Monthly Archives: October 2013

You don’t say

“You’re going to get me killed by Lavonta.”

– Mayor Carl Brewer’s response when asked about his joke that the East 13th Street roadwork in City Council member Lavonta Williams’ district likely would be done before the Kellogg expansion

Same Tree furniture and lighting to be sold at the Workroom; New York is next

Designer Nicole Boles, right, with her parents, Jayne and Robert Boles of Same Tree.

UPDATED — A Kansas company that is about to have its first retail presence has its roots in high fashion in New York and Los Angeles.

“I just decided that I needed more,” designer Nicole Boles says.

In designing high fashion, Boles says she began to feel that “I was making women feel bad about their bodies.”

“What I really wanted to do was something better. I wanted a bigger purpose. I wanted to basically show more love in the world.”

She and her parents, Robert and Jayne Boles, are now doing that through a business called Same Tree.

Nicole Boles says she decided she would use her skills from working with her father as she grew up helping him repurpose antiques, which he did as a hobby, to make repurposed high-end furniture and lighting.

The idea, she says, is to “take vintage and making it into something new.”

“It’s just all about taking things and looking at them in a new way.”

That could be taking a tumbleweed, sculpting it, making it fire resistant and creating a chandelier out of it. In fact, that’s one thing that’s proven especially popular since the family started the company a year ago.

“Our lighting has expanded just because that’s kind of been the more popular thing,” Nicole Boles says.

Same Tree has been online only so far for sales, but it will debut its products Nov. 9 at the Workroom, Janelle King’s home decor business in the Domestic Design Building at 1425 E. Douglas.

“The Workroom will be the first retail establishment,” Boles says. “We’re really excited to finally have a retail spot in Wichita.”

She says she’s also talking to boutiques in New York.

“That will be our next expansion after this,” Boles says. “I’m hoping in the next six months.”

She says she and her parents would one day like to have their own retail shop as well.

“Eventually, that would definitely be in the plans.”

Robert Boles is a design engineer who does aeronautical design for Galaxy Technologies. His hobbies include wood crafts and metal working, which is what he also brings to Same Tree.

Jayne Boles is an operating room nurse at Wesley Medical Center.

“She (is) the organization part of it,” Nicole Boles says of her mother’s contribution to Same Tree.

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Groves Retail Liquor to move, but not far

WICHITA — Groves Retail Liquor is moving, but it won’t be far from its current space at the southeast corner of Kellogg and Webb.

“We’re moving next door,” says Ron Groves.

He says he’s leasing space from Johnny Stevens and Steve Clark at the one-time Builders Square building, which more recently was home to DTY Direct.

“The city … is expanding Kellogg and taking me out of here,” Groves says. “I would have preferred to have stayed, you know.”

The store is now in 7,500 square feet, about 5,000 square feet of which is floor space.

The new building is more than 16,000 square feet.

“We’re going to triple our floor space.”

Groves says he’ll be able to expand the lines he sells and have lots more room for wine.

It’s going to mean “a lot of work,” he says of getting it ready.

He plans for it to happen before Thanksgiving.

“I had very little time to plan a move and to find a location, and Mr. Stevens and Mr. Clark were really very helpful.”

Tenants at former Commerce Bank building are scrambling for new office space

WICHITA — Tenants at the former Commerce Bank building at First and Main downtown are scrambling to find new space.

“Monday, the gas was shut off in the building,” says Kevin Berube, who has run the Snack Attack deli in the building for 27 years.

“One elevator still works part of the time, but it’s no way to operate,” he says. “It’s very hard on everyone.”

The 10-story building is not quite a third occupied with about 10 tenants, the largest of which is the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.

“We don’t want to move,” says Keith Lawing, Alliance president and CEO. “It’s just untenable, though.”

Building owner Joe Moosally didn’t return two calls for comment on Wednesday.

“The building has just not been maintained,” Lawing says. “It’s that Minnesota boys hangover.”

The Real Development developers out of Minnesota once owned the building. Moosally, also out of Minnesota, had ties to the other developers but was not part of that company.

Delton Sandefer of Essential Property Management managed the building until the beginning of October.

“We were just trying to help him keep the building afloat,” he says. “I was managing the building for a little while and quit managing … because of lack of funds with the owners.”

Sandefer says Moosally was working on a deal to sell the building, but it apparently fell through.

He says when Moosally took back the property, he attempted to pay past bills associated with it.

“It was just overwhelming for Joe,” Sandefer says. “He didn’t realize that nothing had been paid for five months.”

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You don’t say

“I said, ‘No,’ and I kind of exhausted my no’s at this point.”

– Derby economic development director Allison Moeding, who in January will regretfully leave her job after 11 years because her husband, Air Force reservist Mike Moeding, is being transferred to Joint Base Andrews

Wink Hartman Sr. may run for office again

WICHITA — He has more businesses to keep him occupied than the average 10 people combined, but Wink Hartman Sr. is once again considering a run for office.

