You don’t say

“These walls hold lots of secrets what is just one more?”

– The Candle Club’s Julie Fitzthum joking in a weekly e-mail to members about stopping in for a three-martini lunch

NAI Martens begins handling management, leasing at Prairie Village Shopping Center

WICHITA — For only the second time in its almost 50-year history, the family that owns Prairie Village Shopping Center has hired a new company to handle management and leasing.

The center, which is at the southwest corner of 13th and Woodlawn, was built in 1964.

“It’s an iconic shopping center for the people who have lived in Wichita,” says Elyssa Seymour, a broker with NAI Martens who is handling leasing.

“It’s a high-traffic center,” she says.

Dillons anchors the center, which is also home to the Candle Club. Kwik Shop opened there earlier this year.

“They’re getting a ton of traffic,” Seymour says. “That’s going to really help draw in visibility and draw in people to the location.”

There are five spaces, or a little more than 12,000 square feet, for lease at the 85,623-square-foot center.

Seymour says there are a lot of houses in the area, and the center is more of a neighborhood market than a destination area.

“The rates will be more competitive,” she says.

Seymour says some updates should be coming to the center, such as remodeling the facade, “just to get it more in line with the market.”

For now, she says, “We just need to put it … back in the front of people’s minds.”

Wink Hartman Sr. to open private Lake Side Club in former Bella Donna space

UPDATED — Wink Hartman Sr. has decided on plans for his former Bella Donna restaurant space.

In July, Hartman told Have You Heard? he was working on a new concept for the space, which sits back from Webb Road just south of 21st Street.

He’s opening the Lake Side Club, a $20-a-month private club that will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Sort of like the long-standing Candle Club near 13th and Woodlawn?

“Well, I don’t like to look at it that way,” Hartman says.

“It’s a country club atmosphere that doesn’t include a pool, tennis or golf.”

Why do it?

“Because I own a building. I need to put it into productivity.”

Why private, though?

“There’s such a need for people in the midrange, say, 35, 45, those types of people.”

Hartman says people in that age group may be married couples who don’t have the time or money for golfing at a country club.

“But they would still like to have an environment where they’re somewhat exclusive, where they’ll see their friends.”

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DiTullio’s Piano Bar to open at the Waterfront

WICHITA — Jan Colvin has closed her Fairchild Interiors and Design at the Waterfront, but since she still has three years left on her lease, she’s now planning a new business there.

“You’re going to just die when I tell you what we’re up to,” Colvin says.

“We’re opening up a piano bar in that space.”

Details aren’t firm yet, but Colvin and her husband, Bob, are creating a venue that will be home to singer Steve DiTullio and naming it for him.

DiTullio’s Piano Bar will open in 2,100 square feet of the main floor of Colvin’s former shop.

The Colvins conceived the idea with DiTullio one night at the Candle Club.

“I said, ‘Oh, geez, I would love to do something like this,’ ” Jan Colvin says.

She says she’d originally planned to sublease her space but likes this idea better.

“When you get done at dinner at a lot of these places out east, what do you do afterwards?” Colvin says.

She thinks Wichita could use more live music — especially DiTullio’s kind.

“He sounds like Frank Sinatra,” Colvin says. “He’s a crooner.”

Other musicians will play the venue as well.

Colvin thinks it will help other businesses at the Waterfront.

“I think it will activate window shopping.”

Although she’s still finalizing a lot of the plans, Colvin expects to be open before the holidays.

“This looks like it’s a go.”

John Browns in Clifton Square has closed, at least for now

John Fitzthum has closed — at least for now — his John Browns in Clifton Square.

“We’re going to take a break,” Fitzthum says. “We’re going to restrategize.”

Fitzthum opened in November in the former Clifton Wine and Jazz space.

“I think there needs to be some reconsideration of the hours. There needs to be some reconsideration of the menu,” he says. “You know, the late-night food in Wichita doesn’t work, in my opinion, which surprises me. I guess people prefer Village Inn.”

Fitzthum is going to try to make a decision by next week about either keeping John Browns or doing something new.

Regardless of what happens there, Fitzthum is going to go work for his brother-in-law, Louis Thompson, at the Candle Club. Fitzthum will be general manager.

“We’re going to be one big family over at the Candle Club.”


Kansas Dance Academy owners are new operators of Crown Uptown Theatre

Ray and Diane Gans (left) and Matthew Rumsey are the new operators of the Crown Uptown Theatre.

WICHITA — Ray and Diane Gans, who have owned the Kansas Dance Academy for 26 years, are the new owners and operators of the Crown Uptown Theatre.

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that an undisclosed group made an offer to Karen Morris, who for 31 years ran the theater near Douglas and Hillside with her late husband, Ted.

“We’ve just kind of always been involved in the theater,” says Diane Gans, who will be the artistic consultant.

Ray Gans, who will be director of operations, has a band called Oncall and is the son of Jeannie Park Gans, who had been with Phil Spitalny and His All-Girl Orchestra in New York City in the 1940s.

Gans and his siblings sang professionally with their mother while growing up.

“We were the von Trapps of Wichita,” he says.

Jeannie Park Gans and her brother, Robert C. Park, are partners with Ray and Diane Gans in the Crown Uptown along with Scott and Lisa Ritchie.

“They’re just big supporters of the arts and want this to continue on with the Crown,” Ray Gans says.

The group is operating as Crown Partners.

Matthew Rumsey, an actor and former manager with Melad Stephan’s Empire Restaurant Management, is the executive artistic director and the food and beverage director.

Brian Mangers, a chef at the Candle Club, also will be the chef for the Crown Uptown.

Their first show is “White Christmas,” which will open Thanksgiving weekend.

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You don’t say

“It’s complicated.”

— The Candle Club’s Louis Thompson, who doesn’t want to talk about possible plans for moving the longtime Wichita institution to the former Bella Donna space or other potential sites

KKRD debuts online today

WICHITA – Matt Johnston enjoyed KKRD, 107.3-FM, as a young adult, and now the 36-year-old owns the new online radio station KKRDonline.com.

Clear Channel Radio used to have the KKRD license.

“They have let it lapse for five years,” Johnston says. “I bought all the domains that were connected to KKRD.”

The station is strictly online and isn’t connected to 107.3 anymore.

“That’s the station that we all listened to as we were growing up,” Johnston says of Wichitans around his age.

He’ll play music from the ’90s and some from today. The station officially debuts at 5 p.m. with a party at Club Fuzion in Old Town.

You can also catch music by Johnston, who often performs at the Candle Club and has Sound Advice, which has 65 karaoke shows a week around the city.