Monthly Archives: July 2014

You don’t say

“Yay! Blackened T-Shirts!”

– Wichitan Mike Rishell’s (@mikerishell) tweet after he heard Tad’s Locker Room is going in the Red Bean’s Bayou Grill space

Tad’s Locker Room to open in former Red Bean’s Bayou Grill space

WICHITA — From restaurant to locker room.

The former Red Bean’s Bayou Grill near 21st and Ridge is going to be the new home of a west-side Tad’s Locker Room.

The original Tad’s is in Cambridge Market at 21st and Webb on the east side.

tadtwo“It just fell in place,” owner Tad Snarenberger says of the deal.

He almost had a different west-side deal and had preordered merchandise when it fell through.

“God has really helped us do this because we didn’t have a place to go,” Snarenberger says.

The 5,400-square-foot space is just over what the east-side store has.

“It’s just like a large ranch,” Snarenberger says of the long space.

Snarenberger’s store, which sells sports apparel and memorabilia, used to be called Sports Time Fan Shop until he and a partner split in 2012.

There’s still a Sports Time Fan Shop in NewMarket Square up the road from where Tad’s will open.

Snarenberger says he feels like Tad’s has a strong enough market presence now to open a second shop.

Intrust Bank has my back on this,” he says.

Snarenberger thinks his store works because of his strong staff and because he’s in the shop daily, which he’ll continue to be at both stores.

“Yeah, he’s a local guy,” he says customers say. “He’s doing the local thing.”

The new store likely will open in early October.

“It is a huge leap,” Snarenberger says. “It’s exciting.”

Slawson Cos. purchases southeast corner of 29th and Maize

WICHITA — Slawson Cos., the developer of NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize, has purchased 73 acres at the southeast corner of 29th and Maize.

The new Sam’s Club is on the northeast corner.

“Obviously, it’s a very-well located property,” says Slawson commercial broker Jerry Jones.

The company acquired the property, including the approximately 10-acre Cadillac Lake, from the Pracht family.

Jones says the family owned it for almost 100 years and cultivated the habitat for water fowl and also farmed on the land the last 40 or 50 years.

He says the property has a number of potential uses.

“That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re evaluating its potential.”

Jones says the Maize Road frontage is excellent for retail and restaurant development.

He says there’s additional potential for around the lake, which could be used for offices, bird watching, hiking or fishing.

Jones says it’s too early to give a time frame for development.

“We’ve got a lot of planning and entitlements to work through.”

Company founder Don Slawson died earlier this month at the age of 80.

“We want to carry out Don’s legacy of quality development,” Jones says, “so we’ll be very deliberate in our planning and make sure we execute it accordingly.”

You don’t say

“I’m not going to be the guy in the kitchen.”

Jeremy Wade, one of the best-known chefs in Wichita, who is gone from Lakeside Club and now will help manage Alex Harb’s new Meddys Mediterranean chain

Chit Chat Holdings files Chapter 11 bankruptcy to settle billing dispute

UPDATED– Chit Chat Holdings has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a way to settle a billing dispute, says John Hennessy, a member of the company.

“It’s a discrepancy in billing with Sprint,” he says. “A big one.”

Hennessy won’t give specific numbers, but he says the dispute is over “several hundred thousand dollars” of data usage.

“It’s real complicated,” Hennessy says.

Chit Chat used to have retail outlets but now is a mobile virtual network operator. That means it is distributing phone service by buying service through major telecommunications companies and repackaging and selling it.

Late last year, Chit Chat began service in New York City and other East Coast areas through a company that Sprint purchased.

“We didn’t receive the billing information in a timely manner,” Hennessy says.

He says information about data usage came more than 60 days late.

Chit Chat has a monitoring company that monitors usage.

“This monitoring company didn’t receive this information either,” Hennessy says. “And consequently it left us holding the bag.”

Sprint spokeswoman Stephanie Vinge Walsh won’t discuss specifics of the situation.

