Daily Archives: May 30, 2014

See you in a couple of weeks

Hey, guys, I’m out of the office for a couple of weeks. I won’t be checking e-mail, but I’ll look forward to hearing the latest scoop when I return, so please keep those tips coming.



Hays Applebee’s to have Tesla charging station

teslaWICHITA — Applebee’s franchisee Jim Stevens is adding something new to the menu, so to speak, at his Applebee’s restaurant in Hays.

A Tesla charging station is going to be in the restaurant’s parking lot in a week or so. Tesla Motors is putting the stations from coast to coast.

“It’ll be the first Applebee‘s that’s ever had one,” Stevens says. “We have a location that’s convenient to the interstate. It’s easy on and easy off.”

He says the pricey electric vehicle is a “beautiful car.”

If Tesla owners charge at home, Stevens says, “It takes most of the night in your garage or wherever.”

At his place, he says, it takes just over half an hour.

There will be six stalls, three of which will be for Tesla drivers only. The other three can be used for Tesla charging stations or extra parking for other cars.

“There’s going to be a lot of people that just want to come see a Tesla,” Stevens says.

He figures the majority of them will probably stick around for a bite to eat.

One of these days, diners may be able to see a Stevens-owned Tesla in the lot.

“Well, at some point and time I will (have one),” Stevens says. “Online, people just rave about them. Say they’re just incredible.”

He adds, “I’m not a car guy, but you know, I’ll tell you what, to be able to drive from one coast to another and not spend a penny is pretty incredible.”

Unruh Automotive Northeast expands from five bays to 13

WICHITA — Chris Myers has added almost 4,000 square feet to his Unruh Automotive Northeast at 2100 N. Beaumont, which is a block west of 21st and Woodlawn behind Bionic Burger.

He says business is “growing pretty rapidly to the point where we would have a delay in our service of a day or two just trying to get … to the vehicles.”

With the five bays he used to have, Myers says, “You can only work on so much in a given day.”

Now, he has 13 bays, each of which is two vehicles deep.

“So we can get a lot more vehicles in (and) take care of our customers quicker,” Myers says.

He says he’s invested in top-of-the-line alignment equipment for two alignment bays, and he’s added another large truck bay to service shuttle vans and make it easier for his employees to get to them without having to lie on the ground.

Myers also owns Auto M.D. in Derby.

There are two other Unruh Automotive stores in the Wichita area owned by someone else.

Myers is considering adding another east-side store.

“I have some things that are in the works,” he says. “It’s preliminary at this point.”

With his new bays at the northeast store, Myers says he doesn’t necessarily expect to double his business but plans “to get pretty close.”

You don’t say

“It was very exciting. Kind of surreal. … It was just one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.”

– Auctioneer Jason Woody on a piece of glass in the Rieger art glass auction Thursday that he hoped would bring at least $100,000 but actually fetched $260,000 from a West Virginia collector

Optometric Billing Solutions to quadruple its space with new Maize building

UPDATED — Less than a decade after starting Optometric Billing Solutions in a home basement, sisters Branda Barton and Brooke Armstrong are making their third move to a new building.

At 21,000 square feet, this one should last a while. The sisters are in negotiations to buy the former SecureNet building at 10501 W. Hampton Lakes in Maize.

Though they say the space is nice and that the $1.6 million in industrial revenue bonds the city is giving them in the next three years will be helpful, Armstrong says they would have had the same things in Wichita.

“To be honest, it really was the city of Maize,” she says of the decision to locate there.

“The sense of community in that place was amazing,” Armstrong says. “Branda and I … really left there with the sense and impression of community and values. Their whole culture just seemed really in line with what we value as a corporation.”

City Administrator Richard LaMunyon says the city felt the same about them.

“We just really kind of hit it off,” he says. “They were just excited about their business. You could tell that they were professional in what they were doing.”

He says that’s important because the company will be one of the larger private ones in Maize, and he expects it to be there for some time to come.

“It has great potential for growth.”

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