OVER THE YEARS
Brookwood started as a single building in 1959 that sat on the corner of 29th and Oakley. Six businesses represented the inaugural tennants: The Colonial Inn, a beauty shop, a barber shop, a liquor store, and a Scotch Cleaners. In 1963, the main shopping center expanded to the east with a Dillons supermarket serving as an anchor store for the mall. Other notable businesses in the center at the time included TG&Y dime store and Jayhawk Drug.
Original center owners, Ron Robb, Ed Love, and Bob Taggert, loved to use creative avenues to entice customers to the center. Included in their antics were petting zoos, contests, and other games. One of the most memorable being “Needle in a Haystack,” where customers were challenged to find prizes and coupons in a colossal pile of straw!
It was the strip mall craze in the mid-1980s that prompted further Brookwood expansion to the west. Though the footprint of the center has changed little, many retailers have occupied the space over the years that have called Brookwood “home.” From jewelers to clothing, to delis, gifts, and crafts, Brookwood has offered unique experiences for shoppers of all kinds for 60 years. The Robb family, who founded this, vital piece of Topeka history, is proud to continue the tradition, offering a quaint area for Topeka residents to explore and discover.
The History of the Brookwood Santa
There’s no greater sign that Christmas is coming than when Santa is hoisted on top of Dillions supermarket in Brookwood each November. A bucket truck lifts the 15-foot Santa up in two pieces before workers secure him with approximately 12 cables. Santa has made an appearance every holiday season since 1963 and has become a Topeka tradition ever since.