Monthly Archives: January 2013

You don’t say

“You know, if I could build a mountain out here, I’d do it. So I’ll get busy working on that after lunch.”

Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Jim Skelton speaking at the chamber’s Chairman’s Lunch about how to boost tourism and economic development

Bliss-fullness Custom Cakes & Pastries to leave the west side for Old Town

WICHITA — There’s blissful news for denizens of Old Town.

Angie and Johnny Vasquez are moving their Bliss-fullness Custom Cakes & Pastries from Tyler Plaza near Central and Tyler, where it opened last summer, to Old Town.

The shop will locate between Larkspur and Wasabi.

“We were eating lunch at Wasabi one day, and my husband was like, ‘Let’s go take a walk,’” Angie Vasquez says.

They saw that a space next door along with a loft above it were available.

“Basically, that was the selling point for us,” Angie Vasquez says. “We can have a business and a family all at one place.”

The couple has two toddlers and a 19-year-old, Johnny Jalali.

“My 19-year-old is kind of like a baking prodigy,” Angie Vasquez says.

Bliss-fullness has cupcakes, cakes and pastries, such as croissants, which are made fresh daily.

“We are definitely going to go up on the pastries,” Angie Vasquez says.

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Game On to open at Chisholm Trail Center-Outlet & Retail Shops in Newton

UPDATED — Everything old is new again at Game On, which has been in the Hutchinson Mall for almost five years and now is going to have a second location at Chisholm Trail Center-Outlet & Retail Shops.

The store, which will open in 1,200 square feet next month, buys, sells and trades video games, DVDs and game systems. It also sells iPods, skateboards and body jewelry.

“A lot of our business is the old, vintage games that are harder to find,” says owner Jeff Boll referring to such games as Nintendo.

“Now everybody’s older and wants to go back and play the games they had as kids.”

Game On sells new items as well.

Boll says he had to decide on a second store in either Newton or Great Bend.

“We just get a lot of customers from both places,” he says.

Newton won in part because it’s closer.

Boll likely will consider a third store down the road.

“Haven’t really thought that far ahead,” he says. “It would probably be a year or two.”

You don’t say

“This year is starting off with a bang. … Would I say we’re second in the nation? I don’t know about that.”

Realty World Alliance’s Greg Fox on a “Today” story this week that puts Wichita at No. 2 on a list of 10 real estate markets that are rebounding

Pacific Coast Pizza and Walkers Bar and Venue to open by arena in March

Aaron Moore (left) and Rusty Law, who are opening Walkers Bar and Venue and Pacific Coast Pizza near Intrust Bank Arena.

UPDATED — Before Intrust Bank Arena opened in 2010, there was a lot of buzz about how many bars and restaurants it would attract to that part of downtown.

That hasn’t happened, but two new venues are preparing to open in a month or so, and one more may follow this summer.

It’s been about a year since Have You Heard? first reported it, but Rusty Law is getting ready to open his second Pacific Coast Pizza at 222 S. Commerce St. That’s at the south end of a series of buildings attached to the back of the former Spaghetti Works space, which is east of the arena.

The 5,350-square-foot space was built in the 1980s. It will be adjacent to the 4,950-square-foot space to the north where Law’s longtime friend Aaron Moore is opening Walkers Bar and Venue. The 1908 building was a flour mill at one time.

Law and Moore hope to open both businesses in early March.

“I think what we’re going to … have is something Old Town does not necessarily have,” Moore says. “Location’s obviously key.”

He’s calling his business Walkers “because people seem to walk here.”

“It’s quite obvious when you come down here on event night that everybody’s walking,” Moore says. “When you watch the flow of traffic on event night, I can’t see why everybody wouldn’t want to stop in. I think we’ll capture a large audience just by being something fresh.”

Law says he plans to capitalize on Old Town revelers who may have had a few adult beverages by selling “a slice of pizza for them at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

He says the area will become a destination.

“Location wise it’s perfect for us being right next to the arena, right next to all the development in downtown,” Law says. “The customer count down here is going to be really good.”

He says Wichita Thunder hockey games bring in a potential 4,000 to 5,000 people, and concerts and other events can bring in as many as 12,000.

“It’s almost free advertisement being down here by the arena.”

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Ambassador Hotel’s restaurant offers a front seat to . . . Wichita’s sidewalks?

WICHITA — There’s a description on the Ambassador Hotel’s website touting the view at its new restaurant.

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse Restaurant offers a signature dining experience in a vibrant atmosphere overlooking the sidewalks of Wichita.”

The sidewalks of Wichita? That’s the view?

Though it sounds kind of funny to describe it that way, Bruce Rowley says it makes perfect sense.

Rowley, whose Rowley Snyder Ablah handles marketing for the hotel, recently dined there.

