Just four years ago, Dean & Deluca said its Leawood store was doing so well it would expand.
The Wichita-based company enclosed the patio so customers could use it year-round, and it enlarged its made-from-scratch pastries department.
A year ago, it added meat, seafood and produce to its lineup: Atlantic Sapphire salmon from an inland farm in Florida, pork from Iowa and chicken from Miller Poultry in Indiana.
But now the gourmet foods and kitchenware retailer is closing the store at 4700 W. 119th St. — on a prime corner spot of Town Center Plaza — on May 21.
It issued this statement through its public relations company: “Closing a store is always a difficult decision, because of the impact on our customers, associates and the community. As we continue to transform our business, we will focus on our core business in New York and our digital capabilities."
Town Center Plaza opened in 1996, and Dean & Deluca followed in 1997 with a 10,000-square-foot freestanding store at 119th Street and Roe Avenue. The company said it liked the area's "high-income, high-growth" demographics and the proximity to the coming Sprint campus to the east.
Town Center officials couldn't be reached for comment Friday.
Dean & Deluca got its start when Joel Dean, a business manager and publisher, teamed up with Giorgio DeLuca, a school teacher-turned-cheese merchant.
They wanted to offer customers a "sumptuous celebration of food and a venue to experience all of the pleasures that cooking and eating can bring."
Their original location opened in September 1977 in the SoHo district of lower Manhattan, offering a variety of produce and specialty food products, some of which had never previously sold in the United States.
It now has a handful of locations in California, Hawaii, New York and Washington, D.C., as well as nine international shops.