Category Archives: Comotara Center

Rylee & Reece Kids Boutique and Party Place moving to Maple and Ridge Road

WICHITA — Rylee & Reece Kids Boutique and Party Place is moving – again.

When Tiffany Garner and her mother, Lynette, bought the children’s shop in early 2011, they moved it from Comotara Center on the east side to NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

Now, they’re moving to the center at the northeast corner of Maple and Ridge Road.

“We have found a bigger space,” Tiffany Garner says. “We’re able to lower our overhead. It’s just going to give us a bigger opportunity for the store.”

They now have about 2,000 square feet. The new space will have an additional 400 square feet.

“The party room is a little bit more separate,” Garner says.

About 60 percent of their business is through the party room. There will be additional themes for parties at the new space.

Garner says the party-room business has doubled from what it was on the east side.

She says the “west side loves us.”

“We’ve got a huge response from the west side.”

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Ben Arnold behind on taxes but says it’s not nearly as much as the IRS claims he owes

WICHITA — After taking care of some tax trouble he had with Corporate Caterers of Wichita a few years back, Ben Arnold hoped to never be behind again. He is, though, and he’s as forthright as ever about it.

“I do owe taxes,” Arnold says. However, he says he doesn’t owe anywhere close to the approximately $250,000 the IRS says he owes.

“If I did, I would be in Mexico right now. That would just be an obnoxious amount you would have to owe for a period that covers 12 months.”

Arnold believes he owes only about a third of what the government says he owes. The issue, he says, is the IRS says it didn’t receive documentation from him.

“They assess a tax if they don’t have documentation in front of them,” he says.

Arnold says his accountant had sent proper documents and that he personally has now sent them a second time.

“That’s why I’m really, really frustrated.”

Arnold rapidly expanded his BLA Enterprises with catering at Comotara Center and two corporate cafes, Cafe 151 at Cargill and Cafe Intrust at Intrust Bank. He also owns AVI Seabar & Chophouse, which he opened late last year in the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview.

“When I started this expansion, most of (the businesses) worked. A couple did not,” Arnold says. “We hit a very large pothole, and we’re filling it in.”

The largest pothole is AVI.

Arnold says in AVI’s first two months of business in 2011, it lost $75,000.

He says it was like “if you just popped a balloon, everything fell out.”

By August, Arnold says losses were down to $1,900.

He says September and October were profitable, and he believes AVI can be an almost $1 million-a-year business.

“We’ve grown to like it.”

Arnold says he now owes less than $16,000 on the business’ taxes.

He says another issue is the unprofitable banquet facilities he has in 9,000 square feet at Comotara.

“That’s one part of the business I’ve got to do something with. … I love my location, and I don’t want to leave it.”

Arnold says his catering is doing well and is on track to gross between $3.2 million and $3.3 million this year.

He says the cafes also “are extremely healthy.”

Arnold says it’s a “long, drawn-out process” getting tax discrepancies corrected, and while he’s frustrated, he’s not fazed despite the fact that he and his wife have used personal savings to cover some debt and have paid themselves almost nothing throughout the year.

“No one plans to fail,” Arnold says. “Any small business has struggles. You do what you’re supposed to do. … I don’t see this as a huge obstacle for me to overcome.”

Sister Moses owner Linda Burton has two new sister businesses: Traveling Sister and Calamity Jane’s Resale

UPDATED — Sister Moses is no longer an only child.

Linda Burton, who owns the shop at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road, now has two sister companies –  literally and figuratively.

In July, she started Traveling Sister, which is something of a traveling boutique where she can sell clothing and accessories in people’s homes and at events.

Next month, Burton is opening Calamity Jane’s Resale in Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.

So much new business at once is creating some chaos in Burton’s world.

“It’s so bad, one of the girls is working out of the bathroom,” she says, laughing.

Burton says Traveling Sister has already gone as far as Texas, where Sister Moses has a lot of online customers.

“This weekend in Leavenworth, it was insane,” Burton says.

The events are parties of at least about 20 women, who can sip wine and shop in a friend’s home or at an event.

“It’s networking, and it’s finding out about more places that we can go to,” Burton says. “The great thing about it is it’s 20 girls that are being waited on.”

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Juni’s Cafe to open at Comotara Center

WICHITA — Once stay-at-home mom Jeniffer Kang realized she can’t follow her daughter, Esther Cho, to college this fall as she would like, she decided she needed to find something new to do.

“I don’t know how I’m going to survive without her,” Kang says. “I need some kind of life.”

So she’s opening Juni’s Cafe, a Korean restaurant in 1,100 square feet next to Tan Lines at Comotara Center near 29th and Rock Road.

Kang is naming the restaurant after her only other child, Wonjoon Cho, who is 12.

The restaurant will seat only 20, but that works with Kang’s concept.

“I want people to think about (it) as a home,” she says.

Kang, who is a South Korea native, will serve traditional Korean cuisine.

“It’s not the fusion, like adapting to Americans,” she says.

