Category Archives: Closings

You don’t say

“I wish love paid the bills, we’d be open forever.”

Emily Brookover in a press release announcing that she will be closing her 3-year-old Bluebird Arthouse in Delano

Golden House Chinese restaurant downtown to close; Sonic to open

WICHITA — Golden House may be an especially small downtown restaurant unknown to many around the city, but it has its devotees, and they are dejected.

The restaurant is closing after 16 years at 504 S. Broadway, which is a few blocks south of Douglas.

“I’m totally devastated,” says Tim Harjo, who eats there several times a week.

Owners Hai Nguyen and Ha Luong, who came from Vietnam 23 years ago, are retiring to Atlanta to be with their three children and seven grandchildren.

Nguyen has been telling longtime customers the news as she serves them.

“Where am I going to eat now?” or some variation of that has been the popular question.

One answer could be Sonic. That’s what’s going to open on the property.

A new 1,800-square-foot building will replace the Golden House space. The drive-in restaurant should be open by the end of the year.

Nguyen isn’t sure when she’ll close. It could be this week or next week.

She is sure of one thing, though.

“I’ll be so sad. I’ll miss all my customers over here,” Nguyen says. “Thank you, everyone.”

Yen Ching closing for good this time

WICHITA — Yen Ching Chinese Restaurant & Club, which has been at 430 N. Rock for three decades, has had a history of closing for periods of time that make customers think it’s closing for good.

This time, it is.

The restaurant’s last day in business likely will be May 15.

“After 30 years … we need to rest a while and then think about what’s the next step,” says Cathy Chang, who owns the business with her husband, Tom.

That could mean they will reopen elsewhere.

“We’ll think about it.”

Chang says their lease is up, and their landlord wants the space. She hears it may be for a Mexican restaurant. Chang says there’s a chance the building will be demolished and replaced.

The Changs have started to tell diners they’re closing, and Cathy Chang says they’re expressing their disappointment.

“We’re very sad about it, too.”

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.”