Local Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchisees to open Rita’s Italian Ice

WICHITA — It may be hard to believe that anyone could still be hungry after a Five Guys Burgers and Fries meal, but franchisee Jeff Miller says the biggest question he and his brother, Jay, hear at their restaurants is, “Do you have dessert?”

The answer has been, “No,” until now.

“We’ve been looking for a way to satisfy that demand for a while,” Jeff Miller says.

The Millers have signed a development deal to bring Rita’s Italian Ice to Kansas.

“This product is amazing,” Miller says. Wichitans “are just going to be so thrilled.”

Each Rita’s will be its own business but done in tandem with Five Guys.

“It’s a little complicated,” Miller says.

For the first Rita’s, he says they’ll steal a small amount of space from the Five Guys restaurant in Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road. They’ll also use space next door that they’d previously planned to keep for training.

“We just haven’t utilized it the way we like,” Miller says.

Jay Miller used to live in Philadelphia where Rita’s is based.

Jeff Miller says he can picture people in the Midwest who are unfamiliar with Italian ice saying, “Aww, it’s just a fancy slushy.”

He says the ice is “so much more than that.”

“It has a texture to it that’s almost creamy,” Miller says. “You’re going to find it hard to believe.”

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Rylee & Reece Kids Boutique and Party Place moving to Maple and Ridge Road

WICHITA — Rylee & Reece Kids Boutique and Party Place is moving – again.

When Tiffany Garner and her mother, Lynette, bought the children’s shop in early 2011, they moved it from Comotara Center on the east side to NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road.

Now, they’re moving to the center at the northeast corner of Maple and Ridge Road.

“We have found a bigger space,” Tiffany Garner says. “We’re able to lower our overhead. It’s just going to give us a bigger opportunity for the store.”

They now have about 2,000 square feet. The new space will have an additional 400 square feet.

“The party room is a little bit more separate,” Garner says.

About 60 percent of their business is through the party room. There will be additional themes for parties at the new space.

Garner says the party-room business has doubled from what it was on the east side.

She says the “west side loves us.”

“We’ve got a huge response from the west side.”

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Ben Arnold behind on taxes but says it’s not nearly as much as the IRS claims he owes

WICHITA — After taking care of some tax trouble he had with Corporate Caterers of Wichita a few years back, Ben Arnold hoped to never be behind again. He is, though, and he’s as forthright as ever about it.

“I do owe taxes,” Arnold says. However, he says he doesn’t owe anywhere close to the approximately $250,000 the IRS says he owes.

“If I did, I would be in Mexico right now. That would just be an obnoxious amount you would have to owe for a period that covers 12 months.”

Arnold believes he owes only about a third of what the government says he owes. The issue, he says, is the IRS says it didn’t receive documentation from him.

“They assess a tax if they don’t have documentation in front of them,” he says.

Arnold says his accountant had sent proper documents and that he personally has now sent them a second time.

“That’s why I’m really, really frustrated.”

Arnold rapidly expanded his BLA Enterprises with catering at Comotara Center and two corporate cafes, Cafe 151 at Cargill and Cafe Intrust at Intrust Bank. He also owns AVI Seabar & Chophouse, which he opened late last year in the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview.

“When I started this expansion, most of (the businesses) worked. A couple did not,” Arnold says. “We hit a very large pothole, and we’re filling it in.”

The largest pothole is AVI.

Arnold says in AVI’s first two months of business in 2011, it lost $75,000.

He says it was like “if you just popped a balloon, everything fell out.”

By August, Arnold says losses were down to $1,900.

He says September and October were profitable, and he believes AVI can be an almost $1 million-a-year business.

“We’ve grown to like it.”

Arnold says he now owes less than $16,000 on the business’ taxes.

He says another issue is the unprofitable banquet facilities he has in 9,000 square feet at Comotara.

“That’s one part of the business I’ve got to do something with. … I love my location, and I don’t want to leave it.”

Arnold says his catering is doing well and is on track to gross between $3.2 million and $3.3 million this year.

He says the cafes also “are extremely healthy.”

Arnold says it’s a “long, drawn-out process” getting tax discrepancies corrected, and while he’s frustrated, he’s not fazed despite the fact that he and his wife have used personal savings to cover some debt and have paid themselves almost nothing throughout the year.

“No one plans to fail,” Arnold says. “Any small business has struggles. You do what you’re supposed to do. … I don’t see this as a huge obstacle for me to overcome.”

Sister Moses owner Linda Burton has two new sister businesses: Traveling Sister and Calamity Jane’s Resale

UPDATED — Sister Moses is no longer an only child.

Linda Burton, who owns the shop at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road, now has two sister companies –  literally and figuratively.

In July, she started Traveling Sister, which is something of a traveling boutique where she can sell clothing and accessories in people’s homes and at events.

Next month, Burton is opening Calamity Jane’s Resale in Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.

So much new business at once is creating some chaos in Burton’s world.

“It’s so bad, one of the girls is working out of the bathroom,” she says, laughing.

Burton says Traveling Sister has already gone as far as Texas, where Sister Moses has a lot of online customers.

“This weekend in Leavenworth, it was insane,” Burton says.

The events are parties of at least about 20 women, who can sip wine and shop in a friend’s home or at an event.

“It’s networking, and it’s finding out about more places that we can go to,” Burton says. “The great thing about it is it’s 20 girls that are being waited on.”

