Monthly Archives: May 2009

Author Jim Lehrer thanks Old Town Martini owner

unionWICHITA – Old Town Martini owner Ali Yassine has a specially inscribed copy of former Wichitan Jim Lehrer’s new novel, “Oh, Johnny.”

Lehrer writes: “With great memories of great food and drink — and inspiration.”

Yassine says Lehrer is a frequent diner when he’s in Wichita and told him he got the inspiration for his book while sitting in the restaurant.

He says Lehrer often talks of how his father would bring him to Union Station when he was a boy.

“He likes to drink martinis at the window facing . . . the train station building,” Yassine says. “He’ll sit for a couple of hours looking out the window.”

In the book’s acknowledgments, Lehrer thanks “the good people at Old Town Martini, a Wichita restaurant, for a table at which to labor — and observe.”

KKRD debuts online today

WICHITA – Matt Johnston enjoyed KKRD, 107.3-FM, as a young adult, and now the 36-year-old owns the new online radio station

Clear Channel Radio used to have the KKRD license.

“They have let it lapse for five years,” Johnston says. “I bought all the domains that were connected to KKRD.”

The station is strictly online and isn’t connected to 107.3 anymore.

“That’s the station that we all listened to as we were growing up,” Johnston says of Wichitans around his age.

He’ll play music from the ’90s and some from today. The station officially debuts at 5 p.m. with a party at Club Fuzion in Old Town.

You can also catch music by Johnston, who often performs at the Candle Club and has Sound Advice, which has 65 karaoke shows a week around the city.

Tweet of the week

“I suspect that’s not entirely true.”
— What Wichita Police detective Ken Davis (@davis1862) Tweeted after seeing a Dog ’N’ Shake sign at Central and Hydraulic that says, “Our cookin’ will make you good lookin’.”

Market Centre has two more leases

marketWICHITA — There are a couple of new tenants at the Market Centre at First and Market.

“We’re doing exceptionally well,” says Adam Clements of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

Since Bob and Judy Abbey bought the building in January, Clements says they’ve averaged about a lease a month, which he thinks is good for this economy.

“We think we’re positioned well,” Clements says. “We can accommodate anyone from somebody that just needs a couple of offices to someone who potentially needs up to two floors.

“We have a lot to play with,” he says, in “some really cool office space.”

The newest leases are for Shawn Jacobs Real Estate and KLH Consulting.

Jacobs, a residential real estate agent, is taking 1,600 square feet. KLH, an oil consulting company, is taking 2,200 square feet.

Dave Wood no longer with Baton Rouge Area Chamber

INDUSTRIALPARK.PICWICHITA — Dave Wood is a free agent.

Wood is no longer executive director of business development for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, where he was for more than three years after leaving the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition.

“My passion is start-ups and turnarounds,” Wood says. “I was brought in as a change agent, I implemented the changes. We were very successful, and now it’s time to move on to the next challenge.”

Wood says the theme of the Baton Rouge chamber the year he was hired was “revolution.”

“So I guess I would go with the old Will Rogers quote,” he says. “One revolution is like one cocktail. It just gets you organized for the next.”

Wood isn’t sure what he’ll do next.

“I have absolutely no clue,” he says.

So is returning to Wichita a possibility?

“I like Wichita,” Wood says. “I very much miss the Midwest, where ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and, ‘I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you,’ is perfectly acceptable.”

You don’t say

“Change your life, change your career.”
— A sign outside White Chapel Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum, which is advertising for sales counselors

Palette Coffee House and Fine Art Photography to move

coffeeWICHITA — The Palette Coffee House and Bistro and its sister business (literally) Fine Art Photography are moving a block west of their current location in the former Travel Air Building in Delano.

Connie Dirks and her sister, Linda Grafton, will reopen their businesses at 613 A W. Douglas on Tuesday.

“We have to work really hard . . . and constantly push to get more and more business in here,” Dirks says of their current space.

The two retired from teaching and opened their businesses a year ago.

“We’d always wanted to work together,” Dirks says.

She handles the studio and Grafton handles the restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday.

“We thought art and food was a good combination,” Dirks says.

But the 2,100 square feet they currently have — and the rent for it — is too much.

Their new space is 1,200 square feet.

Dirks says their businesses are growing and have good customer bases, but the smaller space will suit them better.

She says they simply want to “have some fun with it.”

Isn’t that Jack Pelton?

jackpeltonWICHITA — Speaking of Cessna . . . .

I was dining at Chester’s Chophouse last night, and as I was walking through what seemed to be a sea of businessmen, I saw a familiar face.

As I stared like an idiot trying to figure out who it was, it finally occurred to me that it was Cessna chairman and chief executive Jack Pelton, who by now was looking at me, too. So, being the suave business reporter that I am, I immediately looked away in embarrassment and headed back to the patio.

The incident, stupid though it may have been, got me thinking. For reporters needing to track down businesspeople, Chester’s is a natural. It’s to dinner what Larkspur is to lunch: Business central.

Not that I like to accost people while they’re eating, of course. But, still, it’s handy to know.

The scallops are great, too.

Cessna Aircraft selects Connecticut firm for media buying


WICHITA — Cessna Aircraft has chosen Connecticut-based Mediassociates to handle its global media buying.

“As we all know, that’s an art form,” says Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver. “There’s going to be more of a laser focus on publications that we think are going to be most supportive in leading to sales of aircraft.”

According to Adweek, Cessna spent $3 million nationally on media buys for 2008.

“I would naturally assume that’s not going to be the case in 2009,” Oliver says. “We’re not going to make as much money as we did in the past, and business is off a bit, and lots of things are being looked at for where we can cut.”

He says Cessna is looking for “where can we focus our resources for best results in these trying times.”

And that’s not likely to be trade journals that cater to operators and enthusiasts. Publications like The Wall Street Journal are better bets.

Cessna has made several advertising changes.

Read More »

Healing Waters to expand, possibly move


WICHITA — Healing Waters is expanding, possibly to a new location.

“It would only be just because of space,” says co-owner Amanda Gorecki.

The spa, which is next to Il Vicino near Douglas and Oliver, opened in 2002. In 2005, it expanded into part of AAA’s former space next door. The spa now has 5,200 square feet, but Gorecki says the business is growing and needs more room.

She’s close to making a decision from several options, which includes using all of the former AAA space, which the company vacated early this year when it moved to Piccadilly Square at Central and Rock.

Leasing at another location also is an option, and so is constructing a new building.

Read More »