Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ciao for now

I’ll be out of town until April 9. Look for more news then.


Two Men and A Truck opens in Wichita

WICHITA — Two Men and a Truck was not in the Wichita market when it sued local firm Two Guys and a Truck for trademark infringement in 2003.

That company, which changed its name to Get a Move On, is now going to have Two Men and a Truck as a competitor.

Garret Peterman is starting the franchise here at 8537 W. 21st St. near 21st and Tyler.

“I started out as a mover,” Peterman says.

Then he worked in the corporate office in Lansing, Mich.

“And now I’m doing one of my own.”

Peterman isn’t from Wichita. When he and his partners were considering where to open, he says they took “a throw-a-dart-at-the-map kind of approach.”

“Honestly, I wasn’t so sure about it until I visited,” Peterman says.

His partners loved the demographics.

“It’s not very saturated with movers,” Peterman says. “We feel like with good customer service, this is a market that could embrace another mover.”

His long-term goal is “to serve the whole city and the state.”

“The five-year goal is to have an east and a west location,” Peterman says. “That way we’re closer to everybody.”


Title Boxing Club to open at Shops at Tallgrass; two more clubs could follow

WICHITA — Even Wichitans who aren’t looking to get in shape are going to have a hard time avoiding gyms soon.

In addition to new Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym locations, Title Boxing Club is coming to the city.

It may sound exclusive to boxers, but the franchise actually is a fitness center.

“We’re basically taking the danger out,” says Chris Gerhardt, who is opening the business with Matt McClure. Gerhardt says they want it to “be something everyone can do just to get in shape.”

The first of what they think will be three Title Boxing Clubs will open in 5,527 square feet near 21st and Rock Road at the Shops at Tallgrass early this summer.

Gerhardt is a business consultant and former employee of equipment dealer Title Boxing, which is the company that started the fitness franchise in Kansas City.

So far, 144 franchises have been purchased, and 25 are open nationally.

For $59.99 a month, clients can have group classes and individual training using the same exercises as those who box or do mixed martial arts.

“We just turn it into (a) regular workout program for everybody,” Gerhardt says.

There’s a boxing ring, but he says the majority of the class is on a boxing bag.

The classes have a warm-up, boxing rounds and core work at the end.

“This gym offers a coach that’s with you the entire time,” Gerhardt says. “There’s some pretty fantastic coaches that are already on board.”

That includes pro boxer Manny Thompson and Ross “The Boss” Puritty, a former heavyweight world champion.

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PorkChoppd Custom Bicycles to open near 21st and Ridge on Monday

WICHITA — Count Kevin Lowe as another aircraft worker whose layoff “gave me an excuse to do what I really want to do.”

Lowe and his wife, Angely, and partner Jeremy Pew have had a bicycle business called PorkChoppd Custom Bicycles since 2010. They previously had the business in Mount Hope but on Monday are opening on West 21st Street a block west of Ridge Road.

“We only have, like, four tractors come by a day in Mount Hope compared to, like, 50,000 cars at 21st and Ridge,” Kevin Lowe says.

His new shop is in 700 square feet at 7603 W. 21st St.

Lowe acknowledges the PorkChoppd name and spelling are a bit different.

“Actually, my wife named the business after the way I look.”

More specifically, she named it for his sideburns, which are known as pork chops.

“Those great, big Elvis sideburns.”

The store will sell an array of bikes, including road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX bikes and beach cruisers. It also will offer service, parts and accessories.

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Art & Frame to move from NewMarket Square to 13th and Maize Road area

WICHITA — Jack Wilson and his Art & Frame shop was one of the first businesses in NewMarket Square a decade ago, and he says he’s now reluctant to leave.

Due to another deal, though – more about that coming soon – Wilson is moving.

His new shop, which likely will open in June, will be just south of 13th and Maize Road at 1317 N. Maize.

“The core of our business is custom picture framing,” Wilson says.

He also does digital photo enhancements, photo restoration and large-format printing in addition to selling art.

“The new space will have a little bit more of a showroom than the current one, which is nice,” Wilson says.

His current space is 1,091 square feet, and the new space is 1,480 square feet.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Wilson says his business officially has been open since 1999, but he’s been doing the work for much longer.

Art & Frame will remain open at NewMarket until the move.

T-Mobile the Phone Zone enters Wichita

WICHITA — A new T-Mobile retailer is entering the Wichita market with plans for at least six locations.

Readi Connections, which does business as T-Mobile the Phone Zone, bought an existing T-Mobile outlet at Towne East Square this month and is preparing to open one in Andover Village at 321 S. Andover in April.

Missouri residents Chris Michael and his mother, Melissa, had been in commercial real estate previously.

“We bought out one of our tenants and saw the great potential with wireless,” Chris Michael says.

They’re planning to open 25 stores in the next 36 months in a six-state region.

Michael says they decided to come to Wichita in part because the T-Mobile signal is strong here.

“It’s extremely strong,” he says.

