Designers Expo owner plans to reorganize instead of expand

WICHITA — Just as Janelle King is having to move her Workroom and JK Design because of the Domestic Laundry sale, neighboring Designers Expo has a change of plans as well.

Kathy Haines was prepared to expand her store, which sells residential decorative hardware and flooring, into the former ACI Design Studio space at the Domestic Laundry building. She was close to signing a lease when the building sale suddenly came about.

“We had been talking about it since the moment they decided they were closing down next door,” Haines says. “We are so crammed on top of ourselves.”

Like King, Haines is taking a positive approach, though.

“I said, ‘Well, I’ll probably save myself $5,000 a month,’” she says. “It’s probably not a bad thing in the long run.”

Designers Expo opened in 2005 and moved to 1409 E. Douglas in late 2006. Haines says business is great.

“We never had a recession,” she says. “The niche market was definitely the place to be when the housing market fell apart.”

Now that the store isn’t expanding, Haines says it may be time to reorganize to gain some more space. She says that will be a challenge, though.

“We’re always busy,” she says, adding, “and that’s not a bad thing either.”

Janelle King on the hunt for new Workroom and JK Design space

UPDATED — As the Workroom nears its first anniversary, designer Janelle King is unexpectedly searching for new space.

The Domestic Laundry building, which is at 1425 E. Douglas just east of Old Town, has a new owner who wants her space.

King says that’s not a bad thing on several levels.

“Now we know exactly what to look for in round two,” she says.

For instance, her current 2,400 square feet is not large enough. King says she needs between 2,500 and 3,500 square feet for what she calls home tech textile fabrication, such as custom drapes, pillows and bedding.

Also, she says, “Honestly, despite being on Douglas, we still don’t have the greatest visibility.”

King says she’d like to remain downtown and is eyeing several sites.

“I love the central location as well as just the culture and vibe down here.”

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ACI Design Studio to close

WICHITA — After not quite five years in business, ACI Design Studio is closing.

Former Abode Home manager Brent Dorrah had the idea for Abode Commercial Interiors and convinced Transitions Group owner Bill Jackson to start the company around the time Abode converted to an event center. The upscale furniture store is in Jackson’s Domestic Design Building at 1425 E. Douglas.

“The store’s been improving each year, and as a matter of fact, we’ve had our best year ever this year,” Dorrah says.

However, he says, “We’ve still struggled.”

Dorrah says it’s been a challenging period in the industry, and Internet sales are now more popular than ever.

“We’ve just struggled to kind of get towards profitability basically each year,” he says. “I don’t think there’s any one reason.”

Dorrah says “that’s the sad reason” behind the closure. There’s a happier reason, though.

Transitions Group also owns Furniture Options and ExecuStay.

“They’re doing extremely well,” Dorrah says. “They’re experiencing a lot of growth. … Fiscally, it makes more sense for us to focus our energies on those businesses.”

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New 3D-XEnergy to move into Domestic Design Building

WICHITA — Some new energy is coming to the Domestic Design Building in the Douglas Design District.

The new 3D-XEnergy, an oil and gas exploration company, is taking 2,578 square feet in the 1915 building at 1425 E. Douglas.

“They’re doing a lot of renovation, and a lot of kind of creative companies are in it now,” says partner Andy Kemmer.

Kemmer had been involved with another company, Vanguard Petroleum, before forming this LLC in March.

Geologist Monica Williams is a colleague in 3D-XEnergy.

The unusual name is a reference to the firm’s use of three-dimensional seismic technology in exploration.

Craig Ablah of Classic Real Estate and Marty Gilchrist and Randy Johnston of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal for the space.

Brent Dorrah of neighboring ACI Design Studio is redesigning the space, which should be ready by early September at the latest.

Kemmer says he’s been in the oil business for more than 35 years.

“We all tend to put partnerships together with other oil guys,” he says.

Kemmer says he likes the idea of being with creative companies in the building, such as ACI, Greteman Group and the Workroom. He calls it a “comfortable” surrounding.

“It’s good people.”

Roots & Bloom to close on Tuesday

WICHITA — This time last year, Roots & Bloom owner Chris Coburn restructured his business by expanding to showcase other businesses within a collective at his downtown shop at 151 S. Laura.

Now, he’s closing the business on Tuesday.

In July, Coburn took a job in sales at Doonan Truck & Equipment of Wichita.

“The offer … turned my head,” he says.

It was too much to do that and run his company, though.

“Trying to ride two ponies isn’t working too well,” Coburn says.

Two years ago, Coburn created Roots & Bloom out of Wichita Wholesale Florists to attract retail customers in addition to the floral shops the company sold to for decades.

Last year he invited other businesses to have a presence at Roots & Bloom, including ACI Design Studio, Overhead Door, Hong’s Landscape & Nursery and the OnionTree.

OnionTree owner Bridgit Yinger last month told Coburn she decided to leave.

“That was part of the catalyst that started this conversation,” he says.

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Roots & Bloom becomes a collective of sorts by inviting four other businesses to have a presence at the store

WICHITA — Chris Coburn is once again reconfiguring his business, this time with a little help from his friends.

Last year, Coburn created Roots & Bloom out of Wichita Wholesale Florists to attract retail customers in addition to the floral shops the company sold to for decades.

Now, he’s expanding to showcase other businesses within his downtown shop at 151 S. Laura.

“This little collective is kind of a cool way of doing business, and I don’t think it’s practiced very much in our area,” Coburn says.

Initially, four businesses will have a presence at Roots & Bloom: ACI Design Studio, Overhead Door, Hong’s Landscape & Nursery and the OnionTree.

“I had some space that was kind of fallow as far as I was concerned,” Coburn says. “I thought that maybe they would have a nice home at my spot.”

Each business will have a sign out front, but Coburn says that “cumulatively, that will be the umbrella basically of Roots and Blooms.”

Previously, the OnionTree had its own space near Douglas and Hillside.

“I wasn’t ready to reopen yet,” owner Bridgit Yinger says. “He just gave me a really sweet deal.”

She’s still in the process of moving the local artwork she sells into the shop.

“It’s a cool, cool setup,” Yinger says.

She says her artists still will have an outlet, but “I don’t have to physically be here running it anymore.”

“It’s perfect for me.”

Yinger likes that Coburn has invited the other businesses as well.

“He’s got a lot of really good ideas.”

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