Author Archives: Carrie Rengers

When Don’s TV & Video closes, Wichita will lose a popular sign

donsignWICHITA — Lots of people who have been customers at Don’s TV & Video over the past almost seven decades have expressed disappointment since learning the store will close.

Some people who have never been in the store are sad to see it close, too, because they like the store’s ever-changing sign out front that has featured jokes, witticisms and truisms for passers-by.

The Eagle did a story about the sign and it’s “folksy, philosophical tone” in 1997.

Sayings have included, “Those who stare at the past have their backs turned to the future” and “Happiness is not a station you arrive at but a manner of traveling” and “Lottery – a tax on people who don’t understand statistics.”

At the time, co-owner Ron Zerbe said the sign was so popular that customers sometimes stopped in with suggestions for it.

Lately, co-owner Steve Eilert says they’ve not been great about changing it.

“We did start slacking off,” he says.

Currently, the sign says, “A hometown business proud to serve a great hometown since 1946,” and that’s probably what will remain until the business closes in the next month or two.

“It’s probably appropriate for the moment,” Eilert says.

He says he and Zerbe have been hearing nice comments from a lot of customers and friends, even from some who were customers years and years ago.

“It’s a little bit like being awake at your own funeral, probably,” Eilert says. “As they file past, you just say goodbye.”

He says it’s too bad it doesn’t work that way in real life.

“That would be nice, wouldn’t it?”

You don’t say

“Life can get overwhelming and sometimes you just need a little help.”

Helen Hubbard in an e-mail on why she started her It’s Your Time personal assistant business

Mt. Vernon Automotive contents and property to be auctioned Wednesday

WICHITA — Mt. Vernon Automotive made it to its 50th anniversary this month, but that’s the end of the road for the repair shop.

“It’s a little bit sad for the whole family, but … it’s just really gotten so hard to run an independent automotive service because of the expensive diagnostic equipment and everything you have to buy nowadays,” says Charles Schmidt, whose father, Laurence, started the business.

“My dad started the business April 16 of 1964, and at that time he was at 3028 S. Hillside, and the name of the business was Hillside Auto Service.”

Then the shop moved to 2309 E. Mount Vernon in 1974 and became Mt. Vernon Auto Service. Around 1994, the business incorporated and became known by the name it is today. About the same time, Laurence Schmidt purchased the property across the street from his shop as a place to store more cars.

Both of those properties and the contents of the shop will be auctioned at the shop by McCurdy Auction at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The main shop is a 1959 building with 3,550 square feet and five bays on a 12,600-square-foot lot. The storage property is on a 12,493-square-foot lot and has a 540-square-foot building, which was built in 1955 and at one time was a gas station.

Read More »

Get Air Wichita to open next week

WICHITA — Some new businesses open with the hope that customers will come, but the new Get Air Wichita is opening next week with what looks to be a built-in customer base.

“We probably get 50 calls a day,” co-owner Mike Goetz says of people who are interested in the business.

Get Air Wichita, which is part of a growing chain of a dozen Get Air parks nationally, is a giant indoor trampoline park that’s taking part of the former Big Dog Motorcycle space downtown on New York Street between Douglas and First.

Almost half of the 22,000-square-foot park will be a trampoline, which will have different areas for various activities, including dodge ball, a basketball dunk and foam pits, which have video playback so people can watch their flips. There’s also a bungee jump that helps users who can’t do flips on their own.

There will be a toddler area as well.

This week, the trampolines will be installed along with some graffiti art – the intentional kind.

Other Get Air sites in the chain are popular for children and birthday parties, but Goetz says the business has something for all ages. For instance, there are teen nights on the weekends, and the company has hired a fitness director and is working on a schedule for fitness classes. Get Air Wichita also can be rented for corporate events.

Read More »

Group of former InnerWorks Holistic Health Center practitioners start the Body Studio

WICHITA — A group of former InnerWorks Holistic Health Center practitioners who massage therapist Amber Davey says “were kind of just thrust out into the world” are starting their own place.

Before it closed, InnerWorks was home to about a dozen practitioners who offered services related to alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, kinesiology, massage and yoga.

Davey says InnerWorks closed when the owners of its space at 3425 W. Central sold the building.

Now she and massage therapists Heidi Barker and Courtney Bensch and personal trainer Renee Clark, who has GetFit Personal Training, are starting the Body Studio in the Maple Street Mini Mall at 4800 W. Maple.

Former InnerWorks body worker Vickie Carter is joining them as well.

