Monthly Archives: February 2010

You don’t say

“Hey, I mean seriously. It’s not that big a deal. It really isn’t.”

Chuck Giles, owner of Neighbors Restaurant & Bar, on the new statewide indoor smoking ban

Angela’s Cafe on East Central is struggling this week even though it’s not the one with fire and tax issues

WICHITA — Between a fire at one Angela’s Cafe and tax problems with the owner of another Angela’s, the Angela’s Cafe at 901 E. Central is struggling with dwindling sales this week.

That’s even though owner Maria Romero’s business is separate from the ones other family members run.

“We don’t even have any contact with each other,” she says.

Officers from the Kansas Department of Revenue and Alcoholic Beverage Control this week seized the business assets of Jorge Romero, Maria Romero’s brother.

Jorge Romero has the Angela’s at 2119 W. 21st St. The Revenue Department said it executed tax warrants on Wednesday for unpaid state sales tax of more than $18,900.

Also Wednesday, a fire gutted the Angela’s Cafe at 10901 E. Kellogg. The cause is still under investigation.

Maria Romero says her business has no tax issues and hasn’t suffered a fire, but the problems at the other two Angela’s restaurants are affecting hers.

“We’re just a little nervous,” she says. “We’re not having any business at all. Not even our regulars are here.

“It’s just a shame.”

PS Designs moving to Towne East Square

WICHITA — PS Designs is heading back to the mall.

The home and garden accessories shop left Towne West Square in early 2007 to open at the Collective, J.V. Johnston’s development at East 21st Street and K-96.

Now, the store is moving to Towne East Square.

“They just got too far behind on their rent, honestly,” Johnston says. “It happens. I hope they do well.”

Co-owner Bobby Peltier says the rent at the Collective was too high for the amount of shoppers he had.

“Just with the recession . . . there’s no traffic out here,” Peltier says. “We’re so far out to the northeast side of town that, you know, we’re basically just drawing from the local neighborhood that’s here close to the store.”

His new store, which should open by late March, will be by Specs Eyewear on the upper level of Towne East.

“I feel comfortable that we’ll at least be able to survive the recession,” Peltier says of his move there.

He’s leaving 3,000 square feet at the Collective.

“I’ve got a couple of people looking at it, actually,” Johnston says of potential tenants, “which is kind of amazing in this economy.”

You don’t say

“My mechanic told me, ‘I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I gave you a louder horn.’ That’s what we’re getting from our federal government right now.”

J.P. Weigand & SonsHerb Krumsick, commenting on federal financial policy at Weigand’s ninth annual commercial real estate forum

Firkin and Bull to close for good after Saturday

WICHITA — After the close of business Saturday, the Firkin and Bull at NewMarket Square will close for good.

“Two years of trying is two years enough,” owner Paul Russell says. “No matter what advertising we’ve done, we haven’t been able to bring the people in, so it’s time just to move on.”

While the economy is a factor, Russell says, “A big part of it is the misconception of what a pub is.”

He says other than his place, there are no true pubs here.

“They are listed as that. They say they are. They are sports bars, and that’s what people expect when they see that here in Wichita.”

So when people came to Firkin, Russell says, they “were expecting the American sports bar.”

“We were more family-oriented, which is what a pub is.”

Russell says a lot of people never gave his place a chance.

“Unfortunately . . . the economy forces people to go with what they know whether it’s a good value or not.”

Child Start to open Head Start center in European Car Co. space

WICHITA — Late last year, Have You Heard? reported that European Car Co. owner David Leivian is leaving his almost 10,000-square-foot building at 1510 E. Second St.

At the time, he couldn’t say what would be moving into the space.

It’s Child Start, which will lease the building.

Jeff Englert, Scott Salome and Grant Glasgow with Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group handled the deal.

Leivian hasn’t announced where he’s moving yet.

Almost $2.5 million in grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are helping Child Start expand.

“We’re going to use this building for the very first of our Head Start centers that serve children zero up to five,” says Child Start executive director Teresa Rupp.

Currently, there are centers for preschoolers and other centers for infants and toddlers.

Rupp says it makes it a lot easier for parents who have more than one child to have children in the same place.

“It just made sense to do it,” Rupp says. “When this Recovery Act money came along, we said, ‘Oh, here’s our chance.’ ”

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Little Caesars franchisees to open office at Market Centre

WICHITA — Little Caesars franchisees Austin Morris and his father, Brian, are preparing to expand in Wichita and now have their first office.

Previously, they were working out of their homes.

Now, they’ve leased 1,600 square feet at Market Centre at First and Market.

Adam Clements of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group handled the deal.

There are several Little Caesars franchisees in the Wichita area.

The Morrises have restaurants at 4100 E. Harry and 2548 S. Seneca.

“We’re just looking to sign a deal with corporate right now to start expanding,” Austin Morris says.

He plans to bring another five to six Little Caesars sites, with the first one coming within about six months.

“Southeast is where we’re focusing on right now,” Morris says.

His new neighbors at Market Centre may be disappointed to learn he isn’t planning to sell pizza there.

Clements laughs and says, “We’ll work on that though.”

A Capitol mistake: Is this seat taken?

WICHITA — A good PR executive has to be ready for any situation, but Kansas Masonic Home director of marketing Jill Laffoon was still a little stunned by a call from executive director Shawn Sullivan on Tuesday.

“How do I apologize to the Washington Post?” Sullivan asked.

“I’m like, ‘Oh, my god, what did you do?’ ” Laffoon says.

Sullivan and the Masonic Home’s Matthew Bogner were at the U.S. Capitol with Larksfield Place CEO Valerie McGhee to lobby for health care on behalf of seniors.

During a break from one of their meetings, Laffoon says, they wandered into a hearing where “they quickly realize it’s the Toyota CEO speaking.”

And they were in a press-only area. Specifically, they were in seats designated for the Washington Post.

Laffoon says a security guard informed them of this “in maybe not as friendly of terms as we’re used to hearing in Kansas.”

Laffoon didn’t think a formal apology was necessary. Instead, she used Twitter to tweet on behalf of Sullivan:

Sorry. We didn’t know these seats were taken.

You don’t say

“But then again, I’m blindly optimistic about just about anything. . . . I can sell ice to Eskimos. I just have to have people to talk to.”

Elizabeth Barker, who just joined Prudential Dinning-Beard in her first real estate job, on how she isn’t daunted to enter the field during such a trying economy

BG Products names Darin Greseth president; Galen Myers remains as chairman and CEO

WICHITA — BG Products is getting a new president, but the company’s current president isn’t going anywhere.

Galen Myers has been president of the company, which manufactures automotive chemicals, since 1993 and chairman and CEO since 2000.

darinMyers will remain chairman and CEO, and Michigan businessman Darin Greseth will become the new president as of April.

The 68-year-old Myers says he once “was younger, and I could do it all.”

Now, though, “It’s time to bring some young, energetic people in.”

Greseth owns Premaco Michigan, which distributes BG Products. He will remain an owner in the company in addition to being president at BG Products.

In only 13 years in business, Premaco Michigan has become No. 7 in sales for all BG distributors.

“So we’ve grown very rapidly,” Greseth says.

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