“The model that we’ve lived by for so many years is broken in Congress,” says the oilman, who also is a restaurateur, among other things. “The bickering (has) deteriorated to name calling, which has deteriorated into the inability of either party doing something for the citizenry that they were elected to do.”

Hartman lost a blistering campaign for the 4th Congressional District in 2010.

“When I ran for District 4 in 2010, as many people remember it was unpleasant banter amongst the candidates,” Hartman says. “But yet I have learned in life that a lot of things that need to get done, there’s no easy path, and if I have to take a few hits and a few slaps along the way, I’m … more than willing to do that.”

He’s not saying if he’s going to run or what office he may seek.

“I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but it is under consideration,” Hartman says.

“I have a rather large expanse of interest politically,” he says. “My number one goal is to improve … the quality of life not only in District 4 of Kansas, but in the state of Kansas and hopefully affect some change nationally if the proper people are elected in Kansas. … In my life, I’ve been fortunate and been very successful at a multitude of businesses, but at the end of the day, the people of this state have earned the right to have qualified elected officials, and in my view, there are multiple areas where that is not the fact.”

Hartman says others have approached him about running, but he says it’s all about finding the right person for each office. That may not be him, Hartman says.

“It is incumbent upon people like myself and many others to put the best slate of Kansas possibilities for the voters to make a selection.”

He plans to do some polling to explore possibilities.

So why not be content to reign over his own business kingdom and let someone else fight political battles?

“History tells us that that attitude is one of the many problems that we now suffer at different levels of government,” Hartman says. “The kingdom attitude, the swing back at your opponent, the name calling, the inability to come to a consensus.”

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316 Vapes to open in Tallgrass Plaza

WICHITA — It may seem like a lot of electronic cigarette shops are opening around town, but store owner Derek Hoover doesn’t think there are many here.

“That’s one reason I chose Wichita,” he says of opening his second shop. “My friends and I, we all have stores. We always try to stay ahead of the game.”

His first store is in Muskogee, Okla.

Hoover is now working on opening 316 Vapes in Tallgrass Plaza at the northeast corner of 21st and Rock Road.

The store will sell electronic cigarettes, the liquid that goes in them and related accessories.

“The way we have it set up is it’s a bar,” Hoover says. He says anyone 18 and older can sit at the bar and sample his products.

Hoover says he has an acquaintance who is a chemist and a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma who will mix their liquids.

“I hate to say it,” says Hoover, an Oklahoma State University graduate.

The store will open in almost 1,500 square feet sometime next week.

Krista Lowry with J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal.

You don’t say

“I’m going to stay unretired, I guess. I’m just going to be tired.”

Kay Hettenbach, who has not had any luck selling her Kay’s This N’ That store

Absolute Natural Stones starts landscaping design and installation division

WICHITA — Absolute Natural Stones owners Ammar and Nazir Jesri are adding yet another division to their company.

Last week, the two announced they would add a Taylor Rental franchise when they moved their business to expanded space at 12225 E. Kellogg next year.

In August, they started My RV Time Share.

Now, the Jesris are adding a landscaping design and installation division.

“We finally decided … it’s the right time,” Nazir Jesri says. “The opportunity’s here, so we said, OK, let’s do it.”

He says the company’s new 12,000-square-foot building is allowing for the division’s creation.

“We’re going to have some room to breathe,” Jesri says. “We’ve been thinking about (this) for several years.”

Part of the reason is the division complements what they’re already doing with stonework.

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Speedy Cash expands headquarters with 20,000-square-foot building

WICHITA — About this time last year, Speedy Cash moved its call center from its corporate headquarters on North Ridge Road to the former KGB call center at 8400 E. 32nd St. North, which is along K-96 just east of Rock Road.

Now, the company is adding to its corporate campus with a new 20,000-square-foot building at 3615 N. Ridge Road.

“The company’s continued to grow both domestically and internationally,” says Bill Baker, Speedy Cash’s chief marketing officer. “We quite frankly just ran out of space from a corporate-support standpoint.”

Speedy Cash is owned by three Wichitans and a private equity firm and provides a variety of financial services, such as installment loans, check cashing and wire transfers.

The company has about 250 people in its corporate offices and 3,500 total at 180 Speedy Cash and Rapid Cash sites nationally, 135 Cash Money sites in Canada and 23 Speedy Cash sites in the United Kingdom. It also has Internet sales. The Internet side of the business is almost 20 percent of the company’s overall business.

“It’s a growing percentage,” Baker says.

He says the international business is strong, too.

“The fact that we are a state-licensed lender is paying dividends for us,” Baker says. He says that “puts us in a good position for long-term, sustainable growth.”

“There’s been some scrutiny in the industry of people who choose not to be state licensed,” he says.

The company’s accounting, human resources, marketing and IT departments have grown with its stores. Currently, those functions are in four buildings on the North Ridge Road campus. The new space will be the company’s fifth corporate building.

“As we continue to expand, I think we also continue to create really quality … jobs,” Baker says.

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