Daily Archives: Dec. 6, 2012

Construction begins on one A-OK Center, second one to follow with more after that

WICHITA — Construction started this week at Bruce Harris’ new A-OK Center at New Leaf Plaza at 21st and Amidon, but that’s hardly the only new thing the pawn shop owner has going on.

“Wichita’s economy is starting to come back,” he says. “This shopping center in the middle of town is going to come alive again.”

The former Marina Lakes is now home to a Walmart Neighborhood Market that Harris says is contributing to those “sparks of life coming along.”

Harris also is about to begin building a new center at 410 N. West St.

It’ll be about 19,000 square feet, and the center at New Leaf will be 25,000 square feet.

“It’s going to be a huge place,” Harris says.

His centers at Harry and Oliver and Harry and Broadway are 18,000 square feet each.

The New Leaf center will be the “same thing on steroids.”

“What we’re doing is changing the way people shop,” Harris says. “We have new, used and lease to own.”

Both new centers and his store at Harry and Oliver will have a Better Living shop, which is Harris’ new lease-to-own concept.

New Leaf and West Street also each will have an A-OK Pawn Shop, One Day Jewelry and Repair, Cricket and A-OK Financial Services, which offers check cashing, payday loans, title loans and tax services.

Harris says the New Leaf center will be the most elaborate.

“I’m going to try to make it a lot of fun,” he says. “It’ll be kind of like Cabela’s.”

What he means is he plans a lot of displays and unusual touches that will “make it a really neat retail atmosphere that you’ve never seen in the pawn industry.”

There will be a dramatic 30-foot ceiling at the entrance of the center where Harris hopes to have something fun, such as a small plane or part of a helicopter hanging.

“We’re going to try to work with the Wichita motif.”

Read More »

You don’t say

“If you notice any signs — the stains, the skins, the bugs themselves — notify your supervisor!”

Schendel Pest Services marketing director Michele Vance, quoted in a Dec. 5 New York Times article about bedbugs in libraries, on her instructions to Wichita library workers during a “bedbug boot camp”

Big B’s Beef to open on South Seneca

WICHITA — Wichitans soon will have a taste of Chicago without having to make the trip.

Brian and Liz Bathgate are opening Big B’s Beef at 4628 S. Seneca to serve Chicago-style food, such as hot dogs and pizza puffs.

That’s the former Fire It Up Pit BBQ spot on Seneca just north of 47th Street.

The Bathgates moved here from Chicago four years ago and will order all their meat and bread from there.

“Our specialty will be Italian beef,” Liz Bathgate says. “It’s a finely paper thin roast beef sliced on a hearty Italian bun.”

Big B’s is named after a nickname of Brian Bathgate’s. Liz Bathgate says the restaurant is her husband’s dream.

It will seat about 45 and have a drive-through. There also will be delivery for local businesses.

Big B’s opens Jan. 7 and will be open daily for lunch and dinner except for Sundays, when it will be closed for private parties.