Daily Archives: July 1, 2013

You don’t say

“I feel like I’ve been toying with people the last six months. … I’m just ready to get this thing open.”

Brent Steven, whose Hill Bar and Grill is opening July 29, not June 29 as Have You Heard? erroneously reported

Former Mel Hambelton Ford pitch man is now the face of Davis-Moore Nissan

WICHITA – Jeff Horning is still selling cars in commercials, but it’s no longer for Mel Hambelton Ford.

The former face of the company is now general manager at Davis-Moore Nissan.

That wasn’t Horning’s plan when he left Mel Hambelton on April 30.

Horning says he was offered a partnership with a Phoenix auto group and was making plans to move there.

“After one of five airplane rides there … I think the momentum of that started taking a toll on my family.”

He decided to remain in Wichita. In addition to being general manager for Davis-Moore Nissan, Horning will do commercial work for the company.

Horning’s former boss, Mel Hambelton general manager Phil Nightingale, is now the pitch person for that dealership. He’s bringing his own low-key spin to the job.

“You know, everybody’s got their different personality,” Nightingale says.

“I’m going to be who I am,” he says. “I’m not going to be funny. I’m not going to be loud. I’m going to talk to people the way I’d like to be talked to.”

 

Jack DeBoer creates new VP position for former Ambassador GM Michael Frimel

UPDATED — The new vice president of sales and marketing for the Hotel at Old Town and the Hotel at WaterWalk is a familiar face in the Wichita hotel world.

Michael Frimel, who was the former general manager of the Ambassador Hotel, has the newly created job.

“He reports directly to me,” says hotelier Jack DeBoer.

Former Hotel at Old Town general manager Sheila Cole and former director of sales Amy Grossman now hold the same positions at the 6-month old Ambassador. DeBoer is suing them for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, the destruction of evidence and the misappropriation of trade secrets, among other things.

DeBoer says Frimel’s hiring has nothing to do with Cole and Grossman or where they went.

“It has absolutely no connection,” he says. “I met him after all that confusion.”

He says Frimel wanted to stay in Wichita and contacted him about a job. DeBoer says he’d already hired Jennifer Finlay as general manager for the Hotel at Old Town. He says she’s worked for the hotel for a decade.

“That was easy,” DeBoer says of hiring her. “She’s terrific.”

Frimel says he didn’t immediately call DeBoer after resigning from the Ambassador at the end of May because he considered getting out of the hotel business.

“This allowed me to, number one, keep my family here,” says Frimel, who has a son going into high school.

He says this position will allow him to focus more on sales and marketing, which he says is something he loves.

“I will talk to anybody about anything,” he says.

Frimel hasn’t discussed his departure from the Ambassador publicly yet, but he says there’s no story beyond his choice to do something else with a new company.

“There’s really not,” he says. “It was definitely my decision.”

DeBoer says he’s still looking for a few more sales people.

“We’re just beefing up.”

Although the lawsuit is yet to be resolved, DeBoer says he doesn’t want his staff at the Hotel at Old Town or at the Hotel at WaterWalk dwelling on what happened with the hotel departures.

“It’s forbidden at both hotels to talk about that whole issue,” he says. “It’s over. It’s done with. … Our job is to get on with it.”