this year, and they can be used for new or existing businesses in the downtown area.

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