You don’t say

Cheap Sheep’s official comment about opening up next to Chick-Fil-A is ‘Eat More Chicken and count less Sheep at night’.”

– An e-mail from Drew Holmes, who is helping the Mattress Hub with advertising as it prepares to open a store next to the new Chick-fil-A near 21st and Maize

Mattress Hub to open fifth Wichita store

WICHITA — Mattress Hub is continuing its rapid expansion, this time at home.

The Wichita-based company, which Ryan Baty and Mark Barrientos founded in 2008, is going to break ground on its fifth Wichita site this week.

It will be near the southwest corner of 21st and Maize Road, just west of where the new Chick-fil-A is locating.

“We think it’s one of the best real estate positions in the city, and we’re excited to be there,” Baty says.

“Being able to do this at home, being able to go out and still grow in our hometown, that’s what makes this really exciting for us.”

He and Barrientos each live on the west side.

The new store, which will sell Tempur-Pedic, Serta and Simmons mattresses, will have a 6,000-square-foot showroom. It will be similar to the Mattress Hub near Kellogg and Dugan.

“That’s probably it for Wichita,” Baty says.

That’s hardly it for the chain’s expansion elsewhere, though.

There are 21 Mattress Hub stores in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Baty says he and Barrientos are working on five more in the Kansas City area.

Baty says its their Wichita relationships that have enabled their expansion.

“We’ve got some great relationships,” he says.

For instance, he credits David Harris and RelianzBank for a “practically seamless” deal for the latest space.

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You don’t say

“I finally passed by Chic Fil A and there were only a half a dozen cars in the drive. Of course it was Sunday and they were closed.”

– An e-mail from Randy Simon, who owns a Freddy’s and Panera on Rock Road, on the always-crowded new Chick-fil-A at Central and Rock


You don’t say

“Who is in charge of their public relations??? Do they owe each of us more free sandwiches because of this?”

Wichita State University political science professor Kenneth Ciboski, joking on Facebook about a coupon for free food from the new Chick-fil-A in “Witchita”

West-side Chick-fil-A could open by summer

WICHITA — The Chick-fil-A news just keeps getting better for Wichita.

The much-anticipated west-side Chick-fil-A near the southwest corner of 21st and Maize Road could open by late summer.

“That could change with the way construction goes,” says Jason Lansdown, who has been awarded ownership of the restaurant.

Construction may begin today. However, as Chick-fil-A fans here know, the new east-side restaurant at Central and Rock had numerous delays.

Lansdown owns the Chick-fil-A in Topeka, but he’ll let that franchise go to take over the one here. He and his wife, Linda, are Wichita natives.

“We’ve been working for a while to try to come back,” Lansdown says. “We’re excited to be part of it.”

You can follow progress on the west-side Chick-fil-A here.




Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich boosts Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers opening with last meal on the outside

UPDATED — The Chick-fil-A opening at Central and Rock may be huge news here today, but the new Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Littleton, Colo., has unintentionally pulled off the best opening-week publicity stunt.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ate his final meal there before heading for a 14-year prison stay following corruption convictions. Federal Correctional Institution Englewood is a couple of miles from Freddy’s.

“I’m not sure if he had a Chicago dog,” says Freddy’s partner Scott Redler. “That’s the big question.”

Actually, Blagojevich had the patty melt.

There was something of an impromptu press conference with Blagojevich as reporters gathered around him as he dined. Redler says helicopters circled overhead.

It’s not clear if media ate, too.

A number of national media outlets reported where Blagojevich ate or shot pictures of him at the restaurant.

“I hope he has the logo on his Freddy’s cup facing out,” Redler says.

Even Redler is a bit surprised that of all the restaurants where Blagojevich could eat his final meal on the outside, he chose Freddy’s, though he thinks it’s a great testimonial.

It might lead to a new strategy for the Wichita-based chain.

“We think prisons are really our new target market,” Redler says, joking. “Have a last meal at Freddy’s.”





You don’t say

“I thought I was back home. … You just need a couple camels out there.”

– Restaurateur Melad Stephan on how the tents camped at the new Chick-fil-A remind him of his native Lebanon

Hey, what’s going on there . . . ?

UPDATED — There are several pockets of activity that have readers wondering what’s going on. Here’s an update — or, in some cases, a reminder.

– There’s more construction happening near where the new LongHorn Steakhouse has been built in front of the Lowe’s near 29th and Maize, but it’s not for another restaurant or shop.

It’s simply an extra parking lot behind the steak house, which will be opening soon.

– Colorado-based Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage is close to opening in the former Borders Books space at 1715 N. Rock Road.

The grocery will open Nov. 23. The chain’s first Kansas store opened Nov. 11, 2010, in Lawrence.

The store sells organic produce, gluten-free products and offers nutritional education and counseling.

What shoppers won’t find is anything with high-fructose corn syrup, sugar substitutes or hydrogenated oils, among other things, which — as a spokeswoman puts it— makes studying labels a little easier.

Right at Home, which offers in-home care and assistance, has moved just down from where it’s been in the shopping center on the northwest corner of 21st and Ridge.

The business this week moved into the former Ruthie’s Hallmark space, which offers more room.

– Finally, except for Chick-fil-A questions, the most popular question we’ve heard lately is, “What’s that building by the McDonald’s at 21st and Rock?”

Laham Development is building a new retail center at Tallgrass Plaza, which is at the northeast corner of 21st and Rock Road where a BP filling station used to be.

Vitamin Shoppe is the first announced tenant for the 6,200-square-foot center. Look for an announcement on the second tenant soon.

Chick-fil-A coming to the west side near the southwest corner of 21st and Maize Road

WICHITA — This is the moment west-side Chick-fil-A fans have been waiting for.

Yes, the restaurant is coming to your area.

Landmark Commercial Real Estate’s Brad Saville, who handled the deal, says the Atlanta-based chain has signed a contract for a freestanding site with a drive-through near the southwest corner of 21st and Maize Road.

“I’m expecting them to be very well received,” Saville says in what is likely an extreme understatement.

Chick-fil-A devotees have been eagerly awaiting west-side news since before the chain confirmed in February that it’s coming to the east side at Central and Rock Road.

It looks like that restaurant will open in early 2012 — possibly just a couple of weeks into January.

There’s also a small Chick-fil-A at Wichita State University.

This spring, developer NW Centre LLC purchased the 3-acre property near 21st and Maize Road where the former New Medical Health Care building is. That’s just west of Bank of the West.

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Observant readers ask some smart questions about area properties

WICHITA — Observant readers have noticed some activity at a couple of vacant buildings and are wondering what’s up.

Sadly, not much.

There was a promising-looking construction trailer in front of the former Rose Bowl West at 520 N. West St. recently, but a deal for a new tenant fell through.

On the east side, there’s been some activity at the former Sportsman’s Warehouse building at One Kellogg Place.

There’s a Halloween shop that will be opening there, but only temporarily.

Another reader was doing some checking into Chick-fil-A and whether it really is bringing a freestanding restaurant to Central and Rock in addition to the small Chick-fil-A at Wichita State University.

Chick-fil-A has confirmed it for Have You Heard?, as have the property owners, but apparently no one has told the customer service folks at the restaurant chain.

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