Lalo’s Express Mexican Food moving to larger space

WICHITA — Almost a decade after opening, Jose Bernal is getting ready to move his Lalo’s Express Mexican Food to expanded space.

The restaurant has about 15 seats now in its space at the northwest corner of Harry and Seneca.

In March, it’s moving to former Taco Tico space at 2051 S. Seneca.

“That’s about four-to-five times bigger,” says Lenny Diaz of Realty Executives of Wichita.

Diaz and Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Diaz says Bernal’s business has been growing for years.

“Oh, my god, yes,” he says. “The demand has been so great, he’s going to have a sit-down restaurant.”

The new restaurant will have about 100 seats and a bar.

The Mexican food Bernal serves is “delicious,” Diaz says. He particularly recommends the Kansas Burrito, which he says is big enough to feed two.

Remodeling is underway, and the new space should be ready in early March, Diaz says.

He says the restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. because Bernal “has business all the time.”

Cycle Gear to open in Wichita

UPDATED — Cycle Gear, which bills itself as the country’s leading retailer for motorcycle accessories and apparel, is coming to Wichita.

The chain is taking 3,100 square feet at 3236 N. Rock Road, which is in the same center as Buffalo Wild Wings.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Nathan Farha of NAI Martens handled the deal.

Cycle Gear, which is employee-owned, has 105 stores in 33 states. It has another Kansas store in Lenexa. According to the store’s website, Cycle Gear tries to be involved with riding in the communities where it has stores, such as sponsoring events.

The almost 40-year-old company also likes to be known for 30-day best-price guarantees and hassle-free helmet exchanges.

Via e-mail, company spokesman Johnny Lin says the company is “very excited” about a Wichita store. Lin says it’s “a very vibrant motorcycle market” with more than 20,000 riders.

Look for the store to open in March.

 

 

Vanderbilts to relocate to Cherry Creek Shopping Center at Harry and Rock Road

WICHITA — Vanderbilts, the western and work wear store, is moving its east-side store to make way for the expansion of Kellogg.

The store has been near the southwest corner of Kellogg and Webb Road for 11 years.

In late January, Vanderbilts will move to the former Hollywood Video space in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center at Harry and Rock Road.

Store manager Debi Adelhardt says Vanderbilts currently is in an approximately 7,000-square-foot building but uses only 5,000 square feet of it. The new store will be in 5,000 square feet as well.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Wamego resident Dave Vanderbilt opened his first Vanderbilts in 1973 and expanded to Wichita with a store in the Parklane Shopping Center at Lincoln and Oliver in 1985.

Company comptroller Mike Grothe now owns the Wichita stores, which includes one on the southwest corner of Kellogg and Tyler. There are eight Vanderbilts stores in Kansas and one in Missouri.

Adelhardt says Cherry Creek was attractive in part because of its size, the store’s location in front of the center and the amount of traffic that goes past it.

“It just seemed like a good fit.”

Smoothie King and two other businesses to open in former Rock Island Depot space

UPDATED — Some people buy sports cars or take extravagant trips for their midlife crises, but Neil Bhakta is choosing to share his with all of Wichita by opening three new businesses.

The Smoothie King partner is planning his fourth Smoothie King site, this time downtown in the former Rock Island Depot, where he also plans a new restaurant and venue space.

“This is going to be my midlife crisis project right here,” Bhakta says.

“I love the building that we’re going into.”

Old Town Martini, which was the last business there, closed in 2009.

Occidental Management purchased the building earlier this year as part of its purchase of the Union Station campus. The company plans a mixed-use development, which will have retail and office space and possibly residential as well. Smoothie King is the first announced tenant.

“It’s good to get the first one done,” says Chad Stafford, Occidental president. “We’re excited to get rolling down there.”

Stafford thinks Smoothie King will do well.

“It’s going to do terrific,” he says. “Certainly there’s a lot of traffic. … That site, as it begins to develop and get rolling, we’ll have a lot of visitors to it.”

Bhakta says Occidental will restore the exterior of the building.

“It’s going to be a nice project.”

It’s one he says he previously wouldn’t have even considered.

In the dozen or so years of having Smoothie King, Bhakta says, “We never looked at downtown.”

That’s even though he grew up in the area.

“We actually left,” Bhakta says. “Downtown in the ’90s, we didn’t have much faith in it … coming back.”

That’s what has happened, though, he says.

“What they’ve done downtown is amazing.”

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Royalty Barber & Beauty Shop to open at Oxford Square in July

WICHITA — After years of working for others, Paris and Mark Walker are opening their own business.

