J.R. Koontz Flowers behind in state taxes

WICHITA — Another longtime Wichita business is struggling and behind on taxes because of the economy.

J.R. Koontz Flowers owes $23,559 in state sales tax.

“We’re trying to get that resolved right now,” says owner J.R. Koontz. “It’s not only embarrassing, but it’s just very difficult.”

He says he suspected there was a problem, but not to this extent.

“I was just kind of blown away,” Koontz says. “I thought, truthfully, it wouldn’t go this far.”

He says contributing to the issue is his purchase of the 10,000-square-foot building at 633 N. Broadway where he moved the business a decade ago.

“Quite honestly, this facility is a dream come true, and I’m glad I did it,” Koontz says. “Regretfully, it probably wasn’t the smartest business move.”

Though he may be good with flowers, Koontz says running a business isn’t his specialty.

“I’m probably one of the worst business people there is when it comes to paying attention to handling those business things.”

The business will be 40 years old next year.

“We’ve got such a wonderful, loyal customer base as well as a wonderful community of support,” Koontz says.

He says he hopes financial problems won’t force him to close.

“We’re going to hang in there as long as we can. It’s always a concern.”

Koontz says selling his building is more likely.

“I hate like hell to think about leaving, but at the same time, I am going to fulfill my obligations, and if it means having to move, I will move,” he says. “But I’m not giving up. … I’m not walking away.”