Daily Archives: May 29, 2013

Big E’s Vapor Room to open on South Rock

WICHITA — Eldon Simmons dropped a bad habit which in turn gave him an idea to start a new business.

“My fiance has been on my butt to quit smoking,” says Simmons, who is a service manager at a truck stop.

He decided to try electronic cigarettes and says he was able to quit real ones two days later. He says he introduced them to friends who had the same success.

“So far, it’s a 100 percent success ratio,” Simmons says. “It’s amazing is what it is.”

So he’s decided to open Big E’s Vapor Room, which will be similar to a cigar lounge except customers will smoke electronic cigarettes.

In the next couple of weeks, Simmons and his business partner, Knucklehead Leather co-owner Sherri Meyer, will open in 830 square feet at 946 S. Rock Road. That’s just south of Lincoln on the east side of Rock Road.

“If this thing blows up like I think it will, I’m going to expand,” Simmons says.

He’ll offer coffee, soft drinks, WiFi and TV at first but hopes to add food and liquor later.

“I think it’ll turn into that.”

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You don’t say

“The @WichitaOrpheum could use a little Jesus after @RealTracyMorgan’s performance there. #itwaspurefilth”

— A tweet from comedian Ron Shively, aka @FunnyMrBiggs, after hearing City Life Church is going to rent the Orpheum Theatre every Sunday morning for services

Lou Heldman named acting director for Center for Entrepreneurship; Tim Pett still on administrative leave

WICHITA — It seems Lou Heldman is Wichita State University’s go-to guy for help on an interim basis.

Heldman, who has been interim director of the Elliott School of Communication, is going to be WSU’s acting director for the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Former center director Tim Pett, who also is a professor and the W. Frank Barton Distinguished Chair, was placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons several weeks ago.

WSU spokesman Joe Kleinsasser says Pett remains on leave.

There were indications the school was going to be starting a search for a permanent replacement for Pett, but Keith Pickus, WSU’s interim provost and a history professor, says that’s not the case.

“The center has been without a director now for a number of weeks,” he says.

“Until that situation is resolved, we aren’t making any other steps than putting somebody in charge of the center,” Pickus says. “I guarantee you there has been no decision on whether to do a search.”

He says any indications otherwise were a miscommunication.

Pickus says he can’t discuss Pett’s situation because it’s a personnel matter.

Heldman was president and publisher of The Wichita Eagle from 2002 to 2007. He then became WSU’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Media Management and Journalism.

Cindy Claycomb, who is interim dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business, says she’s pleased Heldman was selected as acting director.

“We’re thrilled that he’s going to join us,” Claycomb says. “Lou will do a great job.”

Sasnak Management considers potential new concept in addition to Carlos O’Kelly’s and Applebee’s

UPDATED — Sasnak Management has operated a number of concepts through the years — including current brands Carlos O’Kelly’s and Applebee’s — and now the company is considering one more.

“I would say we are continuing a conversation that we’ve had for years,” says Jon Rolph, Sasnak president.

He says there’s nothing even close to firm yet.

“We’re maybe having that conversation more seriously than in years past.”

Sasnak has 39 Carlos O’Kelly’s restaurants and 25 Applebee’s franchises in Iowa.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve done something new,” Rolph says.

He says the company has considered franchises through the years.

“We even took a run at buying a concept that we could franchise out a few years ago,” Rolph says.

“What really has our interest these days is to develop something we could grow internally and have control over.”

Rolph says with the experience and knowledge within Sasnak, that makes sense.

He says the company is “exploring it a little more intentionally.”

“Who knows where it will lead?”