Their Royalty Barber & Beauty Shop will open next month in Oxford Square at 21st and Woodlawn.

Paris Walker says “just the independence” of having their own place appealed to them.

“That motivated us,” she says.

She’s a cosmetologist, and Mark Walker is a barber. The shop will employ at least two other stylists and two other barbers as well.

Paris Walker says where she works now is not particularly kid friendly.

“I’m a very family oriented person,” she says.

She says she’ll welcome children of employees at the shop.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Walker says she and her husband like the traffic in the area and that it’s close to dining and a beauty supply store. She also thinks there’s a lot of people near there who can benefit from the shop’s services.

“It was just a really good area as far as the neighborhood.”

Thai Smile to open in former Li’l Mexico space, Pho Lotus Vietnamese Restaurant to open in Thai Smile space

WICHITA — The Thai restaurant Thai Smile is moving in order to expand.

Owner Sakunphan Pongphan says his restaurant closed at its previous address at 1523 S. Seneca in late May.

His new space will open Monday at 1601 E. Pawnee where Li’l Mexico used to be.

“We wanted a bigger place,” Pongphan says.

Instead of seating for a dozen, he says he’ll now be able to seat 84.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Thai Smile will be open for lunch and dinner six days a week and will close on Tuesdays.

According to a sign at the former Thai Smile space, Pho Lotus Vietnamese Restaurant is opening in that space.

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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Tim Adams to move his dental practice further west to 45th and Maize Road

UPDATED — After 16 years at 37th and Arkansas, dentist Tim Adams is moving his practice.

“This building’s old,” he says of where his self-named business currently is.

Adams wants to start over with a new space in a new area, so he’s moving to the southeast corner of 45th and Maize Road and renaming the practice Maize Family Dentistry.

His move to the 3,000-square-foot space will give him about 500 extra square feet.

“That’s part of it,” Adams says.

He also lives on the west side, so the move makes sense for him, but Adams says he’s particularly excited about getting new space, buying new equipment and updating his office.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

The new office will open around August.

 

Bionic Burger to open fifth restaurant in former Taco Tico space on East Harry

UPDATED — Most parts of Wichita have a Bionic Burger, but Raquel and Jimmy Chavez knew one area was lacking.

“We kind of needed one in the southeast area,” Raquel Chavez says.

So they’re opening their fifth restaurant in the family-owned chain at 3257 E. Harry where a Taco Tico recently closed.

“There’s a lot of people, a lot of activity over there,” Chavez says.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Troy Farha of NAI Martens handled the deal.

Raquel Chavez’s parents, Pam and Steve Majors, started the business in 1977.

Chavez and her father had a good-natured fight over dinner the other night when she claimed she started in the business at age 11.

Social Security records proved it was age 12.

In actuality, Chavez says, “I’ve worked in the business all my life.”

She and her husband helped open the last two Bionic Burgers – in  Haysville in 2011 and near 21st and Woodlawn in 2010 – while her parents were still in the business. They’re now retired.

The East Harry Bionic Burger will be the first one the Chavezes open on their own. They’d like to grow the company even more.

“We still are looking to expand in different areas.”

Though her parents aren’t at the company day-to-day anymore, Chavez says she can still ask them for advice.

“It’s very nice,” she says.

“I try to do things and figure them out on my own,” Chavez says. She says she thinks her father likes still lending his assistance when she needs it, though.

“He taught me that customers are your number one priority,” Chavez says. They “have helped us make it for 36 years.”

Chavez says the most important thing she learned from her parents helps her run the business as they would.

“They taught me a lot of responsibility and hard work,” she says. “Nothing is going to change.”

 

W.O.W. Cakes to open in former Bubba’s Nekked BBQ space in Indian Hills

WICHITA — There’s going to be a sweet replacement for where Bubba’s Nekked BBQ used to be at the northwest corner of 13th and Meridian across from the Indian Hills Ace Hardware.

Pamela Pletcher is moving her W.O.W. Cakes there next month.

Pletcher started World of Wedding Cakes as an online business in 2009 and has had a couple of retail sites since then.

Currently, her office and the store are in a small space at 1786 S. Seneca. She says she’s been seeking the right space for both sides of her business, and it “has actually been kind of a trial.”

Part of the problem was trying to find a spot that would be an easy in and out for customers picking up cakes.

“That was my main goal.”

Pletcher has already moved her bakery to West 13th.

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Pletcher also sells cupcakes and is expanding her product line with the new space. She says she’ll share more details closer to her May 28 opening.

“There are going to be a lot of new treats.”