Pat Ayars, co-founder of Oxford Senior Living, dies of complications from cancer

Pat Ayars

Pat Ayars

WICHITA — Longtime Wichita businessman Pat Ayars died Wednesday morning following complications from cancer.

“He was an eternal optimist, so regardless of how awful he might have felt, he put a smile on his face,” said Coryanne Graham, marketing and brand manager at Oxford Senior Living, which Ayars co-founded in 2010.

“This is something that Pat has been dealing with for a number of months and had no reason to believe it wasn’t going to come to a good conclusion,” Graham said.

“He’d say … ‘I’m going to get better. We’re going to do this. We’re going to do that.’”

Ayars, who would have turned 56 on Friday, was Oxford’s president.

“In recent months, Pat had positioned the company to transition his responsibilities so that his vision for Oxford would continue long after he was gone,” chief operating officer Jason Wiley said in a statement.

“He ensured this company would never hinge on just one person, but no one could ever fill his shoes fully. Pat was a tremendous motivator and visionary.”

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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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RelianzBank expands to basement

WICHITA — Six-year-old RelianzBank is growing and needs more space.

“We toyed with the idea of building a branch out east,” says president and CEO David Harris.

Instead, for now the bank will expand into its basement at 2327 N. Ridge Road.

Hutton Construction is starting work Monday. Harris wanted to have a groundbreaking to celebrate.

“Well, how do you have a groundbreaking when you’re just doing your basement?” he says.

So he threw a basement barbecue instead and gave employees chalk to decorate the walls with pictures of each other.

“A couple of people said, ‘Well, we’ve never done this in banking before,’” Harris says.

“We like to have fun over here.”