Category Archives: South side

Sunbelt Rentals enters market with store

WICHITA — Sunbelt Rentals, an international company that bills itself as the second-largest rental company nationally, is entering the Wichita market.

“We’ve got a variety of products that we’ll be able to provide,” says district manager Keith Dressendorfer.

He says Sunbelt, which is based in England and has U.S. headquarters in South Carolina, already has customers here. Now they’ll have a store to shop at in addition to online.

Sunbelt is remodeling a 13,000-square-foot building at 3410 W. 30th St. South. Dressendorfer says it should be ready by late September, but the company will have a soft opening sometime in August.

There are more than 400 Sunbelt stores, many of which surround the Midwest.

“Basically there’s been a void in the Midwest,” Dressendorfer says. “We just want to start filling in some of the Midwest.”

The company now has stores in Oklahoma City, Joplin, Mo., Rogers, Ark., and Kansas City. A second Kansas City store is in the works.

“A year ago, none of those existed for us,” Dressendorfer says. He says there’s “quite a lot of growth up in this area for us.”

Sunbelt does “a little bit of everything,” Dressendorfer says.

There are a dozen divisions, such as a general tool group, a concrete and masonry group, an earth moving division, an oil and gas division, a climate control division and a scaffolding division.

Dressendorfer says customers could be anyone from a homeowner needing to rent something for a one-time use to a Fortune 500 company needing to rent a number of things.

“We will do business with pretty much anybody,” he says.

General and commercial contractors are some of Sunbelt’s most regular customers.

Dressendorfer says there is a budget for nine employees initially, “But who knows where it will go after that?”

He says Sunbelt plans to hire locally.

Dressendorfer says a second Wichita store or more throughout Kansas are possibilities.

“There will always be that opportunity.”

Dakhil family pays for second Lord’s Diner food truck, which debuts Wednesday

WICHITA — The Lord’s Diner is debuting its second food truck on Wednesday and – unexpectedly – it’ll be fully paid for.

Physician Shaker Dakhil read an April Have You Heard? column about the success of the first Lord’s Diner food truck and how the nonprofit planned a second one for Friendship Park in the Hilltop neighborhood.

Dakhil called the Lord’s Diner and said he’d like to buy a third truck to help the organization feed the homeless and hungry.

“He can’t stand the thought of hungry children,” says Lord’s Diner director Jan Haberly.

She told Dakhil that the nonprofit couldn’t start thinking of a third truck until it pays for the second one. So Dakhil and his wife, Kathie, donated $115,000 for the truck and some supplies since, as Dakhil says, “Metal doesn’t feed people.”

The money was going to come from the Lord’s Diner general fund. Haberly says the donation “actually frees up that money to secure the food for all that we’re doing.”

Two diners and a truck serve about 1,200 people a day. Haberly anticipates the daily average will jump by at least 300 if not 400 more people a day.

“I always said I wanted to open my own restaurant for the homeless,” Dakhil says.

Dakhil, an oncologist who is president of the Cancer Center of Kansas, says the center has satellite centers to treat patients closer to where they live, and he says he appreciates that the Lord’s Diner practices the same concept.

“Take the food where the hungry people are,” he says.

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Terry Merrifield to close her Health and Healing practice

terryWICHITA — Family physician Terry Merrifield is retiring after May 30, but it’s not entirely by choice.

“I had hoped to go on a few more years,” says the 66-year-old, who owns Health and Healing at 9415 E. Harry.

“Everything about health care has become more and more complex,” Merrifield says.

Whether it’s the government, insurance companies or large employers, everyone seems to need more and more assurances that they’re getting what they need out of her office.

Merrifield says there’s “so much complicated paperwork and computer programming that doesn’t always work right.”

“It has taken more and more time away from my practice,” she says. “It’s just worn me out.”

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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.”

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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Sweet Willy’s Hillbilly BBQ to open on South Seneca

WICHITA — Insurance salesman Randy Hare has a number of inspirations for opening his own restaurant, Sweet Willy’s Hillbilly BBQ, near 47th and South Seneca.

“I got my roots from the Ozarks and from tasting the good Carolina barbecue around,” Hare says.

willy“Plus, my wife needed a job,” he says of his wife, Pam.

Hare has been the manager at City Life Cafe, where Youth for Christ kids have a chance to learn on the job, and he says he wants to offer them another place to do that.

The Hares are planning to open Sweet Willy’s at 4628 S. Seneca in about three weeks.

“It’s just going to be a little 30-seater,” Hare says.

He says they’ll also have catering, a drive-through and a food truck.

Hare plans to smoke the restaurant’s meat in front of the restaurant in view of passersby.

“If you’re down at the Sonic, you’re going to be able to smell my smoke.”

That’s part of his plan.

