Category Archives: Closings

Despite appearances, Knipp’s still in business; Brandon Steven’s car wash isn’t

WICHITA — What looked to be the Knipp’s car wash on North Rock Road between 13th and 21st streets has closed, though it hasn’t been a Knipp’s for some time.

“Years ago it used to be ours,” says Todd Knipp. “For some reason they never took any of our signage down.”

Brandon Steven owns the car wash and says he had to close it to have more room for his Super Car Guys.

“We need the space so bad,” he says.

“It’s too bad,” Steven says. “I love that car wash.”

He’s referring customers to Joe’s Seat Cover & Carwash, which his uncles own.

There’s a Knipp’s store on Harry just east of Southeast Boulevard that sells automotive appearance products and also offers detailing services. It does not have a drive-through car wash, though.

“This year starts our 40th year,” Knipp says. “I hope to make it another 40.”

Metro Grill owner explains departure

WICHITA — Metro Grill owner Michael Gonzalez wasn’t available last week to discuss why he abruptly left his restaurant at the Waterfront, which his landlord said he gutted on the way out.

“There was more to it than what they said, of course,” Gonzalez says.

“I’ve been so depressed for the last couple of weeks, but life goes on.”

He says there were a number of issues that caused him to leave.

“I was expecting volume like Andover,” Gonzalez says of his former restaurant there, which someone else now owns.

He says his lunch and weekend business was great, but the rest of his sales weren’t enough.

“That was just too much of a high rent to sustain,” Gonzalez says. “But I gave it a shot.”

He says parking became a bit of an issue with the new Firebirds next door to his restaurant. Also, Gonzalez says his landlords disappointed him by not putting his restaurant on a billboard near Kellogg and Rock Road as he says they promised. He says he had been working with them to lower his rent and then received a 10-day notice to leave.

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IFurn.com CEO says company going out of business due to Internet competition

WICHITA — IFurn.com, a company that CEO Tracy Norris last year said was poised for growth, is going out of business.

“iFurn has proudly served customers across the nation for 17 years and delivered quality home and office furniture right to your door,” Norris wrote in an e-mailed response to Have You Heard?

In that e-mail and in one he sent to customers on Feb. 27, Norris wrote:

“Regrettably, iFurn.com, Inc. has been forced to cease day-to-day business activity. This has been caused by deteriorating sales activity and increased competition within the internet.”

Norris started iFurn.com in 1998 to sell home and office furniture. Last year, he told The Eagle the company had sales of more than $12.5 million in 2012.

Norris also reported sales of about $2.5 million for his other main company, PainReliever.com, which sells a variety of medical products to consumers and businesses.

It’s not clear if or how that company may be affected by iFurn’s struggles.

A former chiropractor, Norris sold his practice and began devoting his work full time to Internet companies in 2007.

Both of Norris’ companies have been named to Inc’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies list: iFurn.com in 2008 and Pain Reliever in 2010.

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Metro Grill abruptly closes at the Waterfront; owner ‘gutted the place,’ landlord says

WICHITA — As he opens a new Metro Grill on the west side, Michael Gonzalez abruptly left his restaurant of the same name at the Waterfront.

“He just went in there and gutted the place a couple of nights ago,” says Johnny Stevens, a partner in the development at 13th and Webb Road.

“Pulled lights out of the ceiling. Pulled cabinets off the walls. Took everything he could.”

Stevens says Gonzalez didn’t leave many things behind.

“Not much. A sink. A toilet. A few odds and ends.”

Gonzalez couldn’t be reached for comment.

There’s now an eviction notice on the door, but Stevens says that came only after Gonzalez moved out.

“There’s nothing to go back in for,” he says. “But we’ve got to … go through that process.”

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Lubbers East in Andover has closed

WICHITA — After about a dozen years in business, Lubbers East in Andover has closed.

“We moved out there in 2002, and we had some pretty good years,” says Denny Lubbers.

He and his brothers own Lubbers Ford and Lubbers Chevrolet in Cheney and Lubbers Hutchinson.

The Andover dealership opened in leased space at the northwest corner of Kellogg and Andover Road and then moved just west of that site a couple of years later when Kwik Shop wanted the space.

“It was still fine,” Lubbers says of business.

“In the last few years … it’s gone downhill for whatever reason,” he says. “I don’t think we’ve lost our passion or desire to do business over there, but it started to become a drain on our profitability.”

Lubbers says he thinks bigger dealerships in the area hurt his business because car shoppers would rather go somewhere with larger selections.

“We tried some different things,” he says of trying to increase business.

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Toni D’s Deli & Catering to leave Carriage Parkway and consolidate at Toni D’s Too

WICHITA — Almost three decades after opening at Carriage Parkway, Toni and Dan Shadid are closing their Toni D’s Deli & Catering and consolidating their business into their family’s Toni D’s Too downtown.

“I’m just transferring the catering business down there plus … taking care of (that) catering business,” Toni Shadid says.

“Just” makes the move sound a little less substantial than it is, though.

“It’s like losing your baby,” Shadid says of leaving the center on East Central just east of Edgemoor.

“That’s probably the hardest part of the whole thing,” she says. “It was just time. It’s time.”

There are a few reasons for that, she and her husband say.