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Juni’s Cafe opens at Comotara Center

WICHITA — It’s almost half a year after she hoped to be in business, but Jeniffer Kang opened her Juni’s Cafe at Comotara Center near 29th and Rock Road today.

The Korean restaurant will serve lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and Kang says she’s open to hosting private parties on Sundays as well.

She plans a grand opening for Sept. 4.

You don’t say

“Getting pretty crazy.”

– How Jeniffer Kang describes the last-minute activity before the early August debut of her Juni’s Cafe, a Korean restaurant opening in Comotara Center

Beau Monde Spa and Boutique to expand at Comotara Center

WICHITA — Michele Wheeler began contemplating expanding her Beau Monde Spa and Boutique at Comotara Center more than a year ago.

With the entry of six new national competitors in the market, though, she figured she better wait before she made the investment.

She’s not waiting anymore.

“I just decided that it was the right time,” Wheeler says.

She’s adding 2,000 more square feet to her almost 6,000-square-foot space at the center at 29th and Rock Road. That’s where Eccentricity was before moving to part of the former Olive Tree Bistro space.

“I knew we had a great clientele,” Wheeler says.

Still, it was daunting when a new Sephora opened at Bradley Fair and two more opened within JC Penney stores. There also are two new Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance stores, which are at NewMarket Square and Eastgate Plaza, and a Bare Escentuals at Towne East Square.

“I had to wait kind of wait and see what was going to happen,” Wheeler says. “We just had to stay true to our game and let everybody go check it out.”

She thinks Beau Monde has continued to do well in part because customers have “gotten behind that ‘shop local.’”

Also, she says, “It’s a little more personal attention when you come in here.”

In addition to the spa, Beau Monde offers makeup and skincare products.

Wheeler was prompted to finally take the extra space for a couple of reasons.

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Juni’s Cafe to open at Comotara Center

WICHITA — Once stay-at-home mom Jeniffer Kang realized she can’t follow her daughter, Esther Cho, to college this fall as she would like, she decided she needed to find something new to do.

“I don’t know how I’m going to survive without her,” Kang says. “I need some kind of life.”

So she’s opening Juni’s Cafe, a Korean restaurant in 1,100 square feet next to Tan Lines at Comotara Center near 29th and Rock Road.

Kang is naming the restaurant after her only other child, Wonjoon Cho, who is 12.

The restaurant will seat only 20, but that works with Kang’s concept.

“I want people to think about (it) as a home,” she says.

Kang, who is a South Korea native, will serve traditional Korean cuisine.

“It’s not the fusion, like adapting to Americans,” she says.

Kang says a lot of the food is on the healthy side and is made with very little oil. She hopes that appeals to diners as well.

Kerry Dunn of Re/Max Superior Realtors and Debbie McNeal of RP Realty Partners handled the lease for the restaurant.

Juni’s will serve lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and Kang says she’s open to hosting private parties on Sundays as well.

Look for Juni’s to open in early April.

Caterer and restaurateur Ben Arnold adds another cafe to his menu

WICHITA — Apparently a catering business, five hotel and military base banquet operations, two cafes and a restaurant aren’t quite enough to keep Ben Arnold busy.

So, as of Monday, he’s adding another cafe to the lineup.

Arnold will now operate Intrust Cafe at the Intrust Bank building downtown. It’s a private cafe that mostly serves bank employees along with some tenants in the building.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot cafe is a bit bigger than Cafe 151, which Arnold runs at the Cargill building downtown. That’s open to the public, as is Cafe Comotara, which Arnold has at Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road.

“I won’t put any kids through college with the money I make off of these cafes,” he says. “It’s all about the partnership of just two great organizations that are based here in Wichita.”

There are many more partnership opportunities he receives, Arnold says.

“I get approached constantly.”

Arnold says he tries to be strategic about which deals he accepts. He thinks the Intrust Bank connection potentially can lead to more catering for his Corporate Caterers of Wichita.

Isn’t it all a bit much, especially since his new A.V.I. Seabar & Chophouse at the Drury Plaza Broadview just opened Monday?

“No, not at all,” Arnold says. “You surround yourself with great people, and you can do anything.”

Eccentricity to move this week and change names to Sister Moses

WICHITA — More than a year ago, Eccentricity owner Linda Burton planned to move within Comotara Center at 29th and Rock Road to the former Olive Tree Bistro space.

Thursday, she’s finally doing it.

“It’s been a long process, but we’re here,” she says.

Along with the expansion into 3,800 square feet, Burton is changing the name of the eclectic shop — it sells women’s clothing, home furnishings and bath products — to Sister Moses.

That’s also the name of a new line of clothing she’s created.

“We’re going to have it exclusively for this store right now,” Burton says.

Her plan is to eventually sell it at other shops as well.

Burton chose the Sister Moses name for a couple of reasons.

First, she calls just about everyone who walks in her shop “sister.”

“I’m always like, ‘Hey, sister, how ya doin’?’ ”

Burton also identifies with Moses, as in the Ten Commandments Moses.

“He was a numbers man. Think about it,” she says. “That would be me.”

Eccentricity also was a tricky name for people, Burton says.

“It was a big mouthful to say. No one ever pronounced it right.”

Burton has changed the name of her shop once before. When she opened 20 years ago, she called it Cricket & Co.

She’s not afraid to change the name again.

“Everybody asks me that,” Burton says.

She’s just thrilled to be in her new space, regardless of the name.

“It’s good. It’s all good.”