Sweet Shopping! Unique Experience Celebrates Topeka Mars Opening

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The "eyes" have it at downtown Topeka's newest business.

Mars North America's commitment to give back to the community means people can get a unique shopping experience at a temporary M&Ms World store, opening its doors to the public at 11 am Friday, March 28 at 713 S. Kansas Ave.

Zahid Rahman, from New York, was given the whirlwind assigment of managing a Topeka store staffers set up in just three days and that will be open only for two weeks. The first thing he points out in a quick walk through the space which formerly housed Marion Lane Candles is what the calls "the big face wall."

The wall is filled top to bottom with merchandise featuring the faces of the iconic M&Ms characters in all the colors. Another wall is lined with shelves holding various cups, glasses and mugs, also sporting the colorful faces. In between is clothing for both children and adults, plush toys, neckties and lanyards, earbuds, pens, shoelaces, towels and blankets, even baseballs decked out with the M&Ms logo and an M&M-themed Monopoly game.

Rahman says the merchandise is exclusive to M&Ms World stores, so people will be able to buy in Topeka what can only be found at the flagship stores in New York, Las Vegas, Orlando and London. It's all to celebrate the newest facility in the Mars family.

"This is how we want to engage with locals and have fun," Rahman said. "It's all about having fun."

Rahman says apparel is the second most popular item customers want to buy, with red and green being the most sought-after colors.

But the number one attraction is candy! The Topeka pop-up store is stocked with items for the Easter season. Plus, some of the sweet stuff has a Topeka twist. Customers will be able to buy M&Ms that say "I (heart) Topeka" and color cominations of local teams like KU, Washburn, Topeka High and Topeka West.

The store also is selling special t-shirts and magnets that say "Made in Topeka." Proceeds from the hometown items will be donated to the downtown Topeka revitalization project.

The store is open March 28 through April 13th. Hours are 11 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 pm Sunday.

Rahman says this is only the second time for Mars to open a pop-up store. The first experience was at facility in New Jersey and he said it proved extremely popular. As for whether the Topeka store could become more permanent, Rahman said perhaps not right now, and one could not say what might happen in the future, but, for now, Mars is focused on the major flagship store.