“Come on,” he says. “The two people I just met walked here. How often does that happen?”

There’s also a lot happening around the hotel in what’s become known as Block 1, where the former Henry’s building is under development and the new Kansas Leadership Center and the Kansas Health Foundation Conference Center are under construction.

So while the sidewalk description may inspire a few chuckles, Rowley says, “I refuse to make fun of it.”

Cypress Heart to leave Kansas Medical Center for Heartland Cardiology

UPDATED — Cypress Heart, which has been with the Kansas Medical Center for a year and a half, is merging with Heartland Cardiology in April.

“That will make us the largest cardiology group in Wichita,” says Heartland administrator Jane Robinson. “We’re excited about that.”

The groups have considered merging in the past.

“We have a lot of things that we have mutually done together in the past,” says Roger Evans, a Cypress physician.

Heartland, which has eight physicians, has a main office at 551 N. Hillside. It also is on the west side at 8710 W. 13th.

Cypress Heart, which has six physicians, is at 9300 E. 29th St. North, which is where will it remain. At least three of its physicians are joining Heartland, two may stay with the Kansas Medical Center and one may leave Wichita.

“Part of the reason, really, we did this was to be ready for the new changes in health care,” says Heartland physician Assem Farhat. “That was also a driving force to try to provide more comprehensive and better services and more efficient … patient-centered care.”

Evans says it makes more sense for Cypress physicians to be affiliated with other physicians instead of a hospital, such as the Kansas Medical Center.

“It hasn’t worked out as well as we hoped,” he says.

“It’s just a vision for how to expand and grow the practice,” he says. “Hospitals, their primary goal is to have people in the hospitals. … Their vision was more along the lines of how to make the hospital grow best.”

Cypress physician Hussam Farhoud says the practice now will be entirely controlled by cardiologists.

“It will be more efficient,” he says. “We’ll have (more) physician input in the practice.”

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Is Dillons adding a gas station at 21st and Amidon? Employees say yes

WICHITA — Officially, Dillons is mum about whether it’s putting a fueling center at its store at 21st and Amidon.

Unofficially, employees are telling customers it’s coming.

The former Twin Lakes Liquor store, which was on the corner in front of the store, was demolished this week.

About this time last year, after the liquor store had been closed for a while, shoppers started wondering if a gas station might be coming.

At the time, Dillons spokeswoman Sheila Lowrie said, “I can tell you that we’re always exploring options when it comes to how we can expand fuel for our customers because it’s something they tell us they enjoy about shopping with us, but unfortunately at this time I would be unable to confirm future plans for that location.”

Lowrie is out this week, and a Dillons representative says no one else is authorized to speak on behalf of the company.

No one else may be authorized, but that’s not stopping employees at the store from freely discussing it with customers.

We’ll check with Lowrie to officially confirm next week.

Justin McClure creates the Launch Laser to help perfect baseball swings

Justin McClure and his son, Bradyn, who was the inspiration for his new Launch Laser.

WICHITA — A father’s basement project to help his son better his baseball swing has turned into an entrepreneur’s foray into a new business called the Launch Laser.

Justin McClure, who owns Justin McClure Creative and played baseball in college, is the father and entrepreneur.

“It’s no secret … I love baseball,” McClure says. “I have a huge passion for baseball.”

So does his son, Bradyn, but he had trouble with his swing for a while.

“When my son was 7 years old, he was struggling,” McClure says. “I just needed a way to show him how to swing properly. I really wanted to create a visual aid for my son.”

They were in their basement, and McClure took a foam bat and attached a laser pointer to it.

“It was a great visual aid for him to see and feel where the bat was,” McClure says. “I didn’t want to make it too complex for him.”

He started sharing it with other people, including his son’s team.

“Most people thought I was nuts,” McClure says.

Then he started hearing comments such as, “This is pretty cool,” and “This really works,” and McClure says he started realizing its potential.

“When you have a visual aid, when you can show somebody something … it just makes it that much easier,” McClure says.

He began to shop around the idea to find a company to manufacture what he’s calling the Launch Laser.

“The Launch Laser is a device that attaches to the knob that attaches to the top of a baseball bat,” McClure says. “It basically projects a laser.”

He says he was met with the verbal equivalent of eye rolling.

Garnett-based HayesBrand Molding liked the idea, though.

Read More »

Riverside Too may have to move

WICHITA — It looks like Riverside Too at 924 S. Woodlawn may need a new home.

Dollar General is interested in putting a store at the intersection of Lincoln and Woodlawn.

Paul Cohlmia, whose original Riverside Cafe is in Riverside, opened the second one in the former Livingston’s Cafe in 2010.

If the Dollar General deal happens, it sounds like he most likely will try to keep Riverside Too open in another spot.

We’ll let you know what happens.