Monthly Archives: August 2010

Snap Fitness is still closed, and the owners aren’t saying why

WICHITA — On Monday, Snap Fitness franchisee Paul Johnson didn’t have many answers about why his fitness center abruptly shut its doors at the Wichita Executive Centre over the weekend.

He said he and his partners would have news Tuesday, but he didn’t return calls for comment.

“It sounds like you’ve had a chance to speak with him more than I have,” says Patrick Strait, communications manager for the Minnesota-based chain.

Strait says he’s “basically just trying to understand what the heck happened.”

He says his office was flooded with calls from members wondering what’s going on.

“I guess them and us both for the most part,” Strait says. “We didn’t have any advance notice.

“Every once in a while . . . we kind of get blindsided by this, too.”

You don’t say

“Most people don’t care, unless you’re just looking for someone’s name to go ‘nanna-nanna boo-boo’ to.”

— Sedgwick County commissioner Tim Norton talking about publication (which is required by law) in The Eagle of the names of people and businesses behind on their property taxes

Reb Boutique leaving Old Town Square for the east side

WICHITA — Reb Boutique’s first grand opening was April 23 in Old Town Square.

Now, owners Glenda Sue and AJ Morris are preparing for their second grand opening — this time in a new location.

“We decided to get a larger space with more visibility,” Glenda Sue Morris says.

They’re moving the shop, which sells fabrics, clothing and furniture, to the former Tux Shop space in front of Scotch & Sirloin on East Kellogg.

“I did my pros and cons list,” Glenda Sue Morris says. “It was a hard decision.”

She says parking isn’t ideal in Old Town when the weather isn’t nice.

“I’m just fortunate enough to have some good word of mouth,” she says. “But you know what? I’m not going to make it in the winter. I know that. I can feel it in my gut.”

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Rue21 coming to Derby Marketplace

WICHITA — Rue21 is coming to Derby Marketplace at 71st South and Rock Road.

The clothing store, which targets younger males and females, will open in 4,500 square feet of the 7,500 square feet between Maurices and Dressbarn just south of Target.

Construction began Monday, and the store should open Oct. 28.

There will be more Marketplace news coming this fall.

“We do have a couple of different junior anchors that we’re getting extremely close with,” says developer Mark McPherson.

The stores, which could be anywhere from 15,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet, are similar in size to stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, T.J. Maxx and Best Buy — not that those are necessarily the stores that are coming.

Look for more information soon.

Snap Fitness unexpectedly closed this weekend but will reopen soon, co-owner says

WICHITA — Though a lot of people look for any excuse they can to avoid working out, there were some frustrated Snap Fitness members who couldn’t use the 24-hour downtown fitness center this weekend.

The business, which is in the Wichita Executive Centre at 125 N. Market, unexpectedly closed Saturday.

“Basically, we’re in a disagreement with a couple of other owners,” co-owner Paul Johnson says.

Johnson won’t go into specifics, but he says he’ll share more information Tuesday.

“It’s all figured out,” Johnson says of some possible changes in ownership that are coming. “It’s just a matter of completing it.

“We should be back up and running shortly.”

A second Snap Fitness is still on target to open in December at 3300 N. Rock Road under different ownership.

Talkin’ chiles

First, to everyone who came out to see my husband, Joe Stumpe, and his sidekick, Sue Chef (aka me), at Johnson’s Garden Center for our chile cooking demo, thanks!

Second, an apology. I haven’t put the recipes online as promised because, as it turns out, Joe may be doing a story on them.

In the meantime, if you want the recipes for his delicious dishes, just e-mail me, and I’ll shoot ‘em to you.

Sweet Cheeks, a store for mothers and their babies, to open in Delano

WICHITA — Julie Craft’s 4-month-old daughter, Maecy, is part of the inspiration for her new retail shop.

Sweet Cheeks, which is opening at 917 W. Douglas in Delano, will be a “mommy-baby boutique,” Craft says.

