Gorges Motor Co. used cars now at the Gorges & Co. Volvo lot

WICHITA — If you’ve visited the Gorges & Co. Volvo dealership near K-96 and Webb Road in the past few days and thought it looks a little more full than normal, it’s not your imagination.

Scott Gorges says he’s moved all of the used cars from Gorges Motor Co. at 2648 S. Oliver to the Volvo lot.

“We just decided that the time had come to make the transition (and) close our South Oliver store,” he says.

“It just made sense. The neighborhood’s been changing down there a long time.”

Gorges says there are fewer and fewer retail outlets in what had once been a bustling area.

“We felt like we just wanted to focus on our Volvo store and focus on growing out here,” he says. “It just became so much better out here.”

His grandfather, Fred, founded the Volvo franchise in 1957 at 1958 N. Broadway. He opened a used-car lot on South Oliver three years later.

“We’ve always been a big used-car dealer,” Scott Gorges says. “We’re going to continue to sell all makes and models.”

Gorges says his father, Mark, always knew he wanted to be in a growing part of Wichita.

“My dad bought this property out here,” Gorges says of the North Webb dealership, which opened in 1997.

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King’s Family Sale & Resale furniture store to close after 60 years, but the date isn’t set

WICHITA — Sixty years after opening his King’s Family Sale & Resale furniture shop at Harry and Hillside, Tony King is preparing to close it.

Whether that’s in three weeks or sometime in the new year, he hasn’t decided.

King is selling his land at the southwest corner of the intersection to CVS, which is putting a pharmacy there.

Don Ablah and his son, Christian, of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

It looks like King may be leaning toward staying open until CVS starts construction.

“The answer’s probably yes — if I can last that long,” says the 92-year-old, laughing.

As a third generation builder, King says he probably shouldn’t have ventured into furniture sales.

“I probably never should have gotten into a retail store,” he says. “Not my specialty.”

He says he opened it “to give my wife a job.”

Pat King had been a teacher.

“I made her into a furniture sales lady,” Tony King says. “I had to learn the business the hard way.”

At the time they opened the store, it was in the corner of the strip center at the intersection.

They briefly closed the store when Pat King became ill about a decade ago. When Tony King reopened it about a year later, it was in the building behind the former store, where it’s been since.

Habitat For Humanity ReStore is now in the corner space but is moving out within the month to its new home in the Plaza West shopping center at Central and West.

“I may be back in the corner again,” King says.

He says he can’t lease the Habitat space to anyone else for the short time it’ll be vacant, which is part of the reason he’s considering moving in.

“I don’t particularly want to. I think we do all right right here.”

So why bother?

“Well, we’ve got a lot to sell.”

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Developer confirms CVS coming to Central and Oliver

UPDATED — Developer Christian Ablah now confirms what planning documents showed this summer:

A CVS store is coming to the northeast corner of Central and Oliver. Ablah and his father, Don, of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

CVS representatives have yet to confirm that the Rhode Island-based chain of pharmacies is entering the market, but construction already has begun on one of the stores at the southwest corner of 13th and Maize Road.

A CVS also is coming to the northwest corner of 21st and Amidon.

The same planning documents that show replatting for the store at Central and Oliver also show that one is in the works at the southwest corner of Harry and Hillside.

The former Rossiter liquor store will be torn down to make room for the CVS at Central and Oliver, which will also be on property where a bingo parlor used to be. Ablah says that corner, which he says is one of the main ones in College Hill, has been popular through the years with businesses such as the Tower Theater.

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CVS to open at 21st and Amidon

WICHITA — For a company that so far is not discussing its entry into the market, CVS is awfully busy.

Since February, Have You Heard? has been tracking the activity of the Rhode Island-based chain of pharmacies in Wichita.

The latest deal to be finalized is for a store at the northwest corner of 21st and Amidon.

In July, the company was working on replatting property for possible stores at the southwest corner of Harry and Hillside and the northeast corner of Central and Oliver, according to documents filed with the planning department.

In August, CVS completed a deal for a store at the southwest corner of 13th and Maize Road.

Classic Real Estate’s Christian Ablah and his father, Don, represented CVS in the latest deal and for the store that’s coming to 13th and Maize Road.

Construction should start on the store at 21st and Amidon by the first of the year, and it should open by summer. The CVS at 13th and Maize Road is on a similar schedule but may open first.

CVS to open at 13th and Maize Road

WICHITA — CVS still isn’t talking about its entry into the Wichita market, but it has signed a deal for a store at the southwest corner of 13th and Maize Road.

In an e-mail, CVS director of public relations Mike DeAngelis said, “We have no comment at this time regarding possible store locations in Wichita.”

Nor has the Rhode Island-based chain of pharmacies commented about other sites that Have You Heard? has reported are possibilities.

That includes the southwest corner of Harry and Hillside, the northeast corner of Central and Oliver and the northwest corner of 21st and Amidon.

Classic Real Estate’s Christian Ablah and his father, Don, represented CVS in the 13th and Maize Road deal.

J.P. Weigand & Sons and NAI John T. Arnold Associates represented the property owners.

Construction should start soon. Look for the store to be open within six months.