“While we aren’t commenting at this time on the details of this customer relationship, we value our wholesale customers, including Chit Chat, and work hard to support them,” she said via e-mail.

“Sprint is trying to tell us that we’re responsible … for that usage, and we’re telling them, ‘No, we’re not,’” Hennessy says.

“We couldn’t come to any satisfactory resolution to this issue,” he says. “It’s too big to just pay and walk away from.”

Hennessy says Chit Chat has a good relationship with Sprint’s sales department.

“These big entities like this, you’re dealing with different groups and different branches within the companies,” he says. “It’s not like you’re dealing with one individual that has complete control over a company.”

Hennessy says Chit Chat can’t sue Sprint without jeopardizing its contract with the company.

“There’s different conditions that they can breach your contract,” he says. “We still spend a lot of money with them.”

Hennessy says the bankruptcy filing is about finding some common ground.

“The only place we’re going to be able to work it out is in a Chapter 11,” he says.

“There was no other options for us to do besides this,” Hennessy says, “… besides pay a bill that we don’t feel like we owe.”

He says without the data information coming in regularly, customers were able to take advantage of the situation.

“What happens is you have people who abuse the system,” Hennessy says.

“I had people using 10 gigs a day,” he says. “How somebody uses 300 gigs a month, we don’t understand what they were doing.”

Hennessy says he thinks the bankruptcy filing will resolve the issue.

“It’s a whole different ball game now that we’re in,” he says.

“Then you can move forward. You can go ahead with your relationship.”

DeBoer names his new apartments after neighboring WaterWalk development

WICHITA — The new apartments that Jack DeBoer is building on the west side of the river across from his WaterWalk development now have a name: WaterWalk Apartments.

It may seem like the obvious choice, but it wasn’t necessarily.

“We toyed with some other names,” DeBoer says. “We struggled with it.”

DeBoer says he doesn’t remember what the other names were but that it’s surprising how many conflicts there are with names.

“It’s amazing, you pick a name, and it sounds like a good idea.”

Then, he says, you might find that it’s already in use or has a connection somewhere else or a connotation that you don’t like.

“Vetting a name in business is not a simple task,” DeBoer says.

WaterWalk, in the end, made sense, he says.

“And frankly … I owned the name, and so I said, ‘Oh, OK.’ ”

Method Productions to move to Old Town

WICHITA — As Have You Heard? reported Monday, Jacque Waite and her Jacque Inc. Photography are now in the Grant Telegraph Centre in Old Town, and Method Productions will be joining her next week.

“We have a rapport and a friendship with her,” says Method Productions’ Luis Rodriguez. “It just made sense to do it together.”

Method Productions is a 2-year-old full-service video production company that Gabe Juhnke and Rik Dubiel started from their homes.

They now share space with Burly Studios on Commerce Street.

“We were collaborating with (Burly) on some bigger projects,” Rodriguez says. “We co-located because it made sense.”

As Method Productions needed studio space, though, it started using Waite’s studio next to Caffe Moderne. When she learned her lease would not be renewed so the Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy, Chartered law firm could expand there, Waite and Method Productions began talking.

“We’ve got a whole collection of clients who need and want this,” Rodriguez says of having an on-site studio.

“It’s just part of our growth and our success.”

Method Productions does a range of video production.

“If you want a professionally produced video that’s short and sweet, we do that,” Rodriguez says. “If you want something elaborate, we do that, too.”

He says the company wants “to be Target for video production,” meaning he says it offers quality work at affordable prices.

“We are looking to kind of make the video production process custom to the customer.”

Rodriguez says a studio and office in the same space will help with that.

“We’re excited to do it. It’s a big jump for us, and we think it’ll just take us to the next level.”

GreenAcres Market finishes Whole Foods Association conversion with new signs

WICHITA — The final phase of converting Wichita’s Whole Foods Association stores to GreenAcres Markets is happening Wednesday when signs at the three stores will be replaced.

That includes the Whole Foods Association store in the Clear Lakes shopping center near the southwest corner of 21st and Amidon and the one near the southwest corner of 21st and Maize.

