Monthly Archives: September 2010

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is moving its Parklane store to Rock Road

WICHITA — Ohio-based Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is moving its east Wichita store to the former CompUSA store at 3665 N. Rock Road.

“Well, you scooped me on this one,” says Lorraine Schuchart, manager of public relations.

“All I know is that it’s happening,” she says of a move. “As we get closer, I will have more information, but I honestly don’t have it at this point.”

The current east-side store is in the Parklane Shopping Center at Lincoln and Oliver.

That store will remain open until the new store opens.

At more than 25,000 square feet, the former CompUSA space is substantially larger than its current space.

“It’s a little bit bigger space than they typically take,” says Doug Malone, a J.P. Weigand & Sons broker who handled the deal.

“They can make that extra space work,” Malone says. “They’ll use every bit of that space.”

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You don’t say

“It would look pretty cute up there, wouldn’t it?”

Two Brothers BBQ and Burger Grill owner Tom Ryan, who likes the idea of a rotating pig atop his forthcoming restaurant at Douglas and Hillside (as rumors have it), but he says not to hold your breath

Brown’s Botanicals moves to Dean’s Designs space

WICHITA — Years after purchasing Brown’s Botanicals at 7722 W. Maple, Brad White is moving the business to his Dean’s Designs at 3555 E. Douglas, which is two blocks east of Hillside.

“What I’m doing is simply consolidating that location, which I currently rent, into my own, which we own,” he says. “It’s just an economics move.

“We can also consolidate some pricing and make it a better deal for our customer.”

At one point, White says he had five different sites, each operating under different names.

“We’ve over the years purchased a number of flower shops that were distressed or people were ready to retire,” White says.

He still operates about a dozen stores, but all from his Hillside address.

Moving Brown’s Botanicals was a natural progression.

“I hate to lose my presence on the west side, but with the amount of delivery vehicles that we have, we can service it no differently than we have in the past,” White says. “Really, nothing’s changing.”

White plans to keep the Brown’s Botanicals name.

“They have a following. There’s no two ways about that.”

Decker Electric owner is stunned at tax warrant, says there must be an error

WICHITA — When there’s an article about a business’ delinquent taxes, Steve Decker of Decker Electric generally doesn’t believe when people say they don’t owe money or are surprised by the warrant.

“I read these all the time, and I say, ‘Yeah, right,’ because, you know, the state doesn’t really mess up.”

Now, though, he contends it has.

Decker was stunned to get a call from The Eagle Wednesday asking about a $34,442.44 tax warrant against his business.

“They obviously have made some sort of an error,” Decker says.

“I’m really glad you’re calling me. Obviously, this is going to be a pretty good-size problem because I’m going to get all kind of calls.”

Decker says his business was audited by the state a couple of years ago. There was a question about some payments, which he says he was able to prove that aircraft companies he did work for paid to the state directly.

After that, he says he never heard anything further or if the case was closed.

“I just think that somewhere up there this slipped through the cracks,” Decker says.

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You don’t say

“It’s good to be seen on this side of the ground at 87.”

— Former Kansas Sen. Rip Gooch, joking Tuesday during the city’s unveiling of a plan to revitalize downtown

Le Monde Cafe on the east side will close after business Thursday

WICHITA — If you’ve enjoyed eating at the east-side Le Monde Cafe since it opened earlier this year, you’d better head back quick if you’d like one more visit.

The restaurant’s last day in business in Thursday.

Mohamad Krichati, who has owned the Le Monde Cafe & Deli at 602 N. West St. for 16 years, was laid off from Cessna Aircraft more than a year ago. That inspired him to open the second restaurant, but now he’s focusing his efforts on contract engineering — and keeping his original restaurant.

“We’re doing good business here, so we’re going to keep it,” he says.

Krichati’s partner in the east-side Le Monde, Imad Youssef, says he’d like to keep the restaurant, which opened in the former Nouvelle Cafe space at 3101 N. Rock Road. Krichati doesn’t want him to, though, since he won’t be there.

Instead, Youssef is making plans to open Il Ponte, which is Italian for “the Bridge,” in the space.

He’ll continue to offer Mediterranean cuisine.

“Absolutely, I’m going to keep the humus, because it’s the best in Wichita,” Youssef says.

He’ll offer a lot of pastas, salads, appetizers and chicken dishes, too.

“I’m still working on it,” Youssef says.

Look for more details, including an opening date, in the coming weeks.

Oeno Wine Bar expands with the Champagne Room for private parties

WICHITA — Way back in February, Have You Heard? told you of restaurateur Melad Stephan’s expansion plans for his Oeno Wine Bar in Old Town Square.

Now, part of those plans are almost ready.

Stephan is opening the Champagne Room immediately east of the bar area for private parties.

He’s been doing a lot of private parties at Oeno, but he has to close the bar to regular customers, which he hates to do.

The new room, which will have its own bar, will seat about 70 and should be ready next week.

Stephan had also hoped to expand his patio, but it looks like the city might not allow him to do it. He’s waiting on a letter from the city to learn why.

Stephan isn’t giving up on the city reversing its decision, though.

“There’s a chance.”

Key Construction sues former executive vice president Pat Ayars over shares in four companies

ayars.jpgWICHITA — Key Construction has filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court seeking more than $156,801 plus interest from former employee Pat Ayars.

The dispute relates to shares Ayars owns in four Key companies.

“I was surprised that they elected to sue,” says Ayars, a former executive vice president.

“One of their founding principles is not to sue or be sued, and I thought we were working toward a reasonable conclusion.”

Key chief financial officer John Walker says the company had to file a lawsuit “just to move everything off dead center because he’s been unresponsive.”

Over the more than 11 years Ayars was the public face at Key, he acquired shares in the company as well as parent company Key Construction Cos.; Summit Holdings, a real estate investment LLC; and Key Con-Air, an LLC that owns an airplane.

According to the suit, Ayars signed an agreement that he would sell back his shares to the company at an agreed-upon price if his employment was terminated for any reason.

Ayars lost his job at Key in January and has since formed Oxford Development Holdings to build and acquire senior care centers.

The suit says Ayars signed a promissory note to pay for the stock in the companies.

“Ayars has failed or refused to repay the unpaid balance of the note in the principal amount of $391,459.61 and also owes interest on that obligation at the rate of 7 percent per annum,” the suit says.

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You don’t say

“. . . let’s just say when these products come out next Monday, they’re guaranteed to make any self-respecting Shocker want to swallow their pride.”

WSU mascot WuShock in a teasing Facebook message about a new line of edible products related to the university (our guess is that alum Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates is creating chocolates in Wu’s likeness)

ABCO Restaurant Equipment to close

WICHITA — After 22 years in business, ABCO Restaurant Equipment at 311 N. Washington is closing.

“Have you looked at the last five quarters?” president Donna Calbeck says. “Business has been down quite a bit.”

She sells mostly used restaurant equipment.

In the past when there have been layoffs and strikes and tough economic times, Calbeck says her business would increase as people decided to go into business for themselves.

“It has not happened in the last year,” she says.

Calbeck plans to close after business Thursday, but she says, “I might hang around ’til Friday.”

Eventually, she’ll probably have an auction of the contents, but Calbeck isn’t trying to sell the business.

Nor does she want to hang onto it in the hopes that the economy will get better. She doesn’t want to risk getting in a financial hole.

Calbeck says she wants to get out “while there’s a semblance of some way to get out.”