You don’t say

“I’m taking the new follow I’ve received from @Cheesecake as a “Yes, we are coming to Wichita, the 49th-largest US city.” #ICT”

– A tweet from Derby resident Vaughn Fry (@VaughnFry) on his hope for a Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake Factory likely not opening here, despite what employee says

WICHITA — Before you read any further, a warning: Do not get too excited.

That said, a Wichitan visited the Cheesecake Factory in Kansas City the other day and was told by an employee that one would be coming here in 2015.

The employee didn’t know a specific site – only possibilities.

It sounds like that most likely is not correct, though.

“The Restaurant Development team is always on the look-out for A-1 sites to further grow our Cheesecake Factory brand presence, and all sites that fit our criteria for success will be seriously considered,” Cheesecake Factory spokeswoman Alethea Rowe said in an e-mail statement, which is a standard statement the company makes.

The California-based restaurant chain has 169 restaurants, according to its website, and has about a dozen more planned this year.

The chain lets brokers know it needs to have a population of 250,000 within five miles of its restaurants, and household incomes need to be $70,000 or higher.

Wichita is close on the incomes at 21st and North Rock Road, but the population is about 150,000 people short.

In other words, don’t get your hopes up.

You don’t say

“It’s a sad day because Wichitans have nowhere to celebrate it. Don’t you think?”

– An e-mail from Stephen Clark II, who helped land Whole Foods, about National Cheesecake Day Monday (yes, he’s working on getting Cheesecake Factory, too, but calls it a long shot)

Costco may be close to a Wichita deal

WICHITA — Wichita, you just may get your wish for a Costco — maybe even relatively soon — though how close the company is to a deal depends on who you talk to.

The Issaquah, Wash.-based chain, which sells bulk items similar to Sam’s Club stores, has been eyeing Wichita again.

“I came to the market to look at the market on a macro basis,” says co-founder and executive chairman Jeff Brotman. “I didn’t like anything I saw.”

Brotman says that “without disclosing our deepest, darkest secrets,” he can say that the locations he looked at didn’t fit with the way the market moves, meaning its natural trade areas.

“I have a mild interest,” Brotman says. “I’m interested in everything, right? . . . It’s just hard to focus on things that aren’t burning priorities.”

That’s not how others tell it. According to them, Costco is close enough to a deal that a 2013 opening isn’t out of the question.

Even Brotman says, “Let’s just assume it was true: I wouldn’t tell you about it. Even after we get a property under control, we don’t talk about it until after we have permits.”

In summer 2010, The Eagle conducted a poll of what businesses Wichitans would like to have in the city.

Costco narrowly lost the top choice to Cheesecake Factory.

“I was a little disappointed that we came in second,” Costco co-founder and then-CEO Jim Sinegal joked at the time. “I’ve got to be prepared to deal with these little disappointments in life.”

Costco has previously been close to at least one other deal here, and Sinegal said a finalized deal is simply a matter of the company giving Wichita some attention.

“Meaning . . . we get off our butts and go take a look,” he said. “At any point and time, we probably have 100 different sites we’re looking at.”

Sources say several sites have been under consideration over the last six months or so.

Read More »

Yogurt Xplosion to open on North Rock Road May 4

WICHITA — Orange Leaf Self Serve Frozen Yogurt has inspired Amber Dunn to open her own yogurt place, Yogurt Xplosion, which opens May 4 near Buffalo Wild Wings on North Rock Road.

“About a year ago, I was in Norman (Okla.), and I saw a few self-serve frozen yogurt companies and thought, hey, I want to do this,” Dunn says.

The Orange Leaf franchise wasn’t available here, but that may have been fortuitous.

“I’m super excited about how many toppings I’m going to have,” Dunn says. “It’s definitely going to be the most toppings of any place in town, I can tell you that.”

She’ll have 16 flavors of yogurt and more than 40 toppings.

“The biggest difference really is I’m going to offer cupcakes direct from the Cheesecake Factory,” Dunn says.

She’ll also have cookies and offer waffle cones for the yogurt.

“That’s kind of something a little different, too.”

Dunn’s father, former Emerson Biggin’s owner Dave Dunn, has helped some. Amber Dunn says the venture is all hers, though.

“I’m just all of 21 years old, so this is the first of many ventures, hopefully,” she says. “I see myself franchising this company out and just shooting for the stars.”

What businesses do you want in Wichita? We’d like to know . . .

WICHITA — There are two business questions readers seem to ask more than any others.

When is Wichita getting a Cheesecake Factory?

Why don’t we have a Costco?

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods make popular topics as well.

Why aren’t they here? Are they coming?

Same with Pottery Barn. Steak ‘n Shake. Crate & Barrel. Joe’s Crab Shack. Bass Pro. Macy’s. IKEA. Whataburger.

The list goes on.

We’d like to know what’s on your list. Is there a restaurant or retail business you’d love to have here and wonder if there’s a chance it will come?

Let us know at whatwewant@wichitaeagle.com, and we’ll try and find out.

We’ll be printing what we learn in a couple of weeks.

With any luck, perhaps we can convince a few favorites that Wichita could indeed support them.