Monthly Archives: June 2010

You don’t say

“We’re No. 2 behind the big ball of twine.”

Angela Mallory, co-owner of the Donut Whole, on how the business’ rooftop rooster made an iPhone travel app list of odd and off-the-beaten-path Kansas roadside attractions

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing to move to new space on East Kellogg

WICHITA — Several years ago, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing owner Richard Tade was driving down East Kellogg when he spotted a “for sale” sign at Kellogg and Erie.

“I’m going, wow, this is for sale? At eye level on Kellogg?”

He promptly bought the property.

Now, he’s building a new 3,200-square-foot building there for his company’s office and a warehouse.

“Our whole objective was for the exposure of the location,” Tade says.

“I’ve been trying to build this building for about four or five years.”

He almost did it in late 2006.

“I realized that was just too much of a burden to put on the company,” he says of financing the deal.

So he started allocating money for when the time came to build.

“And that time came.”

Read More »

Minnesota Guys move their offices

WICHITA — The Minnesota Guys have a tenant announcement, and this time it’s themselves.

Real Development’s Wichita offices are on the main floor of the company’s Broadway Plaza at 105 S. Broadway.

The guys are now in the process of moving to their Wichita Executive Centre at 125 N. Market.

“This move will allow us to move our sales and leasing efforts with our operations and property management services,” says CEO Michael Elzufon.

Equally important, it now frees up prime space at Broadway Plaza.

“We don’t need the street-level exposure that many other companies would benefit from,” Elzufon says.

He says there’s a growing demand for that kind of space downtown.

Elzufon says with tens of millions in investments his company is making between Broadway and Market — which one of his colleagues “affectionately calls the block of blight” — it makes sense to cater to businesses wanting the exposure.

He’s not in a hurry on finishing the move, though. Elzufon says it’s not like someone is making them snap to it.

He’s a little more blase.

“When we move, we move.”

Melad Stephan plans cocktail lounge for former Sabor space at the Waterfront

WICHITA — When Melad Stephan closed his Sabor Latin Bar & Grille at the Waterfront in February, he said a number of things could happen with the space.

He considered bringing a new concept or finding someone else to take the space.

“We were hoping someone would buy it or take it over,” Stephan says.

That hasn’t happened, so he’s now chosen to put a cocktail lounge there.

D’Vine is the working name.

“That’s what I’m leaning to. Someone said it wasn’t manly enough,” he says, laughing.

Stephan plans some remodeling, including taking out the island bar.

“It was just so inconvenient when we (got) busy.”

He’s going to darken the atmosphere and expand the outside patio, where he plans to have live music.

Stephan will serve tapas along with “a lot of good cocktails Wichita hasn’t seen yet.”

Unlike a restaurant, which costs more to operate in part because of a larger staff, Stephan says the lounge should be more profitable.

“The break-even will be a lot less,” he says of what he’ll have to make.

Look for a mid-to-late August opening.

“It’s going to be a cool place.”

PumpHouse will keep pumping — but not gas

pumpUPDATED — After almost 80 years in business, the PumpHouse will no longer be pumping gas as of late July.

“It’s a landmark in Old Town,” owner Jim Ross says.

The area has changed, though, and the PumpHouse is changing with it.

Five years ago, Ross and his wife, Judy, converted part of their property into a bar and restaurant. It has done so well, it’s edged out some of their gas business.

“The bar has become so popular that people now think it’s just a parking lot, and they’ll pull up at the pump and go inside,” Jim Ross says. “They think the gas pumps are fake. We can’t even sell gas.”

The Rosses have expansion plans.

“We need to do things like add to our food menu and develop the rest of our property,” Jim Ross says. “It’s just got a lot of potential that we haven’t tapped yet.”

It’s probably not quite what his father envisioned in 1931 when he first opened a gas station.

“He started in a location just about nine blocks from here, right across the street from the new arena,” Ross says of his late father, Bob.

“The guy that was in this location went broke, and Vickers Petroleum asked my father to come take this location.”

