GARDEN PLAIN: Wanted – Businesses for Main Street storefronts

Garden Plain storefronts formerly occupied by Tactical Precision Arms, Main Street Cafe and the Myles Jennings law office have recently become vacant. The former VFW hall has been vacant for some time. Local leaders are urging entrepreneurs to consider locating their businesses on Main Street.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the March 30, 2017 print edition. To see stories like this sooner, subscribe to The Times-Sentinel for home delivery. Call 316-540-0500.

By Sam Jack

GARDEN PLAIN – Earlier this month, the Garden Plain Chamber of Commerce highlighted five commercial properties that are available for sale or lease on Main Street.

The goal, according to Chamber president Seth Pauly, was to draw attention to the properties and get people thinking about whether they have a business, or could start a business, that would be a good fit for the community.

“A couple of (the properties) have been available for quite a while, but lately, more have become available,” Pauly said. “I think three have come up for sale within the past three months. The reason for putting it out on Facebook was to let people know, who may not know otherwise, that they’re available.”

There was no one factor that led to the spate of vacant storefronts, Mayor Larry Lampe said. Properties available for sale or lease include the former homes of Main Street Cafe, Tactical Precision Arms, Dooley’s Rainwater and the Myles Jenning Law Office.

One property, at 409 N. Main, “used to be the VFW hall,” Lampe said. “Their band of people got older, and they didn’t have any new vets coming in, so they sold the building to a guy who was going to move his machine shop into it, and then another, bigger, building came available here in town.  It’s better for him in the long run.”

As for Tactical Precision Arms, Lampe said he understood the business was doing brisk business, to the point where the owner felt he needed to pull back on the amount of work he was doing.

“I think his was business burnout, unfortunately,” Lampe said.

Both Lampe and Pauly said they want to identify people who are committed to being part of the Garden Plain community for the long haul. That goes especially for the storefront adjacent to the city offices, which has been home to a succession of restaurants – most recently, Main Street Cafe.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time to get established, especially with the market (in the surrounding area),” Pauly said. “Cheney has quite a few restaurants, and so does Goddard. Hopefully we can find the right individual to get in there and establish themselves for the long haul.”

Lampe agreed with that sentiment.

“I’m hoping like heck someone will come in with a real commitment to the town. The townspeople have always been supportive of new businesses that come in,” he said.

Tax abatement incentives, offered jointly by the city, county and school district recently expired; Lampe said the Garden Plain City Council would probably look at new tax incentives soon.

For photos of five storefront properties currently available in Garden Plain, along with contact information for the sellers or lessors, visit the Garden Plain Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.