Category Archives: West side

Event space to open in former Moose lodge

WICHITA — Kyle Riffel already works at Barney’s, his family’s drug store on West Central just east of Zoo Boulevard, and now he’s preparing for a second job just down from there at 3130 W. Central where the Loyal Order of the Moose 138 closed late last year.

“We were just trying to come up with an idea that might work in that type of a space,” Riffel says. “They had already ran some dances and things out of there.”

Riffel says there’s a dance floor and bar area, so he says an event space for parties and weddings makes sense.

“We thought that that was our best bet,” he says.

“There’s only a couple of options out here,” Riffel says of other west-side event spaces.

He’s working on zoning and a liquor license now.

Riffel says the Moose lodge could serve alcohol to members on certain days and have a cash bar that was open to the public one day a week.

“It was very specific … as far as who could buy drinks.”

Riffel says he’s not trying to get a license to sell alcohol to the public. He says he’ll do private parties only.

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Lawyer Abdul Arif buys Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria at NewMarket Square

WICHITA — Abdul Arif swore he’d never do it again, but he’s getting back in the restaurant business.

Arif says he closed on a deal Wednesday to buy Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria in NewMarket Square and plans to make some changes, though incrementally, and expand with more restaurants.

Years ago, the lawyer says, he had a couple of Indian restaurants “that I lost my shirt on.”

The difference now, he says, is his tenant at Sutton Place, Gerard Rodriguez of Anna Murdoc’s Cafe, is going to run Avivo in addition to having an ownership stake in it.

“We made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, just like the pizza mafia guys do,” Arif says jokingly.

He says Rodriguez went to culinary school and has a passion for food.

“I’m not passionate about food like these guys who go to culinary school,” Arif says. “You can’t get them to shut up.”

Tony Suellentrop, whose family started Avivo, says other demands prompted the sale.

“We have a lot going on,” he says.

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Pristine Paws to open March 1

Tiana Kuntz and her "old boy," Bubba.

Tiana Kuntz and her “old boy,” Bubba.

WICHITA — Tiana Kuntz has spent the past 16 years grooming dogs for other businesses, and now she’s going to open her own dog-grooming business.

“I’ve thought about it for the last two or three years,” Kuntz says. “It’s a skill set I have, and I enjoy doing it, so I may as well do it for myself.”

She’s going to open Pristine Paws in 1,100 square feet at 1900 W. 13th St., which is just east of McLean.

Kuntz also is employing groomers Jordan Walker, who has five years of experience, and Stacey Reeves, who has done it for six years.

Pristine Paws will be a full-service grooming business, though Kuntz says she won’t offer teeth cleaning.

The business will open March 1. Kuntz says she’s “pretty stoked.”

“It was just time for a change.”

You don’t say

“Put a sparkle in your smile with Grillz here at Towne West Jewelers.”

– A tweet from Towne West Square promoting the sparkly caps that can be worn over teeth

Marine World owners to buy Mid-America Powersports

WICHITA — In July, Have You Heard? reported that Mid-America Powersports owner Ross Reed planned to close his business.

Then, within days, Reed said it looked like he may have opportunities to sell the business.

Now, that’s happening.

Marine World owners Nick and Nathan Blasi are buying the business.

“We felt it fit well with what we’re already doing,” says Nick Blasi.

Marine World sells watercraft and some power sports.

“We felt that it was our chance to own all the brands together,” Nick Blasi says.

Mid-America Powersports sells Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, KTM and Kymco.

“It’s such a unique business,” Nathan Blasi says. “You cannot duplicate that.”

He says Reed “just worked it out where it’s made a perfect marriage over time.”

Nathan Blasi says he and his brother were Reed’s customers while growing up.

“He has just built it over time.”

The Blasis are managing Mid-America Powersports until the deal closes. They plan to keep Marine World at 7979 W. Kellogg and Mid-America at 333 N. West St.

“We wanted to keep this business going because it is unique,” Nathan Blasi says. “It’s a destination-type store. It’s an awesome thing that he’s built.”

