Category Archives: New business

You don’t say

“It’s been kind of a nice surprise.”

Jim Stevens on the new Pie Five Pizza that’s opening near Maple and Ridge on Aug. 15, which is the chain’s first freestanding restaurant so he wasn’t able to see pictures of what it would look like

Whole Foods Market will have some familiar Kansas touches when it opens

WICHITA — Whole Foods Market may be new to Wichita, but there’s going to be something familiar about the store when it opens Sept. 3 in the Waterfront at 13th and Webb.

The Austin-based chain often likes to take inspiration from a locale when opening a new store there.

“We normally try to have stories behind what we do,” says Paul Jarvis, decor project manager.

Some stores are easier than others.

“If we open in, like, a suburb, it’s harder to find … obvious details,” Jarvis says.

“Wichita is just chock full of fun stuff,” he says. “I went out to Wichita with one of the designers, and we just kind of soaked it in and did a lot of research.”

Jarvis, a Kansas State University graduate who works in Whole Foods’ Boulder office, took photos at places such as Beechcraft.

“We did a lot of walking around Old Town.”

Then he gathered photos and colors “from the feel we got” and did a hierarchy of what’s important here.

“Aviation came out on top,” Jarvis says.

Kansas nature and what he calls a Native American element also were influential.

There will be some obvious references to those things and some more subtle references.

“There are a lot of yellows that we got from sunflowers and … fields and wheat,” Jarvis says.

A lot of the decorative wood in the store is reclaimed.

Jarvis also went to Rantoul, Kan., to visit Dodson International, which deals in aircraft parts.

“I wanted to find something special,” Jarvis says. “They’re a great resource.”

He picked up some old wings and propellers, among other things.

Jarvis is not saying how he’s going to use them, though.

“I kind of want them to be a little bit of a surprise when we open.”

In addition to actual aircraft parts, there will be artwork featuring aspects of aviation or patterns that can be seen from planes.

“We really kind of went all out with the details of the patterns we got from airplanes,” Jarvis says.

“There’s a lot of little details like that that hopefully people will pick up on.”

Team leader Angela Schmidt gives a tour of the new Wichita Whole Foods Market, which she’ll manage.

Cenex gas station and market to open on East 21st Street

UPDATED — A blighted area of East 21st Street is about to experience a revival.

“We’re going in there and building a new gas station,” Amir Etezazi says.

His company, Etezazi Industries, a division of Etezazi Corp., is building a new Cenex gas station and an expanded convenience store in the former Amoco station and market just east of the Canal Route.

“It’s definitely going to enhance the area,” says City Council member Lavonta Williams. “It is going to create another opportunity for people to create pride.”

The station has been abandoned for about a decade.

Amir Etezazi, right, and his father, Masoud Etezazi, are renovating this former market and a neighboring former Amoco station into a new market and Cenex station.

Amir Etezazi, right, and his father, Masoud Etezazi, are renovating this former market and a neighboring former Amoco station into a new market and Cenex station.

“Anytime you have at least one … blighted building where something is not kept up, you’re going to invite illegal dumping,” Williams says. “You’re going to invite illegal activity.”

Etezazi, who bought the building in December, says there have been “a lot of challenges” so far.

“It was vandalized pretty badly,” he says. “Constantly, there is some sort of vandalism.”

People dumping trash on the property is a big issue, he and Williams say.

Williams says Etezazi finally put a Dumpster on the property to give people an option for their trash. “Don’t just drop it on the lot.”

Etezazi says the Dumpster actually is there for his use, and he wants people to stop seeing the area as a place for trash.

So far, most of the work Etezazi has done has been on the inside of the 7,500-square-foot building, which he’s divided for various uses.

Etezazi plans a full kitchen with fresh and prepared foods.

Williams says it’s “just another opportunity for people to have something accessible to purchase items,” especially for those who may be walking to the store.

She says Etezazi’s store will have fresh produce and other items the Dollar General across the street might not have.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” Williams says.

Etezazi plans to lease space on the east end of the building for a liquor store.

“We had to go back and forth a little bit with the city,” he says.

Etezazi also has three other convenience stores, including a Phillips 66 at Kellogg and Hillside, one in Newton and a Valero at Central and Ridge.

He’s hoping the Cenex will open in early October, but he says it more likely will be the middle of the month.

Etezazi also is hoping there will be a payoff for his hard work and frustrations.

“We’re investing a lot of money in here.”

Urban Air Trampoline Park to open in former Pure Entertainment space on west side

WICHITA — On the heels of Get Air Wichita opening downtown in April, Wichita is about to get its second indoor trampoline park.

“It’s finally all coming together,” Wichitan Jon Becker says.

He and his family are opening Urban Air Trampoline Park in the former Pure Entertainment space at 8545 W. Irving, which is next to the Midwest Kia dealership at Kellogg and Tyler.

