Category Archives: Closings

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?”

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.

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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.”

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Oliver’s Little Italy to close Saturday; owner may reopen new restaurant

UPDATED — Scott Cosentino is closing his Oliver’s Little Italy on Saturday.

He says the restaurant at 1930 S. Oliver, which opened in late September, was in a bad location, had no money, no point of sale system and not very good help.

“Shall I continue?” he says.

Cosentino, a New Jersey native, hopes to open another restaurant soon with a financial backer. He says this time it may be in Wellington or Park City.

He says the one issue Oliver’s Little Italy didn’t have was a problem with the food, which Cosentino says he’ll prove once again when he reopens.

“I would show all of the restaurants of the town how to make good Italian food, because they don’t know.”

Longtime shop L.J. Pracht Co. slated to close; executor hopes to keep it open

WICHITA — Wichita may be losing another one of its oldest retail shops.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, L.J. Pracht Co., a one-of-a-kind wrapping store that also sells jewelry making supplies at 1500 E. Douglas, is slated to close on April 25.

Owner Jim Pracht III died more than two years ago.

However, Willi Richert, executor of Pracht’s estate, isn’t willing to make the store’s closure final yet.

“What is it Mark Twain said? His passing was greatly exaggerated,” Richert says.

“Hopefully, we’ve got a couple of different people who are showing interest, and maybe we can continue. That’s been my hope from the start.”

Pracht’s grandfather opened the store on Main Street in 1923.

“It’s been an integral part of the city for a lot of years – almost 100 – and you hate to see a business like that close down,” Richert says.

“It’s a unique store that reflects a different time, but it’s still a necessary product that they sell.”

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Hair Factor Barber Shop closes after 56 years; contents to be sold at auction

WICHITA — Janice Chambers is in the antiques business, but when it comes to selling the contents of her husband’s barbershop, she’s decided to let Hudson Auction handle it.

“He never threw anything away,” Chambers says of her husband, Don, who owned Hair Factor Barber Shop for 56 years.

“Oh, it was horrible.”

Don Chambers closed his barbershop after business March 21.

Most recently, the shop was at 1923 S. Hydraulic, although Chambers often made house calls for those who couldn’t visit him and volunteered to cut the hair of veterans.

Janice Chambers says it took three 18-foot trailers to move the contents for the April 6 auction. The 1 p.m. auction will be at 2009 N. Mosley.

There are all kinds of barbershop items for sale, including a couple of revolving barber’s poles.

“Everything under the sun you can imagine,” is how Janice Chambers describes what’s for sale.

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Ginger Lily Boutique to close at Clifton Square but will keep on truckin’

WICHITA — Ginger Lily Boutique owner Holly Daley has decided to close her Clifton Square shop and keep on truckin’ instead.

Daley first opened her fashion truck in May of 2013. It was such a success, she decided to open a traditional shop, too.

“I wanted to try a storefront, but I feel it’s the best decision for me to get back out on the road, back to where I started,” Daley said in a release. “I want to see the city again!”

She also plans to begin selling online at www.gingerlilyboutique.com.

Ginger Lily will remain open at Clifton Square at 3700 E. Douglas through April 30.

The release says that in addition to scheduled appearances, Daley will take the truck to public events as well.

The release said she “has become acquainted with some of the local food trucks and they often work together and provide an unmatched outdoor experience for foodies and fashionistas alike.”

 

OfficeMax on West Kellogg closing due to merger

WICHITA — Stores are starting to close following the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax late last year.

The OfficeMax on West Kellogg will close on May 31.

“It’s due to the merger,” says supervisor Lynn Bradley.

She says 16 stores will close in the district that includes Kansas. California, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Las Vegas are also in that district.

“We’re not sure if there will be more to come or not,” Bradley says of more closures.

She’s not sure how the other OfficeMax and Office Depot stores in Wichita will be affected.

Bradley says everything in the West Kellogg store will be sold by the time it closes, and that includes displays.

“The only thing that will be left in the store will be the lights.”

Ernie Biggs may reopen this weekend

WICHITA — Ernie Biggs, the dueling piano bar near Central and Rock Road, is temporarily closed.

“We closed this past weekend and the previous weekend,” says Jay Hickman, an Arkansas-based partner in the business.

Hickman and Daniel Bryant along with two silent partners have bought out their Wichtia-based partners, including Whitney VinZant.

That meant a change in names on the liquor license, which means the business is temporarily without one.

“We decided to not risk it and closed it up,” Hickman says. “It’s tough. … It’s just out of our control right now.”

VinZant previously had the Gaslamp Grille & Lounge in that space.

He “got us in that spot, which has turned out to be an incredible spot,” Hickman says. “Business is excellent in Wichita.”

He says it was the goal from the beginning to eventually buy out the Wichita group.

Hickman says he hopes to reopen the business this weekend.

“We’re looking forward to getting back open, I can tell you that much.”

Sasnak Management closes 17 Carlos O’Kelly’s restaurants — none in Wichita — in repositioning move

UPDATED — No Wichita Carlos O’Kelly’s are affected, but Wichita-based Sasnak Management has closed 17 of its Mexican restaurants in order to reposition the company.

“It’s been gut wrenching,” says president Jon Rolph.

However, he says, “We have 22 strong locations moving forward.”

Rolph says some of the company’s restaurants across nine states were too big, some weren’t in the right places, and all weren’t performing as well as the ones the company is keeping.

“That’s where these decisions were born out of,” Rolph says. “We just decided to face the pain all at once rather than just drip, drip, drip.”

Rolph says he’s looking a decade out in his planning.

“We said, you know … let’s make the hard decisions and set this company up so we can pour our money into where we’re growing. I know it’s strange to hear that when you’re closing stores it’s part of your growth strategy … but that’s true in this scenario.”

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