Topeka’s Buckle store will soon be changing locations.
Casey Richardson, store manager, confirmed this week that the clothing retailer’s local team has plans to move out of its current storefront in West Ridge Mall and into West Ridge Plaza, a nearby strip mall on Wanamaker Road.
“We started building this month, in January,” she said, “and we plan to be in the week before Easter.”
Buckle’s new location will be suite 140 in West Ridge Plaza, the strip mall at 2130 S.W. Wanamaker Road that is also home to such stores as TJ Maxx and Target.
According to a permits map on the city of Topeka’s website, Buckle secured a building permit on Dec. 22 for interior alterations at that location.
Richardson said the clothing retailer is doing its “normal Buckle things” as far as renovations go.
“We do the brick pillars on the inside of the building, the marble countertops, just kind of making it look like a Buckle store,” she said. “We’ll get new flooring, new paint on the walls, that kind of thing.”
Richardson also indicated Buckle will look to hire about 10 new employees as it makes the move, because it expects to see “a large increase” in business.
“We’re going to be hiring for part-time, full-time, management and leadership positions,” she said.
In its new location at West Ridge Plaza, Buckle will have the same landlord it did at the mall, according to Troy Forrest, Buckle’s senior director of marketing.
Forrest said this move and several others Buckle plans to make nationwide throughout the year aren’t attempts to abandon traditional malls.
“It’s has nothing to do with that,” he said. “We have some very, very profitable stores in a lot of great malls, and a lot of our mall stores are doing very well.”
Still, he acknowledged that current traffic patterns made the new location in Topeka “a can’t miss” for the company, which has about 450 stores nationwide.
“We want to take advantage of those patterns and the accessibility,” Forrest said. “Being outside of a mall sometimes, depending on the particular demographic you’re looking at, can really help with (a customer’s) decision to choose Buckle first.”
Buckle is at least the second clothing retailer to move out of West Ridge Mall since the beginning of 2020. Early last year, Old Navy moved from the mall to the Wanamaker Hills shopping center, located at 1740 S.W. Wanamaker Road.
The mall is now owned Wells Fargo, which took over ownership in a foreclosure auction in late 2019, and is managed by The Woodmont Company, a Texas-based real estate firm.
Woodmont representatives in charge of leasing at the mall didn’t respond to requests for comment regarding the mall’s current occupancy rate.