“You’ve got to have something.”

Hare says he’ll have smoky, fall-off-the-bone ribs and a number of unusual offerings, such as traditional Poutine french fries with cheese curds in a brown gravy, inspired by Canadian partner.

Hare says he’s going to keep his insurance job as well.

“Unfortunately,” he says, “it’s against the law for me to give somebody a steak to buy a life insurance policy.”

Possible DCF lease on South Oliver may not be ‘at the goal line’

The U.S. Postal Service is vacating this building at 2601 S. Oliver, but whether the state Department for Children and Families moves in isn't as certain as it once was.

The U.S. Postal Service is vacating this building at 2601 S. Oliver, but whether the state Department for Children and Families moves in isn’t as certain as it once was.

UPDATED — In February, a state official told Have You Heard? that the Department for Children and Families was “at the goal line” for signing a deal for space that the U.S. Postal Service is vacating at 2601 S. Oliver.

Apparently, though, someone has moved the goal line. The players in the lineup may have changed, too.

“We’re still exploring all of our options and haven’t made a final determination on that yet,” says Theresa Freed, a DCF spokeswoman. “That is one of the options that we’re considering.”

That sounds a lot less certain than when Mark McGivern, director of the Office of Facilities and Procurement Management within the state Department of Administration, used the goal line analogy.

Does that mean the postal deal is less likely than it had been?

“I wouldn’t say that it is any more or less likely,” Freed says. “As a department, we don’t discuss contracts until they are finalized.”

In June, Have You Heard? reported that nine state agencies, including more than 700 employees, will leave the Finney building when the state’s lease expires on Sept. 30. More than 550 of those employees are with DCF.

The city presented the state with what a state spokesman called “a very aggressive lease renewal offer” last summer, but the spokesman said DCF has needs the Finney building can’t fulfill.

State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, has voiced concerns from the beginning regarding DCF and other agencies vacating the Finney building. He wonders what the holdup is now.

“That’s another concern in an ongoing series of concerns about how … good of a decision the move is in total,” he says.

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Despite appearances, Knipp’s still in business; Brandon Steven’s car wash isn’t

WICHITA — What looked to be the Knipp’s car wash on North Rock Road between 13th and 21st streets has closed, though it hasn’t been a Knipp’s for some time.

“Years ago it used to be ours,” says Todd Knipp. “For some reason they never took any of our signage down.”

Brandon Steven owns the car wash and says he had to close it to have more room for his Super Car Guys.

“We need the space so bad,” he says.

“It’s too bad,” Steven says. “I love that car wash.”

He’s referring customers to Joe’s Seat Cover & Carwash, which his uncles own.

There’s a Knipp’s store on Harry just east of Southeast Boulevard that sells automotive appearance products and also offers detailing services. It does not have a drive-through car wash, though.

“This year starts our 40th year,” Knipp says. “I hope to make it another 40.”

Boost Mobile and Big E’s Vapor Shop to open in center on South Seneca

WICHITA — The building that Aisak Corp. recently purchased at 3122 S. Seneca has a couple of new tenants that will be opening in the next week or two.

Boost Mobile is taking about 1,200 square feet for its fifth Wichita store.

“We don’t have anything in the South Seneca area,” co-owner Shumair Tanjwani says.

In addition to a lot of traffic in the area, Tanjwani says a lot of other mobile phone dealers are nearby.

“That’s why I decided to go there,” he says. “We kind of work off each other. It’s kind of like a mall. People go to one stop to shop for certain things.”

Traffic count also is what’s driving the owners of Big E’s Vapor Shop to open in about 1,700 square feet at the center.

“The traffic count is crazy high in that area,” says Sherri Hischke, who owns the business with Eldon Simmons and Dixie Zellner.

They also have stores near Lincoln and Rock Road and 21st and Tyler.

The stores sell vapor equipment, juice and cigarettes.

All Family Insurance is the only tenant currently in the South Seneca building. There’s still space left to lease there.

Dancing in Paradise to open in former Bingo Palace on South Hydraulic

WICHITA — Steve Trent enjoys dancing so much, his wife, Diane, encouraged him to make a career of it instead of operating heavy equipment as he had been.

“You’re getting too old to do that stuff,” Trent says his wife advised.

So the two are opening Dancing in Paradise at 2841 S. Hydraulic where the Bingo Palace closed late last year.

“My wife and I are dancers,” Trent says.

He used to host singles dances in Dodge City and also had a successful New Year’s dance party at the former Loyal Order of the Moose 138 space near Central and Zoo Boulevard, where they used to dance before it closed.

“We’re not really going to be a dance studio,” Trent says of his new business.

Nor is he going to be a club that’s open to the public.

“It’s kind of going to be halfway in between.”

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