Category Archives: Downtown

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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CDK Wichita buys former Wonder Bread building on Emporia

WICHITA — CDK Wichita, a distributor of windows, cabinets and doors, has purchased the one-time Wonder Bread building at 601 N. Emporia.

“It’s an old building,” says co-owner Gene Regier. “It’s going to need a lot of tender, loving care.”

CDK is keeping its space at 300 W. Murdock as well. The 40,000-square-foot Emporia building will give the company more room.

The building, which originally was home to the Continental Baking Co., takes up about three-quarters of a block south of Via Christi Hospital St. Francis.

Ted Branson of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal for the trust of the late Sheldon Kamen, who bought the building several years ago.

Look for more details in a couple of months when CDK moves in.

Janelle King finds new Workroom space

WICHITA — Designer Janelle King has found new space for her Workroom, and it’s remarkably similar to her current space.

“It is just right around the corner from us,” King says of 150 N. Cleveland, which is just south of the southeast corner of Douglas and Cleveland.

Her landlord will be Bill Jackson, who is one of the landlords she’s had at the Domestic Laundry building at 1425 E. Douglas, which is just east of Old Town.

The building owners recently sold to Joe Hayes and his Open Road Brands, which is why King is having to move.

King says Jackson is “very supportive of me and my business.”

“He supports downtown growth and development as well as the local arts industry and local businesses,” she says. “That was a big … selling point for me.”

King expects to open at the Cleveland address by June 1, although she says she may not have the business’ retail space entirely ready to go.

“During the entire month of May, we’re going to do a moving sale,” she says.

Before that, though, she’s going to celebrate the one-year anniversary of her store, which has retail and offers what King calls home tech textile fabrication, such as custom drapes, pillows and bedding.

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Case, Moses & Zimmerman partners go separate ways; Moses & Pate LLC forms

WICHITA — Last month, Medical Development Management announced it will be moving into the 6,500-square-foot space that Case, Moses & Zimmerman occupies at the Garvey Center, and the law firm’s partners said they were exploring alternatives.

“Sometimes firms split up because there’s animosity,” Moses says. “That’s not the case here.”

Here’s what they’ve decided: Attorneys David Moses and Chris Pate are forming Moses & Pate LLC. Attorney Linda Priest, who is currently with Case, Moses & Zimmerman, is joining them in the approximately 2,300 square feet MDM currently occupies next door.

Bankruptcy attorney Bill Zimmerman is moving to Eron Law, a firm that has an emphasis in bankruptcy.

“It’s a perfect fit for Bill,” Moses says. “He’ll be continuing to provide his bankruptcy specialty.”

Attorney Mike Case, who has had the firm’s Kansas City office, will be of counsel with Moses & Pate as he transitions to retirement.

“He’ll be working towards retirement,” Moses says.

Attorney Susan Saidian is retiring as of April 11.

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J.R. Koontz puts his building on the market

koontztwoWICHITA — A couple of days after celebrating his 40th year in business, J.R. Koontz has put his building – not his J.R. Koontz Flowers – up for sale.

“I’m downsizing,” Koontz says.

“It’s been an increasing struggle for us as well as other businesses.”

Koontz bought the 10,000-square-foot building at 633 N. Broadway in 2003. The building was built as a house and eventually became a funeral home.

He says it’s a “fabulous” space but that he wants “to get out from underneath this.”

Koontz adds that he wants “someone to love it as much as we do because it’s a great facility.”

He says after selling the building, he’ll take care of debts and relocate.

“I have an idea where I’d like to go.”

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Kernel’s Popcorn Express to expand to former PrintMaster space

WICHITA — Four years ago, Merrill Lynch financial adviser Tracy Mavis had a client who was retiring and wondered whether Mavis might know someone who would be interested in his Popcorn Express business.

“I told him … I did not know anyone,” Mavis says.

Turns out he did.

“I got to thinking about it … and decided to buy it myself,” Mavis says. “It’s something that seemed like a lot of fun to do.”

Mavis says his instincts were correct, and now he and some family members are expanding their Kernel’s Popcorn Express by moving to the former PrintMaster space at Second and Wabash.

“It gives us a better retail location (and) more visibility,” Mavis says.

He also likes that the 6,000-square-foot space is close to downtown.

“It just seems like there’s always events going on downtown.”

Currently, Kernel’s makes and sells 40 flavors of popcorn in 2,000 square feet at 224 N. Kansas, between First and Second.

Mavis says he needs more space to make, store and display his products.

“It was just time to expand and take it to the next level,” he says.