Kang says a lot of the food is on the healthy side and is made with very little oil. She hopes that appeals to diners as well.

Kerry Dunn of Re/Max Superior Realtors and Debbie McNeal of RP Realty Partners handled the lease for the restaurant.

Juni’s will serve lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and Kang says she’s open to hosting private parties on Sundays as well.

Look for Juni’s to open in early April.

Eccentricity to move this week and change names to Sister Moses

WICHITA — More than a year ago, Eccentricity owner Linda Burton planned to move within Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road to the former Olive Tree Bistro space.

Thursday, she’s finally doing it.

“It’s been a long process, but we’re here,” she says.

Along with the expansion into 3,800 square feet, Burton is changing the name of the eclectic shop — it sells women’s clothing, home furnishings and bath products — to Sister Moses.

That’s also the name of a new line of clothing she’s created.

“We’re going to have it exclusively for this store right now,” Burton says.

Her plan is to eventually sell it at other shops as well.

Burton chose the Sister Moses name for a couple of reasons.

First, she calls just about everyone who walks in her shop “sister.”

“I’m always like, ‘Hey, sister, how ya doin’?’ ”

Burton also identifies with Moses, as in the Ten Commandments Moses.

“He was a numbers man. Think about it,” she says. “That would be me.”

Eccentricity also was a tricky name for people, Burton says.

“It was a big mouthful to say. No one ever pronounced it right.”

Burton has changed the name of her shop once before. When she opened 20 years ago, she called it Cricket & Co.

She’s not afraid to change the name again.

“Everybody asks me that,” Burton says.

She’s just thrilled to be in her new space, regardless of the name.

“It’s good. It’s all good.”

Karma closes at Comotara Center

WICHITA — Another east-side business has closed.

Karma, a wellness studio that opened last fall at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road, is no longer in business.

Rebecca Lee opened her studio in 3,600 square feet of the former Chelsea’s Bar and Grill.

She won’t discuss why she’s closed.

“We’re doing it, and that’s all there really is to say about it,” Lee says. “I don’t really feel like talking about it.”

She referred questions to her lawyer, who didn’t return a call for comment.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries is coming downtown to Douglas and Ida

UPDATED — There’s a lot of downtown news this week with more approvals coming on the area’s master plan.

What might bring a little more immediate excitement is Five Guys Burgers and Fries‘ confirmation that it has a deal to open Sept. 1 at the southwest corner of Douglas and Ida.

Have You Heard? first reported that was a possibility in August.

Five Guys franchisee Jeff Miller says he’ll locate on Douglas across from the Anchor, which is on the southeast corner of that intersection, though the city’s Historic Preservation Board still needs to approve the restaurant’s design.

“We’re pretty confident that they’ll be real happy with what we’re bringing to them,” Miller says. “We don’t anticipate any problems there.”

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries chooses Comotara Center for its next site

WICHITA — Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchisee Jeff Miller confirms what we suspected about his next site.

“You were right about Comotara,” he says of the shopping center near 29th and Rock.

“We are going to be in the Material Comforts location.”

That store already has closed.

Miller signed the new lease today and expects to be open by November.

The space is 4,800 square feet. About 3,500 of that will be for the restaurant, which is substantially bigger than the 2,300 square feet Five Guys has on the west side in front of Lowe’s near 29th and Maize.

“When it’s busy, we’re very crowded, and we’d like to have a little more space for our guests,” Miller says.

“We feel like we’ve been so well received in town, we’d just like a little bigger space.”

The rest of the building will be used to train employees in the market.

Miller also is eyeing several downtown sites.

“We haven’t committed to anything,” he says.

He is shopping, though.

“We’ll have several more in the area.”

Five Guys Burgers and Fries is days away from signing for east-side space

WICHITA — Next to repeated Chick-fil-A questions — when’s it coming? where? — the next fast food restaurant we hear the most questions about is Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

When is the chain going to add an east-side Wichita location?

Answer: soon.

Franchisee Jeff Miller says he’s just this close to signing a lease.

The Five Guys in front of Lowe’s near 29th North and Maize opened in February.

Sources have reported several east-side sites Miller has eyed.

He reportedly looked at reconfiguring part of the former Ethan Allen space near Central and Rock, but that’s where Mattress Hub is now going.

Comotara Center at 29th North and Rock Road is another reported possibility.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Miller has focused on Rock Road.

So where’s the final spot?

Miller will tell us within days.

Karma wellness studio to open in former Chelsea’s Bar and Grill space

WICHITA — There’s another new tenant for the former Latour Management space at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock, and this one has a lot of Karma.

That’s the name of the new wellness studio that Rebecca Lee will open in October in 3,600 square feet of the former Chelsea’s Bar and Grill.

“This is going to be a total experience for whoever walks through the door,” Lee says.

She’ll offer Pilates, yoga, personal training and Thai massage.

Lee will partner with others, such as nutritionists, to expand what she can offer. She’s interested in partnering with anyone who has creative solutions for wellness.

“Part of my mantra is accepting everybody,” Lee says of potential clients.

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