Michael says the Towne East store was a good starting point.

“I felt like that had a really strong retail presence in it and some really strong growth potential as a store.”

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Betta Burger to open in former Speedy Burger space on West 13th Street

WICHITA — Nilla’s owner David Schanbacher has had so much success selling food at his poker room next to Club Rodeo, he’s now opening a restaurant.

“Everybody’s just liked our food out there so much,” Schanbacher says.

So he’s opening Betta Burger, which is slang for better burger, in the former Speedy Burger space at 3090 W. 13th.

That’s just down from Johnson’s Garden Centers. Nilla’s is across town at 10001 E. Kellogg.

Schanbacher expects to have a soft opening for Betta Burger this weekend.

He’ll serve third-pound burgers on large, sweet buns with deli bacon.

“Just a little bit bigger and better than your average grease pit,” he says.

If this works well, it could be the start of several Betta Burgers.

“That would be great,” Schanbacher says. “I hope so.”


City of Wichita produces a video in response to Jimmy Kimmel’s Wichitawesome spoof of the city

UPDATED — Take that, Jimmy Kimmel.

The city of Wichita has produced an official response to a recent skit on Kimmel’s show that spoofs the city as a “Wichitawesome” place for spring break.

The video itself isn’t so official, though. Instead, it takes off on a spring break theme where a cardboard cutout Jimmy Kimmel gets drunk off a beer bong at an Old Town bar, vomits by the Arkansas River and gets some handsy treatment from a TSA agent at the airport.

“It went right there to the edge, but it does have natural attention, and individuals are looking at it,” Mayor Carl Brewer says.

He says staff in the city manager’s office, including spokeswoman Lauragail Locke, produced the video. Brewer first saw it Tuesday. By this morning, it had 3,000 views.

Brewer says if he and City Council members had produced the video, “we’d probably have been a lot more conservative than that, but then if we had done it, we’d have a lot less than 3,000 hits.”

Locke says she hears the video went over well at “Jimmy Kimmel Live!

“So I think we were on the mark,” she says. “Our goal was to produce a video that would appeal to his late night talk show television audience in the hopes of getting on national TV. … We just want to draw more attention to our city and show that we are a fun place, and we have a lot to offer.” Locke says the main point was to invite Kimmel here.

She adds, referring to the city’s cable network, “It was definitely not meant for a City7 audience.”

Locke says she’s not sure how much the video cost, but she says money spent was mainly for the cutout that a company produced and a sound effect that was used in the video. It was shot with city staff and equipment.

The mayor’s response was to call Kimmel field producer Sarah Robe, a native Wichitan, and invite the talk show host to town. That’s when he says he heard that “many of the staff there thought Wichita was a fictitious city.”

“She had to educate them and tell them no, whoever did it did their homework, and it was a real city.”

Robe tells Have You Heard? that staffers do in fact know of Wichita, but they didn’t realize that places in the video, such as Scotch & Sirloin, are real.

“That’s why it’s funny, too, and why it resonates because it’s a town that everyone’s heard of,” she says.

Writer Jonathan Bines is responsible for the original Wichitawesome video spoofing Wichita as a great spring break destination.

“Whenever a comedy writer thinks about the top anything, they immediately try to think of what the bottom might be,” he says. “It’s nothing against Wichita.”

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Journey Books & Gifts to close after almost three decades; may reopen in a new spot

WICHITA — After almost three decades in business, Journey Books & Gifts is closing, but there’s a chance it may reopen later in another space.

“For all of us little businesses, I think it’s probably a bit of a struggle over these last couple of years,” says owner Valerie DuGay.

She describes the store, which is at 120 N. Hillside, as a new age shop that sells books and gifts related to meditation and Native American and ancient cultures.

DuGay says she’s leaving because her landlord is taking back the space. She wants to reopen at some point, but she’s going to wait because of the economy. DuGay also is pondering whether to change the shop, such as making it online only or perhaps adding consignment to bring in more customers.

“I am thinking of different things.”

In the meantime, she says her longtime customers are disappointed.

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InMotion Spine – Muscle – Joint Clinic to open at Hampton Lakes

WICHITA — New chiropractors Meryl Miller and Jared Shoemaker are opening their first practice in Hampton Lakes at 37th and Maize this summer.

“We just decided we wanted to stay in Kansas,” says Miller, who graduated from the Cleveland Chiropractic College in Overland Park in December. Shoemaker graduates next month.

The practice, InMotion Spine – Muscle – Joint Clinic, will be in 1,750 square feet and should open in June.

“We just want to get started and get a year under our belt and see what happens,” Miller says.

She and Shoemaker wanted to work in a small town near a big city, and they decided Maize would work.

“We didn’t want to be too far out,” Miller says. Also, she says, “We just like that it was a newer area. . . . We always see people out being active.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Curt Robertson of InSite Real Estate Group handled the deal.

Miller says she and Shoemaker plan to bring “a different model of care to everyone.”

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