Palmers Grill near K-96 and Webb Road closes after less than a year in business

WICHITA — After not quite a year in business, Trey Dower has closed his Palmers Grill where Fritz Co. Grille used to be near K-96 and Webb Road.

“It is accurate,” says Don Ablah of Classic Real Estate, who handles leasing at the building.

“He just decided that he needed to not pursue it further,” Ablah says.

The building and the equipment in it are once again for lease. Ablah says the building’s owners are open to selling as well.

Before Dower made the decision to close, two other parties expressed interest in the space. Ablah says those parties aren’t interested in putting a restaurant there.

We’ll let you know what happens.


West-side Box Central to move and add U-Haul rentals

WICHITA — Box Central, the company Clif and Sherilyn Elder started after buying the Love Box factory outlet stores in 2006, is expanding.

The Elders are moving their west-side store from 2,750 square feet at Central and St. Paul to 6,000 square feet at the southwest corner of Douglas and West streets.

“We have added U-Haul to our mix along with packaging and shipping,” Clif Elder says.

There’s another U-Haul outlet near where the Elders will be operating. Clif Elder says a U-Haul district manager explained that that’s a corporate store that uses an answering service.

“The guy said a lot of people don’t like that,” Elder says. “He said they have to wait for a call back.”

The Elders are adding U-Haul rentals to their almost 3,000-square-foot east-side store near Central and Edgemoor as well.

“All we’re going to do here is we may have, like, a truck and a trailer showing that they’re available,” Clif Elder says.

The Elders also are looking at adding climate-controlled storage units at their new west-side space.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Don Ablah of Classic Real Estate handled the deal for the space, which Box Central should be in by no later than the 15th.

Bluebird Arthouse art supply store and studio to open in former Kellogg-Buck Furniture space in Delano

UPDATED — During her pursuit of a master’s degree in fine arts — she graduated from Wichita State University in May — Emily Brookover discovered a business opportunity.

So now she’s going to open Bluebird Arthouse in the former Kellogg-Buck Furniture space at 914 W. Douglas in Delano to sell art supplies and offer an outlet for artists.

“We have a real need for it here,” Brookover says.

When she was in school, she says, “There was no place to go for materials or support or a place to ask questions.”

There are three components to Brookover’s business.

First, the store is an art materials retailer.

“That will be our number one priority,” Brookover says.

She says local craft stores offer only student-grade supplies.

“We’re going to be carrying brands and lines that you can’t get at Michaels and Hobby Lobby.”

Among lines she plans to carry are Golden for acrylic paint and Gamblin for oil paint.

Brookover will offer supplies for a range of disciplines, including drawing, sculpture, ceramics and print-making.

She’ll also rent studio space for artists, and she’ll offer classes and demonstrations.

“I’m not just an art supplier,” Brookover says. “I want to be a place for artists to come and mingle and talk and be inspired.”

She plans to offer classes that aren’t currently available here.

“I’m not interested in competing with our amazing art centers here in town.”

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Sit @ Thai Bistro owner to open a second restaurant near Central and Oliver

WICHITA — Sit @ Thai Bistro owner Nikki Phumsawarng is opening a second restaurant.

Phumsawarng opened her first Wichita restaurant in 2009 on 21st St. near Ridge Road.

Her new restaurant will be in the former Taco Shop space on Central near Oliver.

Phumsawarng says she’s still working on the concept, and the name, but it will be Thai food in a modern decor.

Since there’s a drive-through at the building, she’s considering names like Sit @ Thai Express or Sit @ Thai To Go.

The restaurant will be able to seat about 25 for lunch and dinner.

Phumsawarng also is adding a small patio.

Don Ablah of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

Phumsawarng was inspired to open the new restaurant in part by all the people who travel from the east side to her current restaurant.

Many times, she says, she’s been told, “Hey, you have to open on the east side.”

Phumsawarng also was surprised people would drive across town to eat her food. She thinks that support will help her new venture be successful.

“It should be a good one.”

Palmers Grill to open in former Fritz Co. Grille space near K-96 and Webb Road

WICHITA — The investors who recently purchased the former Fritz Co. Grille space near K-96 and Webb Road have a tenant for the space.

Trey Dower, who has a long history as an Old Chicago manager for several locations, is opening Palmers Grill where Fritz used to be.

“It’s pretty much ready to go,” he says of the space.

He’s painted quite a bit, but he’s not doing too much else right now.

“It’s like buying an older house. When you start tearing into things, you find more than you want,” Dower says. “We’re really going to kind of live with it before we make further changes.”

The restaurant will serve burgers, sandwiches, steaks, pasta and salad.

Dower is calling it Palmers after “an old family name on my wife’s side.”

Picking a name “was probably the hardest part. It was kind of nuts.”

Picking a location was easier.

“I always liked the building,,” Dower says. “It’s unique for restaurants anymore.”

Don Ablah of Classic Real Estate handled the deal.

Dower likes the layout of the former Fritz space and the two private dining rooms, which seat 40 and 12.

The main dining room seats 100, and the bar seats 50. There are another 32 seats on a patio and a deck.

New neighbor Menards is another factor in Dower’s decision to locate there, as is the road that connects that stretch of businesses to the businesses near Golf Warehouse.

“It was a dead end road before the Menards was built,” Dower says.

Look for the restaurant to open around the end of February.