Shorty Small’s has closed, but there’s a chance it could open in Wichita again

UPDATED — Shorty Small’s last day in business in Wichita was Feb. 24.

“Yesterday was a very emotional, very hard day,” says Cindy Harsha, vice president of the Oklahoma City-based company.

“I just can’t begin to tell you how emotional and hard it was.”

The restaurant opened more than seven years ago on the southwest corner of 119th and Maple in the Westlake shopping center.

“We opened to some really great numbers,” Harsha says. “Then, after about a year or so, things were dwindling.”

The restaurant initially was a fast-casual concept, but Harsha says the neighborhood wanted something more, so the chain remodeled into a full-service restaurant.

She says diners “really had a lovely reaction to that.”

Sales didn’t remain strong, though.

“Wichita seems to have suffered some economic hardships,” Harsha says. “We’re not the only ones the economy has been mean to.”

Road construction in the area didn’t help either, she says.

Another retooling of the restaurant last year also helped, though.

“We did have a nice little bounce back of sales this last spring,” Harsha says. “It seemed like a curtain fell down this summer.”

She blames a combination of gas prices and Boeing’s planned departure from the city followed by the Bombardier Learjet Machinists strike in the fall.

“It just was pretty devastating to sales.”

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Mickey’s Yogurt to open on Andover Road

WICHITA — Shawn and Mandy Berkley, with help from their three small children, are opening Mickey’s Yogurt in Andover later this year.

They’re modeling the business, which is named after Mandy Berkley’s stepfather, on her mom and stepfather’s Fresno, Calif.-area shop of the same name.

“The biggest appeal, besides it being tasty, is it’s just a fun atmosphere,” says Shawn Berkley, who is a designer at Bombardier Learjet.

“Everybody goes in there happy and excited. It’s a special treat.” Berkley says the positive customer relations “makes for a fun place to be.”

The shop will open in early November at 626 N. Andover Road. That may not seem like the best time to open a yogurt business, but Berkley says, “The health benefits of yogurt versus ice cream makes it a much healthier alternative regardless of season.”

Mickey’s will offer 12 flavors, about 40 toppings and syrups. There also will be hot chocolate and cappuccino.

Mandy Berkley, who is a part-time massage therapist, will run the store most days.

Calvin Klaassen of Utter Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

The Berkleys’ children – Trenton, 8, Carter, 6, and Savannah, 5 – are particularly excited about Mickey’s.

“They’re all for more free yogurt,” Shawn Berkley says.

He says his kids have been helping sample a lot of yogurt.

“They’re happy to partake in our market research.”

You don’t say

“I get tired of getting my picture taken with hard hats, hair nets and goggles.”

– U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s joking response when asked why he wasn’t wearing a hard hat at Bombardier Learjet’s groundbreaking ceremony today

National Geographic Channel shoots making of a Learjet for its “Megafactories” show

WICHITA — The National Geographic Channel is in Wichita shooting at Bombardier Learjet for its “Megafactories” show.

“Megafactories lifts the lid on how millions of your everyday products and iconic designs begin life on the assembly line,” according to the show’s website.

When the show contacted Bombardier Learjet, it wasn’t a difficult decision, says manager of communications Peggy Gross.

“It will be a story of basically how does a Learjet get built?” she says.

Gross calls it “great exposure” for the company, so there was “absolutely no hesitation about doing this.”

A crew has been here two weeks and will wrap shooting on Friday.

The show will follow the making of one customer’s plane. Since it normally takes months to built a Learjet, some of the steps in the process will feature similar planes instead of that customer’s plane.

Gross says one of the most thrilling moments of shooting came when she accompanied the crew in a plane that flew in formation with the customer’s plane on a test flight.

“That was fabulous.”

She says National Geographic crew members have remarked how nice and helpful everyone at the plant has been.

“Everybody has done their best to support them,” she says.

The show will air in early 2012. We’ll let you know the show time as soon as it’s scheduled.

You don’t say

“I can get to DC in 2½ hours versus 6 or 12 or never.”

Bombardier Learjet vice president and general manager David Coleal, speaking at an export conference at the Hyatt Regency Wichita today on the virtues of flying corporate jets over commercial airlines

You don’t say

“It wasn’t about, ‘I’m a movie star.’ It’s about I’m a part of this heritage and what it means to them to just be involved in aviation.”

Greteman Group’s Ashley Bowen Cook on attending the Living Legends of Aviation event (agency client Bombardier Learjet was the presenting sponsor) last week in California with actors and aviation buffs such as Kurt Russell, Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman and John Travolta