We’re going to kind of go a little edgier, a little cheeky, so to speak.”

Craft used to be the school nurse for Rainbows United. She was laid off in December.

She also has a couple of online businesses.

Craft can’t always find what she wants for Maecy in Wichita, though, so she’s hoping her shop will appeal to other mothers looking for one-of-a-kind items.

Sweet Cheeks is going into the former Blank Page space, which was an art gallery with a cabaret license.

Craft says she’s doing extensive remodeling.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges with that.”

She hopes to be open in time for Second Saturday (a promotional day of shopping in Delano and Old Town) on Sept. 11. Craft says if she can’t open by then, she expects to open by Oct. 1 at the latest.

Mama’s Kitchen to open on south side

WICHITA — There are often complaints that when new restaurants are announced, they’re rarely on the south side of Wichita.

Micah Mack and his family are doing something about that.

They plan to open Mama’s Kitchen by November at either Pawnee and South Meridian or 31st and South Seneca.

“Basically, we’re bringing Sunday dinner back to eating out,” Mack says. “We feature all the traditional foods that only mama or grandmama could make. Things that most of the time we just don’t get anymore.”

That could be dishes such as pot roast or ham.

“We’ve adapted a lot of the old family traditions.”

The Southern-style food will be served family style. There will be an emphasis on making the dishes as healthy as possible, too. Mack says 80 percent of the menu will have diabetic-friendly dishes.

He says there aren’t a lot of sit-down restaurants where he’s looking.

Initially, Mack says he’ll start with only about 50 seats. The restaurant could expand later.

We’ll let you know as soon as he makes a decision on a site.

Wichitan’s Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG purchase is a coup for Scholfield Auto Plaza

Klaus and Traci Viljanmaa with their daughter, Finley, and Klaus' newest baby, a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

Klaus and Traci Viljanmaa with their daughter, Finley, and Klaus' newest baby, a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

WICHITA — Wichitan Klaus Viljanmaa grew up in Finland in a family that was “crazy” for cars and motorcycles, but his father issued an edict that no Mercedes-Benz would ever be found in his driveway.

He told his children those cars are for “better people,” meaning uppity ones.

His father relented, though, which is good for Viljanmaa, who this week bought his fourth Mercedes — a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, for $240,000.

“The cars are half price,” Viljanmaa says of what cars cost in the United States versus Finland. “So I wouldn’t complain here.”

Scholfield Auto Plaza general manager Bobby Cuillo isn’t complaining, either.

“He’s an unbelievable repeat customer of mine,” Cuillo says of Viljanmaa.

Just to be able to sell the car was a coup for Cuillo.

There are only 475 of them that will be built this year, and there are 355 Mercedes-Benz dealerships nationally. The ones in bigger metro areas, particularly on the coasts, are the dealerships that generally get the exclusive cars.

“We had to go to bat with Mercedes,” Cuillo says.

Ordinarily, he wouldn’t have gotten to sell the car for another two or three years.

Cuillo, though, could show Mercedes his dealership’s market penetration and industry-leading customer satisfaction.

“It’s a real success,” he says. “It’s great for Wichita, too.”

Cuillo says he has a “phenomenal relationship” with Mercedes-Benz, but still the company wanted to know who was going to get the car.

“They want it in the hands of Mercedes aficionados.”

Viljanmaa is a car and motorcycle aficionado — period.

Cuillo says he appreciates Viljanmaa’s love of vehicles, but he also likes his personal story.

Viljanmaa’s family was involved with Lions Clubs International in Finland, and he came here as part of an exchange program.

Wichitan Traci Hutchings’ family was a host family. She saw about 15 potential exchange students in pictures.

“She claims she saw me and chose me from that picture,” Viljanmaa says.

Years later, the two married and now have three children.

“She calls me the mail-order boy.”

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You don’t say

“Man, they get paid to work out and sleep? I was like, I’m there.”

— Firefighter Brad Gregory, joking in the interview portion of a firefighters calendar contest Thursday about what inspired his career choice