It also includes the Whole Foods Association store in Normandie at Central and Woodlawn. That sign had been looming over the center about three decades.

“It was there forever,” says GreenAcres owner Barb Hoffmann. “If you look at it, it looks like it was.”

In January, Hoffmann and her husband, John, purchased the Wichita Whole Foods Association stores, which have no affiliation with the larger Whole Foods Market, which opens Sept. 3 at the Waterfront at 13th and Webb.

In May, the Hoffmanns and Whole Foods Market announced that they struck a deal for the Austin-based chain to use the Whole Foods name here instead of the Bread & Circus name it looked like it might have to use.

Next up, Hoffmann says she has expansion and remodeling plans for most of her new stores.

She’s expanding the Clear Lakes store from 3,500 square feet to 6,500 square feet.

“We’ll start it here in the near future,” Hoffmann says. The idea, she says, is “just more offerings” for the neighborhood.

“It’s a real ethnic store. We’ll have a lot of ethnic items.”

The 6,000-square-foot far-west-side store will undergo an expansion next spring, though Hoffmann isn’t sure how much it will increase by yet.

Hoffmann says she’s also remodeling the 23,000-square-foot GreenAcres in Oklahoma City.

At the original GreenAcres at Bradley Fair, Hoffmann is remodeling the bathrooms but won’t do major remodeling until spring. For now, she’s focusing on the newer stores.

“We’re really thrilled we have these stores,” she says. “Every one has such a unique customer base, and we have just really enjoyed learning all the parts of the city.”

Urban Air Trampoline Park to open in former Pure Entertainment space on west side

WICHITA — On the heels of Get Air Wichita opening downtown in April, Wichita is about to get its second indoor trampoline park.

“It’s finally all coming together,” Wichitan Jon Becker says.

He and his family are opening Urban Air Trampoline Park in the former Pure Entertainment space at 8545 W. Irving, which is next to the Midwest Kia dealership at Kellogg and Tyler.

Pure Entertainment has suspended operations until the business secures new space.

Becker and his family, including his wife, Annie, and daughters, Allie, 6, and Hailey, 9, were vacationing in Texas when they discovered Urban Air.

“We just had an absolute blast as a family,” Jon Becker says.

“We took them there,” he says of his kids, “and I think we ended up having just as much fun as them.”

Their Urban Air will be the fifth in the chain and the first one outside of Texas. There are three more in the works elsewhere that others are doing.

Becker says he thought the Pure Entertainment building would be perfect as it was, but he says that has turned out not to be the case.

“We’re gutting the entire 25,500 square feet and starting over.”

Becker says that’s in an effort to make the place as comfortable as possible so parents and grandparents “actually want to spend time and stay there. It’s not just drop the kids off and go.”

There will be areas within the park for various activities, such as an open jump area, a basketball jumping area, a foam pit, a runway for gymnastics, two dodgeball courts and an area for children 5 and under.

“Our whole concept is different than a lot of other trampoline parks around the area,” Becker says.

He says he knows he has competition, but Becker says being from Wichita, he and his wife feel like they know the market.

“We’ve specifically chosen that area,” he says of the west side.

Becker says it’s easily accessible from the east and west sides since it’s along Kellogg, and it’s especially close to the growing areas of Goddard and Maize.

The Beckers hope to open sometime in November.

Jon Becker isn’t sure if this will be the family’s only Urban Air.

“Can Wichita justify an east and a west? I don’t know,” he says. “Right now we’re just holding the reins back.”

Becker says he is excited to have his daughters see the business come to life.

“We’re doing this all as a family project.”

Becker, who has been in medical sales, and his wife, who is a first grade teacher in Andover, have always wanted their own business, he says.

“This is the first idea my wife’s ever actually agreed with me on.”

You don’t say

“It’ll be finally nice to have money at least coming two directions instead of just going one direction.”

Mike Dandurand on getting the new Dandurand Drugstore open at 21st and Ridge