Pure Entertainment has suspended operations until the business secures new space.

Becker and his family, including his wife, Annie, and daughters, Allie, 6, and Hailey, 9, were vacationing in Texas when they discovered Urban Air.

“We just had an absolute blast as a family,” Jon Becker says.

“We took them there,” he says of his kids, “and I think we ended up having just as much fun as them.”

Their Urban Air will be the fifth in the chain and the first one outside of Texas. There are three more in the works elsewhere that others are doing.

Becker says he thought the Pure Entertainment building would be perfect as it was, but he says that has turned out not to be the case.

“We’re gutting the entire 25,500 square feet and starting over.”

Becker says that’s in an effort to make the place as comfortable as possible so parents and grandparents “actually want to spend time and stay there. It’s not just drop the kids off and go.”

There will be areas within the park for various activities, such as an open jump area, a basketball jumping area, a foam pit, a runway for gymnastics, two dodgeball courts and an area for children 5 and under.

“Our whole concept is different than a lot of other trampoline parks around the area,” Becker says.

He says he knows he has competition, but Becker says being from Wichita, he and his wife feel like they know the market.

“We’ve specifically chosen that area,” he says of the west side.

Becker says it’s easily accessible from the east and west sides since it’s along Kellogg, and it’s especially close to the growing areas of Goddard and Maize.

The Beckers hope to open sometime in November.

Jon Becker isn’t sure if this will be the family’s only Urban Air.

“Can Wichita justify an east and a west? I don’t know,” he says. “Right now we’re just holding the reins back.”

Becker says he is excited to have his daughters see the business come to life.

“We’re doing this all as a family project.”

Becker, who has been in medical sales, and his wife, who is a first grade teacher in Andover, have always wanted their own business, he says.

“This is the first idea my wife’s ever actually agreed with me on.”

Firefly Yoga Studio to go on the road; Satya Moon Yoga to open in its place

WICHITA — Firefly Yoga Studio owner Nickki Head is taking her business on the road.

“I have decided to sell the studio space to my lead instructor,” Head says of Katerina Gavin. “It’ll be a really smooth transition.”

Gavin is renaming the studio, which is in the Shops at Tallgrass at 21st and Rock Road, Satya Moon Yoga. That loosely translates to unchanging truth or absolute truth.

Head opened Firefly three and a half years ago and added a west-side studio in 2012. The west-side space, which is at at 2313 Zoo Park Blvd., is closing at the end of this month.

The east-side studio will close Aug. 31 and reopen as Satya Sept. 1.

Head then will move to Denver where she has family and, at least initially, do guest teaching at various yoga studios around the Midwest.

“Owning a studio kind of ties you down to one location,” Head says. “I really just want to keep traveling with it right now.”

Head says it’s been a fantastic run here.

“I’ll be sad to leave Wichita but definitely excited for the next chapter in my life.”

Nectar of the Gods Vape Shop to open in Sweetbriar at 21st and Amidon

WICHITA — Before he decided to open his own electronic cigarette shop, David Ford tried to count how many there already are in Wichita.

It’s hard to come up with an exact figure, but suffice it to say there are a lot.

That didn’t deter Ford, though, who is opening Nectar of the Gods Vape Shop in the Sweetbriar shopping center on the northwest corner of 21st and Amidon.

“There’s two hookah lounges right there … but there’s no vape shops in any kind of proximity to that area,” Ford says. “That’s the whole reason I went there.”

The store will open in early September. Ford may open more shops after that.

“I would like to,” he says. “We’ll see how it works out.”

Andy Boyd of Walter Morris Cos. handled the deal.

Ford says the juices that people can vape come in all sorts of flavors, such as a New York cheesecake that offers all of the flavor “without all the … guilt of the calories you’re putting on.”

“It’s basically nectar,” he says of the juices.

He says nectar of the gods is fabled to have lifesaving powers.

“If you get people off of smoking, they can live a little longer,” Ford says. “That’s the whole point behind Nectar of the Gods.”

Panda Express to open at Derby Marketplace

WICHITA — Panda Express is going to open a third Wichita-area restaurant, this time in Derby.

The fast casual concept will go in the Derby Marketplace at Meadowlark and Rock Road. Panda will be in 2,350 square feet on the opposite end of the building where Starbucks is.

There’s another 3,200 square feet left to lease in the building.

The California-based Panda entered the Wichita market in 2010 with stores on Maize Road in front of Academy Sports & Outdoors and at One Kellogg Place on East Kellogg.

Leisa Lowry of J.P. Weigand & Sons represents the chain in the Wichita area.

Panda is similar to Chipotle in that diners walk through a line and first select a starch — steamed or fried rice or chow mein — and vegetables followed by two to three entrees.

