Daily Archives: Sept. 30, 2013

West-side Miracle Ear opens in new space

WICHITA — After more than twenty years inside Sears at Towne West Square, Miracle Ear now has a place of its own.

Franchisee Lora Cruse, who operates the business with her husband Monty, and son, Monty Cruse Jr., says it was time to “get ourself out there and get in front of everybody.”

The new store is at the Maple Street Mini Mall on the northwest corner of Maple and Anna, which is across from Towne West.

“We didn’t want to get too far away because that’s where our customers know we are,” Cruse says.

The new space is 1,100 square feet.

“It is probably twice as big,” Cruse says.

A bigger factor in the move is that the new space is “just easier to get to.”

“Our folks don’t have to navigate that bigger parking lot … at Towne West.”

The Cruses also have a Miracle Ear in the Sears at Towne East Square.

Aflac regional office moves from west side to O’Rourke Title Building downtown

WICHITA — The regional Aflac office has moved from the west side to 2,010 square feet at the O’Rourke Title Building at William and Broadway.

“We just wanted to get downtown,” says regional manager Kathy Wiedemann.

She says part of the reason is to have a more centrally located office, but also, she says, there’s “just a little bit more energy downtown.”

Not to mention there’s also the Cafe Bel Ami factor. The restaurant is located on the building’s first floor.

“You know, we just got done eating lunch there,” Wiedemann says of her first day in the new office on Monday.

“It’s just so convenient,” she says. “It’s fun being down here.”

Tony Utter of Utter Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Wiedemann says there’s been extensive remodeling and painting in Aflac’s new suite except for her office, which once belonged to Pat O’Rourke of O’Rourke Title.

“I’m sitting right now in his old office,” Wiedemann says. “I didn’t touch his office because I just like it the way it is.”

She says it has old, wood paneling.

“It might sound kind of ugly, but it’s really not,” Wiedemann says.

“Imagine all the deals that went on back in the day when he was in here,” she says. “So it’s kind of neat to be in his office.”

Midwest Sewing Center moving to Maple and Ridge Road for more foot traffic

WICHITA — Troy Heinrich says the owners of the shopping center at the northeast corner of Maple and Ridge Road have been trying to woo his family’s west-side Midwest Sewing Center there for a couple of years.

So Heinrich says he sat in the center’s parking lot one day. In the space of about an hour, he saw 175 people walk into McAlister’s Deli, which is a few doors down from where he considered relocating.

“People would walk right in front of that store,” Heinrich says.

He says he saw more people “than we have had in our store in probably a month.”

So he and his mother, Dixie, who owns the store, decided to move it from 21st and Ridge Road where it’s been for a decade. That center on the northwest corner is where the west-side Piccadilly once was. Heinrich says he watched year after year as retail businesses left the center and commercial tenants moved in that didn’t have customers who visited throughout the day.

In addition to increased traffic at the new center, Heinrich says he likes that the Picket Fence Quilt Co. will be his store’s neighbor since they attract a similar clientele. He’s opening the store this week, including on Sunday, to coincide with the Central Kansas Quilt Shop Hop event.

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Au Paris-Bruxelles French and Belgian restaurant to open at Clifton Square after all

WICHITA — The deal for a French and Belgian restaurant to open at Clifton Square appeared to be off, but it’s going to go forward after all.

“It did drag out, but it’s never been officially off,” says Ted Branson, a broker with Landmark Commercial Real Estate.

Flo and Didier Fraikin had won a lottery for a green card to come to the United States, and after considering a home in Colorado and Wyoming, they chose Wichita.

“It sounds like they’re enamored with the West,” Branson says. Flo Fraikin “says it’s been her lifelong dream to come to America.”

“So they just jumped on it,” Branson says. “I’m not sure they thought it all through. … It was a little bigger than they anticipated.”

The family of seven plus three pets flew to San Francisco and planned a tour through the West to get to Wichita by June. Car trouble led to financial trouble which led to the family being stuck in California.

“They’ve just been hunkered down there trying to survive,” Branson says. “We’re just been pushing for them to get here. We’ll figure it out when they get here.”

The family is due to arrive Friday.

Branson says he’s “taking on a new job for a week” trying to help the family in advance of their arrival. A temporary house is his first order of business.

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Northwestern Mutual RPS Financial Group to move to Hartman Oil Building

WICHITA — Northwestern Mutual RPS Financial Group is moving from its current space near Murdock and Waco to new space at the Hartman Oil Building at 10500 E. Berkeley Square Parkway.

In a news release, managing director Sean Miller said he likes the upscale surroundings and ongoing development near the Hartman building and says the move will position the office to add new employees.

The company, which has 18 financial representatives and their staff members, hopes to add 35 representatives and interns in the next 15 months.

Nationwide, Northwestern Mutual has more than 7,000 financial representatives and hopes to add 5,500 more.

Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal for the space. Shelden Architecture is the architect, and Icon Structures is the contractor.

Northwestern Mutual will move into its more than 9,100 square feet in December.