That was in the late ’30s.

“He had a lot of the downtown commercial business at that time,” Ross says.

Commercial sales, such as to a large cab company, were a big part of the PumpHouse’s business.

Ross went to work there in 1959. He took over the shop when his father retired in the early 1970s.

“As the downtown started declining, business started moving to the suburbs,” Ross says. “The gasoline business declined a little bit.”

The service side of his business did well, though.

So did an unexpected side of the Rosses’ business.

Twenty years ago, Judy Ross used to make sandwiches for employees.

Customers smelled her cooking and suggested she make food to go.

“One thing led to another,” she says.

Read More »

RPM Motorsports moves to West Kellogg

WICHITA — Robert Paul Musgrove, who is better known as Bob, is setting up his R.P.M. Motorsports in new space at 10817 W. Kellogg.

He says he’s “got an awful lot of customers calling and wondering if we’re ready to go back to work.”

R.P.M. builds custom vehicles from the ground up.

“We do everything from muscle cars and antique restoration to street car modifications to all-out drag cars,” he says. “We have a big following in the drag car world, street car world and show car world.

“We’re not just a shop that does one thing.”

His former space at 4129 W. Pawnee had 5,000 square feet. His new space is 10,080 square feet, which he says will allow for a large showroom. There’s a big parking lot as well.

“We’re in the process of growing our business and have more than doubled the size of our shop,” Musgrove says. Also, he says, “We have increased our exposure considerably.”

Read More »

You don’t say

“It’s make-believe music, is what it is.”

Ed Swarts Jr. on older music that’s been remastered onto CDs, which is why he’s opened Spin It Again Records at 1623 S. Hillside to sell vinyl records

PumpHouse to quit selling gas in late July

WICHITA — After almost 80 years in business, the PumpHouse will no longer be pumping gas as of late July.

“It’s a landmark in Old Town,” owner Jim Ross says.

The area has changed, though, and the PumpHouse is changing with it.

Five years ago, Ross and his wife, Judy, converted part of their property into a bar and restaurant. It has done so well, it’s edged out some of their gas business.

“The bar has become so popular that people now think it’s just a parking lot, and they’ll pull up at the pump and go inside,” Jim Ross says. “They think the gas pumps are fake. We can’t even sell gas.”

The Rosses have expansion plans.

“We need to do things like add to our food menu and develop the rest of our property,” Jim Ross says. “It’s just got a lot of potential that we haven’t tapped yet.”

For the full story, including some of the PumpHouse’s history, check back here later today and in tomorrow’s Wichita Eagle.

Liquor Warehouse to open at Prescott Center near 21st and Maize

WICHITA — Though Greg and Melissa Wilson aren’t locating their new Liquor Warehouse at NewMarket Square, NewMarket is part of what convinced them to choose the 21st and Maize intersection.

The Wilsons’ store will open at Prescott Center near the southwest corner of the intersection in September.

That’s across from the NewMarket entrance by Walmart.

“It’s a perfect draw coming right out of that Walmart exit,” Greg Wilson says.

He says he and his wife looked at several properties in the area, but that one “was going to be much more customer friendly.”

Jeff Walenta and Grant Glasgow of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group represented the landlord, and Cory Harkleroad of KW Commercial represented the Wilsons.

The store will be 3,000 square feet.

Wilson says he won’t know what he’ll specialize in until his customers tell him what they want.

“We have been customers for our entire lives, and no one has asked us our thoughts and our opinions on anything,” he says. “We as customers just accept what folks do with us.”

Wilson says that’s not how he wants his store to be.

“Our notion is let’s mix and match,” he says. “Let’s kind of be the disc jockeys of the retail world and take special requests and take call-in orders and (do) unique packaging.

“The customers run the thing. Not us.”

You don’t say

“Can’t believe that. I never go to anything unless it has a ball or a clock.”

—A comment from Bob Hanson, president and chief executive of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, as he was spotted leaving Botanica Sunday