Monthly Archives: January 2012

You don’t say

“I’m thinking about getting a winter home here.”

City Council member Pete Meitzner joking about Wichita’s unseasonably warm winter weather

Sweetie’s Gourmet Coffee & Candies to open in Mulvane on Wednesday

UPDATED — Mulvane residents are also getting a new option for coffee.

Donna and Terry Mathis are opening Sweetie’s Gourmet Coffee & Candies on Thursday or Friday at 222 N. Second Ave.

“We were just going to do a little candy store,” Donna Mathis says.

Then they began researching candy shops and toured the Ghiradelli plant in San Diego.

“The more we researched, the more it grew.”

They decided to serve breakfast and lunch daily with dishes such as quiche bites, biscuits and gravy, bierocks and specialty sandwiches.

In addition to serving coffee, lattes and espresso, they’ll also sell coffee by the bag and whole bean or ground coffee by the pound.

Terry Mathis works at PrairieFire Coffee Roasters, and Donna Mathis used to as well. She admits coffee is something of an obession for them.

“Just a tad bit, yeah.”

Mathis says she and her husband have always wanted their own place.

“We’ve been working on this for five years,” she says. “It’s actually an answer to prayers.”


Popeyes still coming to North Rock Road

WICHITA — Speaking of Popeyes (see the preceding item), franchisee Willie Kendrick is still working on his North Rock Road site, which will be his fifth in the Wichita area, but it’s taking longer than he expected.

“We’re just waiting on our permits,” he says. “I’ve stopped trying to figure out what the time frame (might be).”

Once he gets the permits, Kendrick said he plans to open quickly.

“As fast as I hope I can get ’er done.”


Jay Ablah to open first Coffee Bug, a potential franchise, on North Rock Road

WICHITA — Anyone with a coffee addiction understands the all-consuming desire for the drink, and now Jay Ablah hopes to capitalize on that with a new business called the Coffee Bug.

“The coffee bug is that itch, that urge you’ve got for that cup of coffee,” he says.

His first Coffee Bug will be in front of his and his father George Ablah’s office at 3101 N. Rock Road.

That’s between Jimmie’s Diner and where the new Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits is opening in the former Taco Tico space.

“It’s somewhere between a Starbucks and a Scooter’s,” Ablah says of the concept.

He’s been conducting focus groups to see what people might want.

This Coffee Bug will be similar to Scooter’s in that it mainly will be a drive-through, though it will have a few outdoor seats.

Ablah already is working on a second east-side site, which is even further east, and that Coffee Bug will have indoor seating.

The concept will include some food items, which Ablah says a team is still working on, along with coffee, lattes, espresso and smoothies.

“We’re working hard to come up with some designer coffees that aren’t … as sharp tasting,” he says.

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MovieMaker magazine names Wichita No. 10 on best places for independents to film

WICHITA — Wichita and the Tallgrass Film Festival are getting some great press courtesy of MovieMaker magazine.

The magazine’s latest annual ranking of best places for independent filmmakers to shoot puts Wichita at No. 10.

“It’s kind of verifying something that we already knew,” says Jessy Clonts, Tallgrass’ marketing director. “What this proves is that other people feel that way, too, and hopefully it gets the attention of people who want to make films in this area.”

MovieMaker makes its picks based on “those places that go the extra mile in welcoming lower-budget productions just as much as they do the ‘big guns.’ ”

The magazine quotes Tallgrass Film Association executive director Lela Meadow-Conner on why Wichita works.

“Shooting is easy here. There’s very little red tape, permits aren’t required for filming on public property and there are plenty of local people who are experienced in all aspects of production and readily available for shoots.”

Kansas Film Commission director Peter Jasso agreed that “Wichita is a home away from home for filmmakers looking to turn their dreams into realities.”

It’s why, the magazine says, “Slowly but surely, Wichita is becoming an indie moviemaker’s Eden.”


You don’t say

“My suggestion is you cosponsor the dinner and agree to stay in town.”

Spirit AeroSystems’ Jeff Turner on what it takes to win the annual award like he did on Saturday at the Wichita Aero Club Trophy Gala

Foley Equipment completes purchase of Dean Machinery

WICHITA – Foley Equipment has completed its purchase of Kansas City-based Dean Machinery’s construction and power systems divisions.

This makes Foley the Caterpillar dealer for all but one Kansas county and 40 counties in northwest Missouri, which includes the Kansas City market.

In October, Have You Heard? reported the pending sale.

About two years ago, Foley Equipment closed on its purchase of Topeka’s Martin Tractor, which expanded its reach from 49 Kansas counties to 99.

“Two in this short of a time frame is pretty quick,” Foley president Ann Konecny said at the time. “We try to be a company that is prepared to take advantage of market opportunities that are a good strategic fit for us.”

She said the Dean Machinery purchase makes sense in part because of its proximity.

“We think certainly with our operations in northeast Kansas . . . the metro area spills into our territory already,” Konecny said. “This gives us additional critical mass.”




Child Start moves into its new headquarters

WICHITA — This summer, Have You Heard? reported that Child Start would be moving its headquarters within the Parklane Shopping Center.

This weekend, it’s happening.

Child Start, a nonprofit that provides early childhood development services, is keeping a sliver of its current space but moving the rest of its administrative office to about 30,000 square feet where Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores used to be. That store moved to the former CompUSA space at 3665 N. Rock Road.

The new Child Start space is designed to meet the nonprofit’s needs. Eighty of Child Start’s 250 employees will work there, and there will be training facilities as well.

“In addition to having space that is more flexible for staff, we hope that larger training rooms, increased visibility and new signage will make us more available to families and caregivers as we prepare young children for lifelong success,” said executive director Teresa Rupp in a statement.

Dennis Fitzroy, a vice president with Builders Inc., handled the new Child Start lease at Parklane. Jeff Englert of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group represented Child Start. WDM Architects also helped with the new space.





Da Cajun Shak founder to open Da ‘Lil Cajun Shak this week

WICHITA — Da Cajun Shak founder Tim Granger is once again opening his own place.

Granger opened his first Cajun Shak in July 2005 at 31st and Oliver.

Boeing employees were his top customers, so he says when the Machinists went on strike, it killed his business. He closed in December of that year and decided to help his parents, who were opening their own Cajun Shak near 21st and Woodlawn.

“I’ve been also waiting for Da Cajun Shak name to be out there,” Granger says. He thinks it’s well established now.

“It’s time.”

So Granger is opening Da ’Lil Cajun Shak in the former Taco Nacho space at 1227 S. Seneca, which is between Lincoln and Harry.

The restaurant will be take-out only (316-558-5693).

Granger says he’s keeping his fingers crossed that he can open Wednesday.

Da ’Lil Cajun Shak will sell fried catfish, frog legs, shrimp, gator, crawfish tails, chicken tenders and pork fritter sandwiches along with sides.

Granger says there won’t be some Cajun dishes such as gumbo and red beans and sausage, though.

“I just don’t have enough room to put all that stuff.”

You don’t say

“In the winter time when it’s cold and windy, I prefer the restaurant openings in Phoenix, Arizona, versus Monument, Colorado.”

Scott Redler on two of the places he’s recently opened a Freddys Frozen Custard & Steakburgers