Daily Archives: March 5, 2013

You don’t say

“I just think people appreciate quality, and a lot of businesses underestimate that.”

– Theater owner Bill Warren, who says his Moore, Okla., and Wichita Imax theaters were the No. 1- and No. 3-grossing Imax theaters nationally over the weekend

Espanola, New Mexico, theater makes 12th theater property for Mitchell Theatres

WICHITA — Brian Mitchell regularly drives between his family’s New Mexico theaters in Taos and Los Lunas, so he couldn’t help but notice the Dreamcatcher 10 theater in Espanola, N.M.

“Actually, there’s a stoplight right there,” he says. “I had to sit there and look at it.”

He and his family, who own Mitchell Theatres, considered buying it but thought someone else beat them to it. Then, they discovered that deal fell through.

“That’s when we jumped in on it.”

The family now owns the 10-screen theater, which makes its 12th theater property. This makes the fourth theater it has purchased from Storyteller Theatres.

“When you drive by something every time, it was like, OK … we’ve got to see about buying this thing,” Mitchell says. “That’s the farmer in us, I guess. You pass a piece of ground … .”

The family, including Mitchell’s siblings Brent, a lawyer at Martin Pringle, and Kendra Ramsey, who lives in Texas, is a farming family that bought its first theater in Newton almost seven years ago and has been steadily acquiring new theaters ever since. The family also owns the Chisholm Trail Center-Outlet & Retail Shops in Newton.

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State closes 10 Taco Ticos; owner may declare Chapter 11 to try to reopen

UPDATED — At 10 a.m. March 4, the state seized the assets of Ajax International Group, which owns Taco Tico, and closed 10 of the restaurants.

“This is for nonpayment of retail state sales tax,” says Jeannine Koranda, spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue. “With that, they seized multiple sites.”

Koranda says there are two warrants against the company.

One, for June through September of 2011, is for $73,315.94. The other, for October 2011 through October 2012, is for $361,623.29.

Owner Mohmood Karim referred calls to his attorney, Bill Zimmerman. Zimmerman says the two most likely options for Karim are to either get on a payment plan or declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“We will do our best to try to get them reopened tomorrow,” Zimmerman says. “Chapter 11 is probably the most straightforward way.”

The seizure included six Wichita Taco Ticos, one in Derby, one in Arkansas City, one in Dodge City and one in Topeka.

“This is the last in a long series of steps that are taken,” Koranda says of the state shutting down a business.

“We always work with the businesses in question,” she says. “If they can go onto a payment plan or work out an arrangement, they will be allowed to reopen.”

Zimmerman says he’s not sure why Karim wasn’t already on a payment plan.

“I know there were a lot of discussions,” he says. “Obviously, the taxes are serious and need to be dealt with.”

The Augusta, Newton and El Dorado Taco Ticos are not corporate restaurants and are still open.

Zimmerman isn’t sure how quickly Karim’s restaurants will be able to reopen.

“We’re certainly going to try to expedite it,” he says. “If they’re out of business, it becomes very difficult to pay the taxes, obviously.”

Paul Cohlmia’s east-side Riverside restaurant to reopen on the south side

WICHITA — Paul Cohlmia is reopening his east-side restaurant, but not on the east side.

He’s opening Riverside Cafe South in the center on the southwest corner of Pawnee and Meridian. The almost-3,000-square-foot space has been home to a number of restaurants.

“For my customers, I think I’m hitting a niche right over there,” Cohlmia says.

Still, he’s sorry for his east-side customers.

“I tried to find something, but I couldn’t, really,” he says of economical space.

Cohlmia had to close Riverside Too at 924 S. Woodlawn because he says Dollar General is interested in putting a store there.

His original Riverside Cafe is in Riverside, and he has one in Derby as well.

The south-side restaurant will open sometime in April.

“We miss our customers out east,” Cohlmia says. He hopes they come to the new restaurant, as some of them having been doing at his other restaurants.

“Some of them have been coming in, thank goodness.”