Category Archives: Downtown

Google pin drop attracts attention at Corner 365, but Google has nothing to do with it

This sign in front of the new Corner 365 apartments is attracting attention -- just as Mike Garvey hoped it would.

This sign in front of the new Corner 365 apartments is attracting attention — just as Mike Garvey hoped it would.

WICHITA — The popular Google pin drop, which pinpoints sites on Google maps, has been popping up in a number of strange places worldwide.

For instance, the British tabloid Metro did a story last week about the red Google A, which looks like an upside down teardrop, showing up in a Berkshire roundabout. The paper quoted someone who questioned if it could be linked to a mysterious ghost child who supposedly haunts a nearby bridge.

Artist Aram Bartholl has a project in which he erected a giant red letter A in some cities on the spots that Google says are the centers of the cities.

Now, Wichita’s Builders Inc. has a red A in front of its apartments, Corner 365, under construction at the southeast corner of First and Waco.

No one has questioned if a ghost child is involved, but some have wondered if the A might denote what Google thinks is the center of Wichita. That’s not the case, though.

Builders Inc. president Mike Garvey says he was online one day when he saw a man in Germany standing in front of a building with what looked like the Google pin in front of it.

Garvey says he realized it was an imposter pin, but he says, “I was like, that’s a great idea.”

Hoping to bring attention to the apartments, Garvey had a sign company make him a similar pin.

“Some people have noticed it,” he says. “Maybe people drive by it and think it’s a Google pin.”

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Airbus to reduce engineering staff

WICHITA — Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft aren’t the only aircraft manufacturers cutting jobs in Wichita.

Airbus also will be reducing its engineering staff.

“This is not bad news,” says spokeswoman Kristi Tucker.

“This type of staffing balance is not unusual in the aviation industry,” she says. “At some point in every project, the product leaves the engineering and design phase and goes into production, so you don’t need as much engineering focus on it.”

Currently, about 370 of Airbus’ 400 Wichita employees are engineers.

“It’s been at a top level,” Tucker says. “It’s more work than we’ve ever done or ever managed out of that office.”

She says she can’t discuss specific numbers of how many jobs will be eliminated because that’s not been determined yet.

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Get Air Wichita to open next week

WICHITA — Some new businesses open with the hope that customers will come, but the new Get Air Wichita is opening next week with what looks to be a built-in customer base.

“We probably get 50 calls a day,” co-owner Mike Goetz says of people who are interested in the business.

Get Air Wichita, which is part of a growing chain of a dozen Get Air parks nationally, is a giant indoor trampoline park that’s taking part of the former Big Dog Motorcycle space downtown on New York Street between Douglas and First.

Almost half of the 22,000-square-foot park will be a trampoline, which will have different areas for various activities, including dodge ball, a basketball dunk and foam pits, which have video playback so people can watch their flips. There’s also a bungee jump that helps users who can’t do flips on their own.

There will be a toddler area as well.

This week, the trampolines will be installed along with some graffiti art – the intentional kind.

Other Get Air sites in the chain are popular for children and birthday parties, but Goetz says the business has something for all ages. For instance, there are teen nights on the weekends, and the company has hired a fitness director and is working on a schedule for fitness classes. Get Air Wichita also can be rented for corporate events.

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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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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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