Monthly Archives: November 2011

See you soon

Hi, everyone. I’ll be out of the office until Dec. 5.

Happy holidays!


You don’t say

“You’re going to see a different restaurant.”

– Real estate broker Juan-Carlos Salmeron on the new La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant, which opens Saturday in what he calls the transformed former La Mesa space on West 21st Street

Dream Catchers Case Management to move to the Garvey Center

WICHITA — Dream Catchers Case Management has signed a new lease with the Garvey Center.

“We provide case management services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” says president Kathleen Blackburn.

Dream Catchers has been in Broadway Plaza but is moving for more space. Its new office will be about 800 square feet.

Blackburn says the Garvey Center made sense for several reasons, including parking, being centrally located and having a health club.

Larry Weber of Builders Inc. handled the deal for the Garvey Center, and Tony Utter of Utter Commercial Real Estate represented Dream Catchers.

Charlie’s PizzaTaco is home to a slice of Americana from Charlie’s Home of Pizza Taco in Pratt

WICHITA — There’s a little piece of popular Pratt restaurant Charlie’s Home of Pizza Taco in Wichita’s new Charlie’s PizzaTaco.

Charlie’s owner Charlie Hoffman has lent the little red oven that started it all to his son Dave Hoffman’s new restaurant near Central and Tyler.

“He kind of wanted a piece of Pratt here,” manager Adam Hoffman says of his great uncle.

Charlie Hoffman was helping his father run a gas station in Pratt in 1965 when he was approached by a food company to buy a $200 pizza oven. He says the company told him it would give him enough product to sell pizzas and make back his $200.

“So I said, ‘OK, bring the oven,’ ” he says.

Hoffman retired the oven only when he sent it to Wichita.

“I’ve used it all this time because it was such a handy oven,” he says. “Later, I couldn’t find them again when I bought more ovens.”

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Caterer and restaurateur Ben Arnold adds another cafe to his menu

WICHITA — Apparently a catering business, five hotel and military base banquet operations, two cafes and a restaurant aren’t quite enough to keep Ben Arnold busy.

So, as of Monday, he’s adding another cafe to the lineup.

Arnold will now operate Intrust Cafe at the Intrust Bank building downtown. It’s a private cafe that mostly serves bank employees along with some tenants in the building.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot cafe is a bit bigger than Cafe 151, which Arnold runs at the Cargill building downtown. That’s open to the public, as is Cafe Comotara, which Arnold has at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road.

“I won’t put any kids through college with the money I make off of these cafes,” he says. “It’s all about the partnership of just two great organizations that are based here in Wichita.”

There are many more partnership opportunities he receives, Arnold says.

“I get approached constantly.”

Arnold says he tries to be strategic about which deals he accepts. He thinks the Intrust Bank connection potentially can lead to more catering for his Corporate Caterers of Wichita.

Isn’t it all a bit much, especially since his new A.V.I. Seabar & Chophouse at the Drury Plaza Broadview just opened Monday?

“No, not at all,” Arnold says. “You surround yourself with great people, and you can do anything.”

Fresh Market to open in former Ultimate Electronics space at Bradley Fair

WICHITA — Wichitans have long wanted a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s, but the city instead is likely getting a grocery store many people didn’t even know to wish for.

No one with Fresh Market is commenting yet, but it looks like the Greensboro, N.C.-based grocery chain will be opening in the former Ultimate Electronics space at Bradley Fair next year.

Ray and Beverly Berry started the company, which is now publicly traded, in Greensboro in 1982. According to Fresh Market’s website, the store was “the fulfillment of a dream” to recreate the feeling of European open-air markets.

“The small store with loose produce, vitamins, bulk foods and freshly roasted coffee in bins stood in stark contrast to conventional grocery stores at the time where foods had increasingly become industrialized and the stores bigger and sterile,” the site says.

Today, the chain has about 120 stores open or in the process of opening. The heaviest concentration of stores is in the southeast. The closest to Wichita looks to be the Fresh Market in Little Rock. Wichita’s store appears to be the farthest west the chain will have come yet.

These days, customers can sip coffee samples and listen to classical music as they peruse Fresh Market, which is substantially smaller than the average grocery store yet still seems to have a large collection of groceries from which to choose.

There’s an always-on-call meat department that’s reminiscent of an old-style butcher shop, which features sometimes hard-to-find cuts of meat. There’s a seafood department that receives up to six shipments a week.

Bulk food items include dried fruit, granola, more than 40 snack mixes and as many as 30 types of nuts.

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You don’t say

“This economy has given my 96-year-old father something to do. His hobby now is to find out how to get one tenth of 1 percent more interest on a $10,000 CD.”

– Sen. Jerry Moran, speaking at a business roundtable discussion at Newman University today

Kay Jewelers to open at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Every kiss begins at … NewMarket Square?

Some of them soon will, anyway.

Kay Jewelers, known for its “every kiss begins with Kay” tagline, is opening at the development at 21st and Maize.

The chain is taking 2,224 square feet where Meritrust Credit Union used to be. That’s the same building as Pei Wei.

April Reed of Slawson Cos., who handled the deal, says the store likely will open in early February – probably in time for Valentine’s Day.

“This is our first national jeweler,” Reed says.

A local jewelry store, Powell Jewelry, is in the same area. Reed says there isn’t a conflict.

“Historically jewelry stores have clustered in the mall,” she says. “People in that category cross-shop so much.”

There are Kay stores in Towne East Square and Towne West Square, but Reed says Kay has also been going into open-air retail centers such as NewMarket for years.

There’s only one other space left to lease in that part of the development. There’s 1,900 square feet available facing Best Buy in the same building as Doc Green’s.

The new Kay will face Maize Road. Reed says there’s only one NewMarket space left along Maize Road. It’s in the same building as Sport Clips Haircuts.

“That would fill up everything on Maize Road that Slawson owns.”

Ross Dress For Less signs for east-side store a week after inking west-side deal

WICHITA — East-siders, Ross Dress For Less has not forgotten you.

Last week, Have You Heard? reported the discount chain is opening in 25,000 square feet of the former Circuit City space on West Kellogg.

Now, the national retailer has signed a deal for the 25,000 square feet Barnes & Noble is vacating at Eastgate Plaza at Kellogg and Rock Road.

The bookstore’s last day in business there is Dec. 30. A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman previously said the chain decided to consolidate its Wichita stores into one location at Bradley Fair.

Ross Dress For Less will take possession of the building in February. Remodeling should take two or three months.

“It’s great for the center,” says Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos., who is one of the brokers who handled the deal.

With stores such as Friends Fashion and T.J. Maxx already at Eastgate, Boyd says there’s a nice cluster of clothing shops.

“It’s kind of becoming more of a fashion-centric center.”

Boyd says Ross Dress For Less’ two leases here also represent growth nationally and confidence in Wichita.

Christian Ablah of Classic Real Estate and Randi Lefko of R.H. Johnson in Kansas City also were involved in the deal.

You don’t say

“Of course, the older people were kind of, ‘Whaaaaat?’”

Stacy Shepherd, who says most people thought her and her husband James’ recent wedding in the showroom at Indian Motorcycle was kind of cool