Daily Archives: Nov. 14, 2013

Hog Wild Pit Bar-B-Q to open in El Dorado

WICHITA — It’s been a year since former Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon president and COO T.D. O’Connell purchased founder Gary Poulton’s interest in Hog Wild Pit Bar-B-Q, and it’s been a busy year.

O’Connell is close to opening a new Hog Wild in the former Taco Tico space at 1530 W. Central in El Dorado. He says he expects the restaurant to open between Thanksgiving and Christmas and may begin hiring workers yet this week.

He’s also finishing a contract on a new Hog Wild in Lawrence, though he can’t share the exact location yet. O’Connell says he expects the Lawrence Hog Wild to open in the second quarter next year.

Then, it’s on to Topeka and Manhattan, he says. O’Connell has already narrowed down the locations but hasn’t signed leases yet.

With five Wichita locations, O’Connell says he feels like Wichita is covered, especially since the restaurants cater.

“Our circles are a little bit bigger because of that,” he says. “Wichita’s been great to us.”

O’Connell also has Hog Wilds in Hutchinson and Salina.

“Hutchinson has done well – extremely well,” he says.

O’Connell says he’s going to watch how El Dorado does, being a smaller market, and make plans beyond that.

Nebraska and Iowa will be the first states he tackles outside of Kansas, he says.

“I’m going to continue to grow it.”

Bud Gates announces three new Easygates franchises nationally

WICHITA — Three new Easygates lease-to-own franchises have opened nationally this month.

Bud Gates, who is chairman and CEO of the company, announced the new Easyhome stores for Roanoke, Va., Aurora, Ill., and Essex, Md.

“The owners of these franchises are experienced and successful business men,” Gates said in a release. “We are pleased to
partner with them. They will bring their commitment to customer service and overall business savvy to their stores, and
be a major plus to our U.S. franchise community, offering our unique services to even more customers in Virginia, Illinois and Maryland.”

This makes 44 Easyhome stores nationally. Gates is the master franchisor for Easyhome in 36 states. He operates some of the stores and franchisees have others.

Gates started Easygates in 2007. Previously, he was chairman and CEO at Rent-A-Center and THORN Americas.

Genesis Health Clubs acquires St. Joseph Tennis and Swim Club

WICHITA — With the addition of its first health club in Missouri, the 28-year-old Genesis Health Clubs now has a baker’s dozen.

Genesis has 12 health clubs in Kansas and has acquired the St. Joseph Tennis and Swim Club at 3107 N. Belt Highway in St. Joseph, Mo.

“I just saw a huge opportunity,” says owner Rodney Steven II.

He says his goal is to transform the tennis center into a full-service health club in addition to a tennis center.

“They don’t currently have fitness there now,” Steven says. “They need this really bad, so it’s going to be really fun.”

He plans to begin moving in fitness equipment and then will expand the building and add cardio and weight rooms. Steven also plans to remodel the tennis courts and expand and remodel the locker rooms.

Genesis also bought two and a half acres to the north of the current tennis center to expand.

The chain has experience transforming tennis facilities into health clubs. In 2001, it acquired the Wichita Racquet Club, which had 2,000 members. Today, the health club on Rock Road – the premier club in the chain – has 10,000 members.

Genesis has five facilities in Wichita, two in Lawrence and one each in Hutchinson, Salina, Emporia, Leavenworth and McPherson.

Much of the expansion to other markets has come in the last five years.

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