Longtime local retailer closes on the Country Club Plaza, blames high rent, theft

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Milan Optique has closed after 14 years on the Country Club Plaza.

“Rent was too high, then COVID hit and they still wanted rent for those two months and marketing expenses. It hit me good for like $14,000,” said Felix Milman, owner. “Then after COVID there were a lot of people coming in stealing stuff and it made my employees nervous.”

In a statement, a Plaza spokeswoman said: “Naturally tenants change over time and we look to fill spaces with the right tenants for long-term viability. We are excited to bring several concepts to Country Club Plaza soon, including a first in market retailer. Stay tuned for future announcements.”

Milman also blamed the lack of development on the Plaza’s west side. Buildings there had been demolished to make way for a 122,000-square-foot Nordstrom store. Nearly a year ago, Nordstrom confirmed that it would not be opening a Plaza location.

“I also was holding out for Nordstrom to show up. I thought that would be a great draw for me and the clientele,” he said.

Nordstrom drops plan to move to Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza, officials confirm

Dillard’s and Target had been discussed as possible replacements for Nordstrom. On Monday, the Plaza spokeswoman said there was nothing new to announce for the site.

Milman had renegotiated his lease during COVID. It expires in April.

He also owns Romanelli Optix in Leawood, Overland Park and Waldo with his cousin, Roman Beznovsky. Sales at those stores are much higher than at the Plaza location, he said.

“That was the other problem, when I opened the Plaza store, they wanted exclusivity so I had to create a new name,” he said. “My loyal Romanelli customers kept coming to me at the Wornall location.”

His shop was near Zócalo Mexican Cuisine & Tequileria, which recently closed after nearly a dozen years.

This popular Country Club Plaza restaurant is closing after nearly a dozen years