First, Fred Cohlmia, a family member who has an ownership at Toni D’s Too in the Epic Center, is taking some time off from running it.

“I’m moving down there to take over Fred’s catering jobs,” Toni Shadid says.

The Shadids also will run the deli at Toni D’s Too and plan to eventually revamp the menu.

Toni Shadid says she’ll be able to add more to the Toni D’s Too catering.

“They don’t work events,” she says. “We do.”

She also takes care of rentals and does room set-ups.

“I’ve been doing that forever,” Shadid says. “I can continue to take care of those people down there and continue to take care of my people who are all up this way.”

She says that’s how it was when she opened her Carriage Parkway business almost 27 years ago.

“When we were first here, we used to do all the downtown.”

When she started her business, Shadid says her only catering competitors were Antoine Toubia at the Olive Tree and Simply Elegant.

“That was it,” she says. “We were just the newbies.”

A lot has changed since then.

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The almost 100-year-old Brick’s to close at Bradley Fair

UPDATED — A Wichita shopping tradition is coming to an end.

Brick’s, once a downtown staple and more recently a shop at Bradley Fair, is going out of business.

“It is a store that’s been around Wichita for a long, long time,” says Cathy Erickson, vice president of Laham Development.

Herman Brick started the store in 1916. His son, Adolph, took over the business upon his father’s death in 1940. Two years later, Adolph Brick married Ellen Gordon. She asked her brother, Russ Gordon, to help with the business in 1944. Gordon took it over in 1960, and his namesake son owns it today.

“They’ve been a great addition at Bradley Fair for almost 10 years, adding to the local flavor,” Erickson says.

Now, she says, “They want to focus on family and some other things.”

A 1992 story in The Wichita Eagle said the men’s and women’s clothing store was the last major retailer to leave downtown. It once stood where Century II is now. The store was at Piccadilly Square at Central and Rock Road before moving to Bradley Fair.

Erickson says she’s not sure of a closing date yet.

She says the store will leave 4,200 square feet when it departs.

“We always have a list of people that want to be (at Bradley Fair), and we have already started conversations with those people,” she says.

Today, though, is about saying goodbye, Erickson says.

“We wish them well, and they’ll be missed. It’s a sad day.”

State seizes assets of Adventure RV and Truck Center and Adventureland RV Rentals

WICHITA — The state on Friday seized the assets of Adventure RV and Truck Center and Adventureland RV Rentals for nonpayment of almost $310,000 in state sales tax.

According to a news release from the state, officers seized business and personal property, bank accounts and on-site cash of business owner Douglas C. Williams.

The dealership, which is at 4650 S. Broadway, will be sold at auction to pay for the taxes.

As is standard for its news releases about business seizures, the state’s release said, “Only after several unsuccessful attempts does the department take the action of seizing assets, which in this instance resulted in the business being closed. The Revenue Department’s standard practice is to continually encourage delinquent taxpayers, who are not lawfully filing or paying taxes – such as sales or withholding – to voluntarily enter into a repayment agreement.”

Derby Antiques & More closes; owner struggling to pay vendors

WICHITA — Derby Antiques & More went out of business Jan. 31, but owner Sandra Ostrander is still dealing with the fallout from the less than 1-year-old business.

Ostrander, who lives in Atlanta but has Derby relatives, on Wednesday paid the antique mall’s approximately 200 vendors their January sales but wasn’t able to pay everyone in full.

“There are a lot of rumors going around that I’m a scam artist, and I’m not,” Ostrander says.

She says she voluntarily signed promissory notes and had them notarized for the vendors she could not pay. Ostrander says she also gave them her contact information.

“I want them to understand I am obligating myself.”

Ostrander says there were problems from the start, including serious maintenance issues at her leased space at Madison and Rock Road.

“The business has been running at a loss and going downhill for months,” she says. “It’s my fault because I haven’t been an active participant in the business.”

She says managers have handled the business for her.

“I guess I should not have allowed that.”

General manager Scott Divelbiss says that is true.

“Yes, she did have some managers here who made some really bad decisions on her behalf,” he says.

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Thick Girls to replace Not Just A Cop Shop

WICHITA — With the opening of Twizted Confections in Normandie Center in late 2012, Bruce Reesman switched his focus from his Not Just A Cop Shop to baking.

“He’s got his plate really full,” says his wife, Tina Sidelnik. “My husband’s having a great time. We’ve got a really fantastic crew there with lots of creative energy.”

So she’s preparing to do something new in the Not Just A Cop Shop space at 2817 E. Central, which is between Hillside and Grove.

“We are in the process of kind of transitioning our store,” Sidelnik says.

Not Just A Cop Shop is having a clearance sale and will close its doors most likely at the end of March after more than seven years in business.

“We’ve run our course for as far as we can run it,” Sidelnik says.

She says the store focused on the general public’s security needs along with smaller law enforcement departments and security firms. Sidelnik says she and her husband never went after bigger city and county contracts. She says they found that their sales to other customers were hurt by the Internet.

Now Sidelnik says she has plans for a new store that “is going to be something up my alley.”

“We are going to focus on individuals that do not get recognition in apparel,” she says. “We’re going to focus on thick women.”

Sidelnik is naming the shop Thick Girls.

“I don’t want to say plus-sized,” she says. “I don’t like that word. Plus-sized what?”

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