Alterations By Sarah opens in Lawrence

WICHITA — Samir Arif wasn’t yet born when his parents first started Alterations By Sarah in 1982, but now he and his wife are opening a branch of the Wichita company in Lawrence with plans to one day take over the entire business.

“It was always sort of something we thought about doing, spreading the business into other parts of Kansas,” Samir Arif says.

His parents opened locations in Oklahoma City in the 1990s but then sold them.

His father has six of the shops in Wichita still.

His mother, Sarah Lockwood — the shop’s original Sarah — is now divorced from his father and is out of the business.

“It’s kind of funny because my wife’s name is also Sara, without the ‘h,’” Arif says.

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Alterations by Sarah and Millers Dry Cleaners expand their retail partnership

WICHITA — Some small businesses struggle to compete against big chains, but Alterations by Sarah and Millers Dry Cleaners have found a way around that.

“This is kind of a neat little concept how mom and pops have banded together,” says Alterations co-owner Abdul Arif.

The companies share space near 21st and Maize and Kellogg and Greenwich and are preparing to merge their third and fourth sites.

It’s what Arif calls a strategic partnership to reduce overhead, improve customer service and co-brand to increase their market presence.

“You know, it’s worked out really good,” says Craig Miller, who owns Millers with his parents, Betty and Danny.

“We think it’s a neat little . . . business model,” he says.

The Millers’ first venture with Arif was in 2001 near 21st and Maize.

Arif was looking for west-side space, and he couldn’t find anything less than about $30 a square foot, which he says was too high for him.

The Millers were looking for a new store then, too, and Arif suggested sharing retail space.

Then, in 2008, they moved together near Kellogg and Greenwich.

Now, the Millers at the Cherry Creek shopping center at Harry and Rock is moving across across the street to the Alterations space at 1210 S. Rock Road. Millers will open there March 1.

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