Alliance along the Avenue

Douglas Design District businesses work together to promote growth

Written by Kristin Baker | Photography by Visual Fusion Photographic

The Douglas Design District, the eastern entrance to downtown along Douglas Avenue from Oliver to Washington, consists of local merchants working together to support one another and the economy.

Karen Cundiff of Transitions Group has been involved with the district since its inception in February 2007, when several businesses planned a meeting to talk about the future of the area.

We are here to promote each other's businesses, Cundiff said. What's good for one person down here is going to be good for the next.

At the time, many of the businesses already were located in succession along Douglas, so it was a natural progression that the district formed. Since then, more business have joined the cause, and the organization's efforts have brought attention to the district.

Customers love the idea of a design district, and they love the area, said Traditions Home owner Robin Van Huss. They love supporting those businesses.

Cundiff cited the rich history of many of the businesses in the design district. Many of the shops have been here for decades, she said. What really makes our district are the people here. Some of the younger generation who are coming in are also adding a lot.

Members of the organization have worked with the city of Wichita on the Douglas Design District Streetscapes Improvement Plan to enhance the appearance of the design district with vegetation and other aesthetic improvements.

The group also plans events to attract shoppers to the area, like this year's Avenue Art Days, an event sponsored by Spectrum Paint where more than 200 artists helped paint murals in a section of the design district.

Any business located within one block of the stretch of Douglas the district encompasses can join the organization, which hosts a monthly gathering for members and consists of working committees. Non-profit businesses located within the district enjoy free membership.

It's really kind of exciting, the things going on down here, Cundiff said.

Razook's Furniture,
1134 E. Douglas Ave.

Razook's Furniture is located in a turn of the 20th-century building in Old Town. The store has been in business for 63 years. We feature high-quality name brands, both furniture and accessories, and everyday low prices, owner Bob Razook said. The store offers custom ordering and full service.

Aspen Boutique,
4724 E. Douglas Ave.

Monica and James Smits opened Aspen Traders in 1987, and business took off because people loved to shop in a boutique. The boutique offers jewelry, clothing accessories, shoes, legwear, PJs and much more from quality designers.

Mostly it is in the one-on-one with customers that we find the real satisfaction, Monica Smits said. Smits said the store specializes in service. We are here to help you find your best look, and we love getting to know your tastes, she said. Come in in 2016 and get your pair of FLY London shoes, which are hot all over the country.

Designer's Expo,
1409 E. Douglas Ave.

Kathy Haines was working in real estate when she purchased Designer's Expo in 2005, a store that today specializes in home finishes, from hardware to tile to custom rugs.

The store helps home and business owners select decorative finishes suited to their styles and budgets. We are perfect for the customer who is looking for something they haven't seen everywhere else, Haines said.

The store offers custom ordering and design services, and new products arrive at the store weekly. If they really want to feel like their job is personalized, that's where we are trying to excel, Haines said.

Spectrum Paint,
2310 E. Douglas Ave.

Spectrum Paint is an independent paint dealer that purchased Andrew Inc., a longtime Wichita paint store in the design district, last year. Spectrum started business in 1986, and it is now the largest independent paint dealer in the nation. Spectrum offers a variety of paint brands, including Benjamin Moore.

Spectrum is an independent business with strong family ties, said Gentry Stafford, Spectrum's vice president of marketing and store development. We are committed to being a local paint supplier for Wichita.

Come in to check out Benjamin Moore's 2016 paint color of the year, simply white, and PPG's color of the year, paradise found.

Traditions Home,
3220 E. Douglas Ave.

Traditions Home came to Wichita in 1984, bringing lines that had not been offered before in the Midwest. The store specializes in some of the most well-known furniture lines in the country, including Stickley, Stressless, Century and Sherrill.

Most of our furniture is American-made. Comfort and classic design come first with our customers," said owner Robin Van Huss.

The first months of 2016 will bring a new furniture collection from Century designed by well-known interior designer Thomas O'Brien.

The Workroom ICT,
150 N. Cleveland

Interior designer Janelle King of JK Design saw an opportunity for a custom sewing workroom for homeowners and designers alike, and The Workroom ICT was born.

The Workroom offers custom home textiles, including window treatments, bedding, pillows and upholstery, while still focusing on offering interior design services. The showroomwhich is open 8 a.m.1 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.5 p.m. Saturday features locally made artisan goods for the home, from furnishings and wall art to candles and soaps.

The showroom gained recent notoriety for the ICT #FlagSwag line and its 1969 VW bus used to sell Wichita flag wares. The Wichita flag resurgence is going strong, with products available including t-shirts, coffee mugs, keychains, hats, tote bags and more.

Ferguson Phillips Homeware,
4801 E. Douglas Ave.

Ferguson Phillips was established in 2001 by Jeff and Brenda Cody, who envisioned a place where Wichitans could learn about the latest trends in interior design, gather resources for their own projects and purchase fine furnishings and home decor.

Ferguson Phillips specializes in maximizing any room's potential through unique and timeless design. Through collaboration with clients and designers, the team at Ferguson Phillips is able to create spaces that are not limited by current trends, but instead evolve with them. By creating a proper flow of design within the home, the store strives to create welcoming spaces that perfectly reflect the owner's tastes and interests. While the showroom is a place of design inspiration, it is also a great resource for unique gifts for every occasion. Recently Ferguson Phillips added specialty jewelry to its collection of giftable items.

Wichita Wood Floor Specialists,
3203 E. Douglas Ave.

Rachel and Jesse Sample were sanding and refinishing wood floors when they noticed a demand for additional services.

We started getting asked, can you install wood floors in our house? Rachel Sample said. Jesse then became the only National Wood Flooring Association trained and certified wood floor installer in the area.

The company has experienced great growth during the past several years. It also offers wood-floor cleaning services.

Currently, the business helps homeowners achieve trends in wood floors, like routing a thinner plank to make the planks look wider and newer and using reclaimed barn wood, in this case from Missouri, to finish a home floor.

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