Entrees consist of traditional Chinese dishes such as kung pao chicken, sweet-and-sour pork and beef and broccoli.

Look for more details on the Derby Panda as they become available.

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming to open at Cambridge Market at 21st and Webb

WICHITA — If you heard rumblings of a Wolfgang bringing some tasty treats to a new pink-and-brown, chandelier-lit bakery and boutique on the east side, it wouldn’t be surprising if you wondered whether international chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck might be bringing one of his concepts here.

Turns out, it’s Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming that will be opening in Cambridge Market at 21st and Webb.

“It’ll definitely be probably the most unique pet store that people in this market have seen,” says Lisa Chamberlain, who is opening the business with her husband, Albert Cipo.

“Most people are like, ‘This is for dogs?’ ”

The two had another Woof Gang franchise in Houston but wanted to move back home to Wichita.

The business is a combination store, bakery and grooming site.

Chamberlain says she plans to have grooming for dogs and cats.

“Hopefully, if I can find a groomer who does cats,” she says. “That’s an if.”

Chamberlain says she tries to do kennel-free grooming in a short amount of time to keep down an animal’s stress level.

“Our grooming is more of a spa-type setting,” she says.

That includes “pawdicures” and blueberry facials with natural products.

“The dogs love it,” Chamberlain says. “It’s like lick, lick, lick.”

Woof Gang also will have an all-natural bakery for special-occasion cakes and treats.

“It is a bakery for pets,” Chamberlain says. “We have all sorts of treats.”

She says Woof Gang also will sell holistic food, including dry and wet food and raw and freeze-dried food.

There also will be chews, bowls, beds, collars and leashes.

“We’re a little more of a boutique feel,” Chamberlain says.

The 2,000-square-foot store will open in October.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

“Ideally, we’d like to do more than one,” Chamberlain says.

The plan is to open a second Woof Gang on the west side within a year after the first one opens. Then the Kansas City area is a possibility, she says.

“It’s a long-term plan.”

MOXI Junction set to open thanks to Kickstarter campaign

UPDATED — Kickstarter did just what Joanna Kilgore needed it to do. The campaign raised more than $22,000 to help put in a kitchen for MOXI Junction, a new coffeehouse coming to Maize.

“It was awesome,” Kilgore says.

The house at Park and Academy that is now home to MOXI Junction.

The house at Park and Academy that is now home to MOXI Junction.

It worked so well, she says, “Oh, we’re opening Monday.”

In October, Have You Heard? reported that Kilgore and some Maize-area friends, including two other mothers of special-needs children, are opening the business as a place for their kids to work. The coffeehouse also will have a bakery and art gallery.

MOXI, which stands for Mothers of Exceptional Individuals, will be at the northwest corner of Park and Academy in Maize.

Kilgore had said she was close to opening when she learned she wouldn’t have all the money she needed from the farm bank she was working with.

She credits Facebook and an e-mail campaign for helping reach the Kickstarter goal. She says her “uber goal” was to raise $60,000, but the $22,000 and some change was enough to get going.

Kilgore says she already had her kitchen on order.

“I had to do this little bridge thing using my retirement account,” she says. “It wasn’t pretty. That’s not what you want to do.”

The kitchen is now in thanks to what Kilgore calls a determined group of people “working sunup to sundown.”

Initially, MOXI will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. After school starts, it will be 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Eventually, Kilgore hopes to add Saturday service.

 

Ribbit Computers owner to start chain of fast casual Mediterranean restaurants

WICHITA — Alex Harb has good news and bad news, depending on your perspective.

Last fall, the Ribbit Computers owner and new Golden Corral franchisee told Have You Heard? he was considering bringing Jack in the Box to Wichita.

He’s decided not to do that, but Harb instead is going to open a fast casual Mediterranean restaurant in September.

Meddys will open in the former Jimmy’s Egg space at Harry and Rock.

“I believe that there’s a need for a fast casual Mediterranean food,” Harb says. “It’s not fast food.”

Meddys, which is kind of a nickname for the Mediterranean, will serve chicken and beef shawarma, kabobs, salad, hummus and falafel. Harb says meat will be off a spit.

“There’s nothing like it in town,” he says. “It’s extra work.”

Harb says he’s purposely keeping the menu simple.

“We’re not trying to be everything for everyone.”

Harb, who entered the restaurant business with a Raymore, Mo., Golden Corral earlier this year, says he plans to do four Meddys in the Wichita area over the next five years.

“Everybody is leaning towards the healthier food,” he says.

That’s part of the reason Harb says he decided to do Meddys instead of Jack in the Box.

“There’s plenty of places that are serving just hamburgers and tacos and everything that Jack in the Box serves.”

Harb says he likes the traffic around Harry and Rock.

“It’s pretty good exposure,” he says. “I think this location will do very well.”