John Potochnik of Weichert Realtors Compass Point and Elyssa Seymour of NAI Martens handled the deal.

Mavis’ goal is to move the 27-year-old business by late July.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Mavis says of the business. “Everybody’s always happy when they come in there, and everybody leaves happy.”

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse loses chef

UPDATED — Another person in what’s been a string of Ambassador Hotel employees coming and going – from the general manager on down – is gone.

This time, it’s executive chef Marshall Roth, who moved to Wichita to open the downtown hotel’s Siena Tuscan Steakhouse.

“We kind of just parted ways,” Roth says. “I need to do what’s right for myself, and they need to do what’s right for the hotel.”

Hotel owner Paul Coury says he’s a huge Roth fan.

“He’s a great guy,” Coury says.

Roth says he came to Wichita to be his mother’s caretaker. He says he recently was looking to hire more nurses for his mother. Now, he says, he won’t have to.

“I’m going to be taking care of my mom.”

Coury says Roth’s schedule of caring for his mother sometimes conflicted with his schedule at the restaurant.

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Bank of America slashes space at namesake building, plans to close banking center

UPDATED — Bank of America Center’s namesake tenant is significantly reducing its size at the building at Douglas and Broadway.

“That’s just one of the many they’re downsizing,” says Chris Ruffin, director of real estate for his father’s Ruffin Properties.

“It’s kind of sad since they’ve been such a longtime tenant. They’re a great tenant.”

Bank of America building in downtown Wichita.  (Oct. 9, 2012.)The North Carolina-based bank has been cutting costs and eliminating thousands of jobs over the past few years.

Currently, Bank of America has 50,000 square feet at its downtown Wichita headquarters.

“They’re cutting down to about 12,000 square feet and giving … us back the second floor,” says Phil Ruffin, who owns the building. “That’s how far we’ve gotten so far.”

The bank’s lease expires Dec. 31.

“We have been reviewing all of our corporate real estate needs across the country over the last several years,” bank spokeswoman Diane Wagner said in an e-mail.

“We have identified some areas that will allow us to become more efficient and are working to reduce the space we have to fit the needs of our businesses. In Wichita, this means we are reducing our space in the 100 N. Broadway location . . . . We do plan to continue to have some offices in the building, but can’t share any further details at this time.”

Wagner does confirm, though, that Bank of America’s retail banking center will close.

“As it relates to our banking center, after careful consideration, we have chosen to close the banking center at 100 N. Broadway as we will consolidate and serve our banking center customers’ needs from our nearby Mid Towne Center facility at 411 S Topeka St.,” Wagner wrote. “This consolidation into our motor bank building will require significant investment in the facility and demonstrates our commitment in the downtown district for Wichita.”

“It’s beautiful space,” Phil Ruffin says. “There’s no space like it in Wichita, I can tell you that.”

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Medical Development Management to expand at the Garvey Center

UPDATED — For the second time in less than a year, Medical Development Management is moving. It’ll be a much shorter trip this time around, though.

In July, the company moved from Kellogg and Rock Road to about 2,500 square feet at the O.W. Garvey Building at 200 W. Douglas.

MDM had an option to take some extra space for a total of 4,500 square feet. Instead, though, it’s now going to move next door into the 6,500 square feet that Case, Moses & Zimmerman currently occupies.

“It made more sense to do that,” says MDM president Joe Hlavacek.

“We were willing to work with them in allowing them to continue to grow,” says attorney David Moses. “It also affords us an opportunity to look at all of our alternatives.”

Hlavacek says there are several ways the company is growing.

“Right now … the project that’s causing us to need more space is we … are in the process of developing a general acute care hospital in Kearney, Nebraska,” he says.

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A 1,500-square-foot Scooter’s is second tenant for Union Station

WICHITA — Occidental Management now has its second tenant in its new development at Union Station, which it is planning to transform into a multi-use destination in the heart of the city.

“We’re going to be putting in a Scooter’s coffee cafe,” says Occidental president Chad Stafford, who handled the deal with chairman and CEO Gary Oborny.

Wichita businessman Tad Fugate will open the Scooter’s in 1,500 square feet on the east end of what was the Grand Hotel immediately to the west of The Wichita Eagle. The businesses are across from the entrance to Old Town.

“So they’ll have great presence along Douglas,” Stafford says.

“To have them in this with their coffee brand is pretty exciting,” he says of Fugate and his company.

This won’t be a typical Scooter’s kiosk.

“This is a little bit different for them in that they’re getting into a little cafe style.”

There are similar Scooter’s cafes on the Plaza in Kansas City and in Overland Park.

There will be a drive-through at the cafe.

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