Davey says the practitioners have known for a long time that they may lose their InnerWorks space, but the hope was the new owners of the building might want to continue it. When that didn’t happen, she says it was a quick 30 days that she and the other Body Studio owners swung into gear and got their new space. Davey says they all work well together and are friends in addition to colleagues.

The Body Studio will offer yoga, including group and specialty classes and private classes. A couple of yoga instructors from InnerWorks will be there along with a new instructor. There also will be meditation classes.

In addition, the Body Studio will rent 650 square feet of its 2,400 square feet for others to use.

“We’re just doing it for health and wellness professionals,” Davey says.

She says that might be someone who wants to offer continuing education classes or yoga instruction workshops.

“We know a lot of people who are like us.”

The practitioners have been helping former InnerWorks clients in the transition, but they’ll officially welcome new clients at a grand opening from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 1.

Nahola Fitness Center and pickleball court to open on West Central

WICHITA — The owners of Adventure Planet Child Care Center along with another partner are targeting adults for their next adventure.

Nahola Fitness Center is opening at 5228 W. Central, which is behind Adventure Planet and just east of Interstate 235.

“We’re trying to get a place that older people (can) hang out and socialize,” says Kayla Keuter.

She says the idea is to exercise and have fun. A big way she and her partners think members can have fun is through pickleball, which Keuter says is “the new, upcoming sport, especially for older adults.”

Nahola will have a pickleball court. Keuter explains the sport as tennis on a badminton court. It’s played with a plastic ball and wooden paddles

“One of my partners and I have always wanted to do this,” Keuter says.

She calls it an exciting, competitive game.

The 6,000-square-foot fitness center will have an exercise area, personal trainers, a separate room for yoga and training and, eventually, a massage room.

Read More »

Invio Fine Furniture Consignment’s business has ‘gone crazy’ at its new space

WICHITA — Invio Fine Furniture Consignment’s move from North Rock Road to 535 N. Woodlawn next to Great Harvest Bread has been a great one, says Annie Johnsen, who owns the business with her husband, Eric.

“We moved here in October, and everything has just gone crazy,” she says. “Our business has probably tripled.”

On the far east side, the store was 3,600 square feet. Now Invio has 4,400 square feet. In addition to more space, Johnsen says, the business is so much better, items rotate in and out more quickly.

She says she thinks a lot of her business comes from people either downsizing or combining households. When customers combine households, she says, that means they have to try to match their furniture. So she says Invio is now carrying fabrics to help people redo furniture that they want to keep.

The store also is now doing color consultations and is helping with some design work.

Johnsen says she’s hired more employees – there used to be two and now there are five – and may need to add one more.

Artist Christine Tasheff, who does a lot of furniture painting, is now working in the front of the store doing portraits, which Johnsen says is an added bonus.

“It’s kind of fun to see her in action up there.”

You don’t say

“I keep waiting for Sam Brownback to send me business cards with the state seal on it.”

– Restaurateur and caterer Ben Arnold, who says he feels more like he’s in the tax business, though he’s resolved his latest issue over $7,222 in contested taxes at A.V.I. Seabar & Chophouse

Don’s TV & Video going out of business

WICHITA — Another chapter in Wichita business is coming to a close.

Don’s TV & Video, which the late Don Shaw opened as Don’s Radio after World War II, is going out of business.

“It isn’t profitable anymore,” says co-owner Steve Eilert. “Hasn’t been for a while.”

Don’s TV & Video owners Ron Zerbe (from left) and Steve Eilert with his wife, Sandy, and longtime employee Ron Landwehr.

Don’s TV & Video owners Ron Zerbe (from left) and Steve Eilert with his wife, Sandy, and longtime employee Ron Landwehr.

Eilert is partners with Ron Zerbe. The two used to work for Shaw, who started the business after getting out of the Navy and at one point changed the name to Don’s Radio & Television.

“He’s quite a guy,” Eilert says.

Originally, the store was located at First Street and where the Canal Route is now. Then it moved to its current site at the northeast corner of Second and Hydraulic. Eilert and Zerbe bought it in 1979.

“I think anybody who earns a living doing one thing for 50 years can expect that you might see the birth, life and death of industry, you know?” Eilert says.

He says the business has changed “tremendously” through the years. Still, he can sum up what’s changed in one word:

“Everything.”

It used to be the store’s employees would make $5 service calls, sell a few tubes or maybe clean a tuner “then come back and do it again a year later.”

“You got to know your customers pretty well,” Eilert says. “An independent shop didn’t need but a thousand or 2,000 customers to make a good living.”

Read More »

You don’t say

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that an English or dance degree won’t provide you with tangible skills.”

Aaron Wirtz of Subaru of Wichita on the music video parody he made of the union protest against the dealership