Wan Da Buffet to open in former World Buffet space

WICHITA — A new buffet restaurant is opening where the World Buffet Grill used to be at 21st and Ridge.

World Buffet closed late last year.

Wan Da Buffet opens Tuesday.

Owner Xue Chen used to have a hibachi restaurant in El Dorado.

His new restaurant will feature a buffet but will also have menus, carryout and catering.

Manager Hank Luc says Wan Da will have “a little bit of everything,” including American, Chinese and Japanese food.

Verizon Wireless converts NewMarket Square store to Smart Store

WICHITA — The newly expanded Verizon Wireless at NewMarket Square opens Thursday with a new concept.

“We are opening what we call a Smart Store,” says spokeswoman Brenda Hill.

“We’ve really completely redesigned the customer experience inside the store,” she says. “Now the way the store is organized is … really focused on the way that customers use wireless.”

Only 100 of Verizon’s 1,700 stores across the country have this concept so far, and this will be the first one in Wichita and second one in Kansas.

“This is a big deal for us to have one of the first,” Hill says.

She says an employee called an experience specialist will greet customers when they enter the store.

“A lot of times customers come in the store, and they really don’t know what they need,” Hill says. There’s a lot “that they don’t know wireless can help them with.”

She says that might include ways to save money on home energy or devices to measure fitness goals.

The store will have four major zones to cater to various needs.

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Taco Tico near 13th and Tyler to reopen

WICHITA — A new Taco Tico is going to open in a former Taco Tico site just south of 13th and Tyler.

Owner Greg White says some former Taco Tico franchisees in other cities “got a hold of me and said, ‘Greg, we don’t want to lose Taco Tico in the Wichita area.’”

Last year, the state seized the assets of Ajax International Group, which had 10 Taco Tico restaurants in the greater Wichita are. The company declared bankruptcy with the intent to reopen some of the restaurants, but it didn’t work out in the end.

“It’s all kind of complicated since what happened last year,” White says. “I don’t know how to explain it all to you. It’s kind of weird the way everything’s happening.”

The bottom line for him is on Wednesday he’s reopening the first of what he hopes will be five Taco Ticos by the end of the year.

“If it all goes good, yeah,” White says. “That’s probably being a little anxious. You gotta shoot high, I guess.”

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Papa Murphy’s waits on expansion plans

UPDATED — Papa Murphy’s is not going to open a new store in the 21st and Amidon area this year as planned, but it likely will happen next year.

Last year, the chain of take-and-bake pizzas started letting customers know about its plans for 21st and Amidon. That’s when the chain and its nine stores in Wichita were owned by Papa Murphy’s corporate.

Now there’s a new owner, Papa’s Partners, which is a group of partners from Kansas City.

“You know how it goes when you take over new ownership,” says district manager Bryan Martin.

He says the owners are going to focus on best practices for now and put off expansion plans until later.

“The focus is the nine stores that are preexisting right now,” Martin says.

“Wichita’s definitely an area that we’re looking to grow. It’s definitely a market that Papa Murphy’s is excited about being in, and we’re looking into it.”

Demolition work under way at Twin Lakes in preparation for possible development

WICHITA — In preparation for possible new development, there’s demolition work under way at Twin Lakes, the shopping center at 21st and Amidon that once was Wichita’s premier retail destination.

“The owners are demolishing two portions of the property to clear ground for a new development, but they don’t know what that new development is going to be,” says Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, which manages the property.

The Colorado-based owners “thought it would be better to demolish portions of the center that were obsolete.”

Saville says a couple of areas of the center have been difficult to rent in recent years. That includes the former Sears automotive center on the south side of the property. Saville says the owners are considering doing a multifamily residential development there.

The former cinema at the center, which last was home to Aaron’s, also is being demolished. Saville says that area, which is on the west side of the property along Amidon, could potentially be used for a freestanding retail outlet.

We’ll let you know what happens.