Balls-n-Strikes coming to Derby

WICHITA — Another new Balls-n-Strikes indoor baseball and softball practice facility is coming to the greater Wichita area, this time in Derby.

Mike Gehrer already has franchises in Bel Aire and Goddard. He and Kelly Klima, who will own 70 percent of the business, are opening another Balls-n-Strikes at 1728 Nelson Drive in Derby next to Atwoods.

Klima says he’s thrilled to be working with Gehrer.

“He has coached my son for a couple of years now,” Klima says. “He’s just a brilliant guy.”

The two expect to break ground on the 10,000-square-foot facility in March. Klima expects it will take about five months to build.

The Derby City Council recently approved the site plan.

“Having an indoor practice facility benefits for a lot of reasons,” Klima says.

Even though a lot of teams start their seasons in March, he says, it’s difficult for them to practice in the cold months before then.

“This creates a lot of practice time for the kids … who are trying to get ready for their season.”

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Construction set to begin on Panera Bread, Olive Garden and Papa Murphy’s at Derby Marketplace

WICHITA — It was back in January that Have You Heard? first reported that Panera Bread franchisee Randy Simon was in negotiations to open a Panera in front of the Dillons Marketplace at Derby Marketplace at 71st and Rock Road.

The Derby City Council approved the deal last week, and construction is set to begin.

Simon plans a fall opening for the restaurant, which will have a drive-through. This is the 32nd cafe for his Original Bread and the first to feature a drive-through.

Later this month, Simon says he plans to finalize a deal in Sedalia, Mo., for another Panera with a drive-through. That’s also where a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchisee plans a Freddy’s next door.

The Panera that opened earlier this year on Ridge Road next to the Freddy’s that Simon co-owns had the highest volume opening of all of Simon’s Wichita Paneras.

Back in Derby, there are a couple of other new restaurants that will open near the new Panera.

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